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Thread: Backsaw set

  1. #1

    Backsaw set

    I just found and bought a steel backed, Disston and Sons steel backed saw, 14 TPI. The blade is 12 inches long and 3 1/2 inches wide. It was a flea market bargain. The most noteworthy aspect was that the teeth on the distal one inch of the blade (the first 14 teeth) have no set at all. It does seen to help establishing a kerf at the beginning of a cut. I thought it just an oddity until I found another one line that looks like the same saw. Has anybody seen this elsewhere?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    I personally haven't done 0 set the first inch or so but relaxing the rake for the first few teeth does help to get it started.

  3. #3
    Thanks. I've heard about relaxing the rake before, but this looked deliberate so I began to wonder. When I put a ruler to it, the exact inch with no set was a surprise. But, I my curiousity was up after I fund another on line - same dimensions and make that was the same.

  4. #4
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    I have a sash saw I bought new looking but at a close-out sale and nothing I could do would make it go through a piece of wood. It would start, but totally bind up early in the cut.
    I sent it back to the manufacturer for setting up - I'm sure the set was too compressed, but I don't have a saw set, and I'd rather pay them to get it back to original specs (this time).
    Young enough to remember doing it;
    Old enough to wish I could do it again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Progressive pitch sharpening puts the set and rake to work near the handle - where the user has most control. Taking out all the set would require the first teeth to be *very* sharp.

    https://www.highlandwoodworking.com/...NppDTsaw2.html

  6. #6
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    Thinking about this ... removing the set is not going to make the saw easier to start. Set makes it easier for a saw to avoid binding. Reduced set will make the plate track more tightly - no wavering - but also tighten the plate in the kerf. What will make the saw start more easily is reducing the lean/pitch of the teeth. The lower the pitch, the less aggressive the cut.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    Thinking about this ... removing the set is not going to make the saw easier to start. Set makes it easier for a saw to avoid binding. Reduced set will make the plate track more tightly - no wavering - but also tighten the plate in the kerf. What will make the saw start more easily is reducing the lean/pitch of the teeth. The lower the pitch, the less aggressive the cut.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    I'm wondering if an unset saw was "baton - ed" into a knife line, like a kerf starter?

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Personally I find it much easier to start a saw cut using teeth closer to the tote, rather than the tip of the saw plate. Smaller distances between my hand and the work piece make it easier to control the saw and start the kerf where I want it.

    Not sure if this is relevant, but my experience is chief reason to relax the rake angle towards the toe of the saw is not to make it start easier, but to reduce the risk that an overly enthusiastic, perhaps inexperience sawyer "catches" a tooth and kinks saw plate.

    My guess is the lack of set on the toe isn't intentional, more likely an oversight/poor maintenance. I'm no expert, but have worked on literally hundreds of vintage hand saws and my experience is 70% of the saw plates/tooth lines are in very rough shape as a result of poor attempts at sharpening. A lack of set for segment of the tooth line wouldn't be unusual. The other 30% with well-maintained tooth lines are typically higher and models that likely passed down through multiple generations of professional craftsmen who maintained their own tools and knew what they were doing.

    Cheers, Mike

  9. #9
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  10. #10
    I believe the Disston "77" line was their no-set line, but I don't know if this included a partially-set variant? I would think this would certainly make for easier starting as you have eliminated the side-to-side spurs that normally set teeth create. Here is link to writeup from The Disstonian Institute:

    http://www.disstonianinstitute.com/77page.html
    Last edited by Phil Gaudio; 02-22-2021 at 10:54 AM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    I could understand slightly negative rake on the first inch of teeth, but having no set seems that it would not make the saw any easier to start, if not more difficult. I sharpen my backsaws with just a few degrees of negative rake, and lightly set, running the entire tooth line.

  12. #12
    I've acquired several over the years. I bought a new one 30 (!!!) years ago, then inherited three more that needed serious refurbishing. They are all plier type. You can find them fairly cheap at various sites. I use the fines set the tool offers and it s still coarser than I like. Get the teeth tuned up and the cut will only need a couple of strokes form a plane to ready to finish.

  13. #13
    If I pay attention, and use the first inch which lacks the set, the saw starts well. After that the the teeth with set widen the kerf so there is no friction. My main trouble is a life time habit I acquired when I was still in grade school helping my dad build our house. Because the saws were pretty long for me, I started the cut at the heel. That still works, and I have to pay attention to start with the toe. This particular saw is the first that ever made a difference which part of the blade I started the cut with.

  14. #14
    That's actually how I learned to start a cut, but I was in grade school and the saws were as lonh as my leg.

  15. #15
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    Disston made a saw without set an the teeth were not filed. They were purposely made to be less likely to cut.

    The Disston MS > https://sawlady.com/saws-made-for-music/

    Saw one at a party many years ago and there were even a few folks with other instruments for some impromptu music.

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

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