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Thread: Saws: sharpening and setting

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Location
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Posts
    25

    Saws: sharpening and setting

    So, I had already learned to stop and sharpen whenever my chisels and planes arenít feeling quite right. Yesterday I finally learned to stop and sharpen when my saw doesnít feel quite right. It turns out they cut better when they are sharp.

    I havenít been using western saws for very long, so Iíve just had to joint and file my back saws and panel saws once before. When I got my 26Ē rip saw it pulled to one side, which I was able to correct by stoning it. Iíve been pretty happy with my sharpening results just clamping my saws between two battens in my vice. When I sharpened my crosscut saws I set a bevel gauge with the fleam I wanted and lay it on the bench behind the saw as a guide to help keep the right angle.

    I sharpened my rip saw for the second time and it has noticeably less set. So, I think it will be time to set it the next time I sharpen.

    Questions:

    How often do you sharpen your saws? Iíve gone several months between sharpenings, but I think Iíll start doing it more frequently, especially for the saws I use to break down stock.

    How many rounds of sharpening do you do before you set your saw?

    What technique do you use to set your saw? I see the saw sets you can buy, but Iíve also seen the Paul Sellers video where he demonstrates setting a saw with a nail set and a hammer. It looks pretty straightforward and Iím tempted to try that and see how it works for me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    4,790
    It's not something that I typically even remember, but I remember the day I was cutting the ridge on this Cypress shingle roof, I had to stop twice, and sharpen the saw. I think I hit some staples. The saw needs setting when it doesn't easily steer in the cut.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    South Coastal Massachusetts
    Posts
    5,662
    Orsa sighting! Love mine. It's tough as balls.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    2,444
    A few years back I decided to try to learn to use/sharpen hand saws. Went on a garage sale buying binge and bought a well tuned saw from Pete and Mike (Rip and crosscut), to know what a good saw is supposed to be like. Set about sharpening all my garage sale saws and have been rotating through them. As one gets a bit dull, I make a note of it and use another. I am getting to the point that I need to set aside some time to tune them all up again.

  5. #5
    Saw sharpening intervals vary given the work they do and in what woods. To see if my saw is sharp I'll hold it by the handle in the vertical plane and put my free hand to the teeth and let the weight of the saw bite into my free hand. If it is prickly and sticks to the hand it's good enough for me, barring local mishaps of course. Drag a nail across a tooth. Just look at the intersection of a tooth's geometry, If is reflects light and is bright it's dull. Hand saw sharpening is very satisfying!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    4,790
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Matthews View Post
    Orsa sighting! Love mine. It's tough as balls.
    It's a Sandvik 288 8pt. That one gets left out, and not worried about much. I have a number of others, including some 270's, still new in the cardboard sleeve.

    I think those may have been the last decent saws available new. I don't remember when they quit selling them, but I think in the early '80's. They can be sharpened really sharp. You can see how fast it cuts by looking at the saw tracks on the shingle 3 back.

    edited to add: I realized I didn't answer the setting method question. I used a Stanley 42W, that I bought new, for several decades, but have since found a couple of 42X's, with one having been modified to work better with small teeth. I have little pieces of Boxwood glued in the loops over the teeth, so teeth can't touch metal.

    I also have a box full of others that have been accumulated over time, but personally, I like the 42X's better than any others.
    Last edited by Tom M King; 05-22-2020 at 8:32 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    South Coastal Massachusetts
    Posts
    5,662
    I've got two of these, one stamped like yours and an older one marked "Orsa". The handles interchange, and have the same "Dragon Tattoo".

    I find the steel considerably harder than my Fitchburg, MA saws - cheap files just skate over the teeth.

    My user is dedicated for short work in plywood.

    *great saw*

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