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Thread: Saw advice

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Carroll View Post
    [edited]

    In terms of design, the handle shape to me is important. If you are really doing serious stock breakdown and sawing for long periods of time, an uncomfortable handle is a misery.

    If you can find a nice one of these, in restorable condition for $5. Go for it!

    DC
    David says it well. My thoughts after reading Blake's question:

    For the most part I would think a 5 dollar saw that needs minimal cleaning from a yard sale is worth it. Right?
    was to look at the handle. A saw with an uncomfortable handle is best left where it is. Leave them for the folks who want to paint a wall decoration.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  2. #32
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    Be very careful....as a handsaw is about as bad as a hand plane....they will multiply like....
    Saw Til Project, door hanger.JPG
    Just when you think just one will do...
    Saw Til Door, another 2 saws.JPG
    More will show up....
    Saw Til Project, test filled.JPG
    That you soon need to build a place to lock them up in...

  3. #33
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    Thank you again guys. As I said before, I've done OK maintaining my two small bought sharp saws. I'm wanting to buy a couple of good bigger saws. I reached out to Mike and there's one saw I think I want to clean and send him but I'll still need a crosscut one.

    Once I have a couple of good saws. I'll need to maintain them. Do you guys recommend any of the saw sharpening guides that are available to keep file just right?

  4. #34
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    To go with my saw file guide question...

    When my dovetail saw got dull and I decided to finally learn to sharpen it, I found a lot of info online that may have been too much. I learned that the 42x sawset and the eclipse 77 were popular so I have kept my eye out for a deal. Got a 42x for 20 something and picked up the eclipse for a few bucks and then I got another 42x as a gift.

    Anyways, are these two good for all my saws? I'm assuming only set teeth if I feel them bind but I'll need to find out to adjust them depending on the saw.

  5. #35
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    This Veritas Saw File Holder is what I use, and it works well. It adjusts for both rake and fleam.

    DF32F7DF-5946-48FF-A73A-7542A83D9255.jpg

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blake M Williams View Post
    To go with my saw file guide question...

    When my dovetail saw got dull and I decided to finally learn to sharpen it, I found a lot of info online that may have been too much. I learned that the 42x sawset and the eclipse 77 were popular so I have kept my eye out for a deal. Got a 42x for 20 something and picked up the eclipse for a few bucks and then I got another 42x as a gift.

    Anyways, are these two good for all my saws? I'm assuming only set teeth if I feel them bind but I'll need to find out to adjust them depending on the saw.
    Blake, vintagesaws.com has a great library which includes "Saw Filing -- A Beginners Primer." There are instructions on how to make a small piece from scrap wood to control the rake angle.

    For fleam, there are many ways. Here is one of my making:

    Saw Bevel.jpg

    The original post is here > https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?180440 < . It has since had a couple of kerfs added.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  7. #37
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    Hi Blake,

    You've asked a number of excellent questions relevant to someone interested in getting started with hand saws. I thought I would offer my humble opinion for those who may also be interested:

    * Best tutorial for learning to sharpen hand saws is Pete Taran's on his site vintage saws.com. Excellent graphics and written descriptions of all fundamental elements – highly recommended!

    * Asking "What is the best era for vintage hand saws?" is, like walking into a sports bar and saying who's the best quarterback of all time – your definitely going to get a lot of opinions. This is a thread begging for Pete Taran or Daryl Weir to weigh in. I don't want to embarrass Pete or Daryl, but their legitimately couple of the world's leading authorities on vintage hand saws.

    IMHO, vintage hand saw makers from the 1850s through the 1940s were selling to extremely knowledgeable customers, many of whom made their living using hand saws. As you might imagine, leading manufacturers marketed a broad range of different models at various price points to appeal to different markets – master cabinetmaker, finish carpenter, framer, boat builder, down to ranchers looking to cut fence posts. The chief differences between top-of-the-line and entry-level models were: the quality of the steel in the plate, the degree of paper grinding in the plate, hand tensioning (hammer and anvil) to achieve the straightest, stiffest saw plate, and lastly totes – top-of-the-line models featured carved, and hand shaped candles totes in Rosewood (or later Walnut), were lower end models were more commonly uncarved Apple or beech. In my view, this doesn't really apply to early 1850s era saws which were typically all Apple/beach totes (imported tropical woods were less available then) company even in the very best top-of-the-line US and English models.

    Steel: Disston in fact offered 4 grades of steel in their hand saws – top-of-the-line models featuring "London Extra Refined Spring Steel".. Similarly, Atkins offered "Silver Steel" in their top-of-the-line 400 series models. I'm not a metallurgist, but I have sharpened and used hundreds of different saws over the years. My thoughts are the differences in steel quality are real, although some may disagree.

    Taper grinding
    : one of the chief features of vintage hand saws not typically found in contemporary hand saws is the saw plates were double taper ground between large rotating grinding stones such that the width of the saw plate was narrower at the top line then at the tooth line, and again narrower at the toe versus the heel. This feature provides a practical, tangible benefit in that a double taper ground plate requires less set in the teeth because the narrower ground plate requires less clearance in the kerf. Bottom line a taper ground plate results in a narrower kerf meaning less what is removed thus the saw cuts faster with less effort.

    Saw plate tensioning
    : again with a disclaimer I'm certainly not an expert. My understanding is the desirable narrower taper ground plates, were by definition potentially at greater risk of of bending/kinking. Seems pretty obvious narrower piece of steel easier to inadvertently bend. To combat this risk, top-of-the-line saw plates were "tensioned" by extremely experienced workers who hammered the plates on an angle, using a careful, systematic pattern, to create extra stiff saw plates. I believe the idea is compressing the steel between hammer and anvil expands the steel, increasing the stiffness in this area. This technique required systematically hammering both sides of the plate from the top line to the tooth line in a systematic way that resulted in a stiffer plate that was still straight.

    As a functional matter, these techniques of double taper grinding the saw plate and hand tensioning the highest quality steel resulted in best-performing, top-of-the-line saws that today are most highly sought after.

    Totes: exotic hardwoods and hand carving for top-of-the-line models are fairly self-explanatory. If as a tradesman your going to spend top dollar for premium saw, you want to look good. From a more functional basis, hand shaping produces a fit/feel that is much more comfortable in hand over long days, years of use. Personally for me one of the joys of using vintage saws is the feel of the tote that has been conditioned by years of use. Case in point, I have a 1900 era Disston #12, 12 PPI crosscut saw that was likely used by multiple generations of cabinetmakers/finish carpenter's. The tote is smooth as glass. I feel a connection to these previous generations of woodworkers whenever I use it.

    Just my thoughts, your mileage may vary. As I mentioned, there are many experts here on SMC much more knowledgeable than me. Perhaps they'll chime in, alternatively I'd encourage you to seek them out online. Their real-world, hands-on experience and knowledge is an incredible resource obtained over a lifetime that I hope will not be lost to future generations woodworkers.

    Best, Mike

  8. #38
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    Its mind boggling how much has and does go into what makes a saw. I have to admit though, it's kind of exciting. I have been one of those guys scared I would mess my saw up. Took me a while to get the nerve just to sharpen good teeth. Now that I've had some success I think I want to try and practice some on some of the other saws I have. Worse case, I learn something right?

    How do you know how much to set the teeth? Is there a rule of thumb? My saw sets are adjustable but what do I set them to?

  9. #39
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    Steven,

    Great advise......I wish you or someone like you had warned me about that 40 years ago....that and the warning on the planes.....now it may be too late. Sigh.

    From personal experience in my case I need to add chisels to the list you have started...Saws, planes, and now chisels.

    Stew

  10. #40
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    Blake,

    You might look at Youtube videos by Paul Sellers. There is one about restoring an old Eclipse saw set, a brand made in England. He talks about the set using the Eclipse set. I finally was able to buy one on the auction site. He has videos on sharpening saws, and I have only glanced at one....he does talk about set.

    This is a really good set of posts....lots of great comments....I am enjoying it a lot.

    I do have to comment about dates and good saws. I am very much in agreement about saw handles being extremely important. Disston are the only saws I know much about. I can say that I would want to buy saws from perhaps the 1890s to about 1982. There are two periods of change in that era from my perspective. In my view the handles on the saws Disston made were superb up to about 1918, and very good from about 1918 to about 1928. After about 1928 the handles of the Disston saws went down hill, with much larger flats on the sides of the handles. My D-8 from that 1900 to 1918 time period has a grip on the handle that isnearly oval....virtually no flat on the sides of the grip of the handle. It is incredibly comfortable to use for fairly long sessions of sawing.

    Many of the later Disstons are still pretty comfortable, certainly up to the change at Disston in 1928 or so. When things go really bad is when the grip of the handles get flat on the sides with almost square corners where they should be rounded or oval. Things start to go more south in the mid 1930s in my view.
    I like the 1900 to 1918 saws for those reasons....very comfortable handles, and good steel. By then they seem to have had down the ability to make very good steel consistently. I don't know the point prior to that date when they had it down, but by then they were darned good at it.

    Again,I like the D-8s, in my view very good saws, and now they can still be had at very reasonably prices, because a ton of them were made. The #7s are just fine too, I don't think they are as good as the D-8s, but they still can be a good user saw. Disston made better, according to a lot of users, like the #12 and some others, but the D-8 will get you by quite well. I don't have #12 in good condition....they are a bit pricey in my view. With a #7 or D-8, and you don't have to worry about destroying a collector grade saw sharpening it yourself.

    I do have saws from several vintage makers and most are very good. Look at the handles before anything else if you are going to buy a used one, you don't want one with lots of splits, etc. There are too many good saws out there for reasonable money at garage sales, flea markets, etc., that can be bought for reasonable money that do not have the ratty handle that needs a lot of fix. Next look at the handle design and condition. Next check the saw blade for pitting. Flash rust does not remove a saw from consideration form me as a very thin amount of flash rusting with little to no pitting is OK for me, as it will clean off. I just don't want much pitting, as that is harder to deal with. I want a saw that can be restored with as small amount of work as is possible.

    Been down the save $5 or $10 route, but spent tons of extra ti.me and effort to restore the "bargain." If I put in an extra 10 hours of working
    on a saw blade save the extra $5 or $10,is it worth it?

    Finally, YES if I needed a saw and found a good restorable saw for $5 at a garage sale, I would go for it in a heart beat.

    Regards,

    Stew
    Last edited by Stew Denton; 05-28-2020 at 7:32 AM.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blake M Williams View Post
    I'm almost a completely 100% hand tool user. I would like to get away from using the band saw for cutting lumber down to workable pieces and cut it all by hand. I have a dovetail and tenon saws, what I need are the bigger saws.

    I think I could maintain and keep a good saw sharp but I do not have the experience right now to take an old saw and joint, retooth and fix up. And the few I have have been given to me need a lot of teeth work.

    Where can I buy a good quality saw that'll meet my needs? What sizes should I get and do I really need both a rip and a crosscut saw?

    As a second option, if cheaper, two of my saws cleaned up OK. Maybe you guys can point me in the direction of someone who can sharpen/retooth them? See picture.
    I can't remember a time when a saw of a certain TPI wasn't available in a variety of lengths from English makers at least. I've noticed that Flinn sell a 4.5 tooth rip and other TPI counts in lengths down to 20" and up to 28" through their various brands, same with crosscut saws -- varying tooth counts in several lengths. Anything else would be like going to buy a pair of pants and the clothier telling you all the pants they sell come in only one inseam length, which in a word would be absurd.
    Last edited by Charles Guest; 05-28-2020 at 11:28 AM.

  12. #42
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    There is sometimes a problem with the older handsaws....teeth may snap off if you try to set them....I have and 1860s (5-1/2ppi, 25-1/2" long. Spanner nuts have a patent date on their underside) rip saw...first tooth that was tried to get set...snapped. Left the rest of the saw alone.


    I have several D-8 handsaws....8ppi, 26"....10ppi, 20"....11ppi, 26".....a pair of 28" No.7s @ 7ppi (Twins?) I also use an Atkins 26", 8ppi as a crosscut. There is a newer(1950s) Chrome Edge 5-1/2ppi rip saw in the til....Joinery saw: Disston No.4, 9ppi, filed rip. Have other No. 4 Miter saws, 11ppi, filed crosscut, that sit in large Mitre Boxes...

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blake M Williams View Post

    How do you know how much to set the teeth? Is there a rule of thumb? My saw sets are adjustable but what do I set them to?
    Blake, solid rule Of thumb- measure widest part of the plate, which is at the heel at the tooth line and for kiln dried hardwoods add 15% set. For damp, soft woods add, 20%.

    With top of the line saws with max taper grind; you can get away with less set.

    Set is one of the most important drivers of a well tuned, top performing saw. Difference between saw that glides through kerf and one that drags is often 0.05. Get a micrometer , good saw set and learn what setting on your set set produces the desired width after stoning the edges. Get this right and your well on the way to getting the most out of your saw.

  14. #44
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    Thanks Mike, I do have a micrometer. I'll check my mitre saw that binds.

  15. #45
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    My "file guide", when I use one, is a strip of plywood with Sharpie lines on it, that I lay behind the saw, but in line of sight. You can easily see when the file is not in line with the "guide" lines. My first one of those was for chainsaw sharpening.

    I use one hand on the file, and each stroke is started on the little smooth end of the file. That gives me a split second to see that it's in the right spot.

    I like to have a light that shines back off the freshly sharpened tooth right towards my eyes. That makes it easier to see exactly which is the next tooth to sharpen. The sharpened ones are noticeably brighter than the next one that needs it. Being able to see what you are doing is probably the most important part.

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