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Thread: Tale of an "bargan" saw. A semi-humerous story.

  1. #1
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    Tale of an "bargan" saw. A semi-humerous story.

    There was a clearance sale. As an inveterate bargain hunter, I fired up the vehicle and hied myself forth.
    Hmmm, a couple of high end saws, among other things. A premier dovetail saw, and a sash saw. Hmmmm. Do I need more joinery saws? Of course not. But want ....
    I got other things, and picked up the dovetail saw, because everyone knows a new saw will make my dovetail cutting perfect. Right?
    All sales final.

    A few days later, I went back, picked up the sash saw. Hot diggidy da**.
    Both saws in their original boxes, with serial numbers. Hoo Ya!

    Oh: the dovetail saw is a dream, but the sash saw starts the cut, and immediately bogs down.
    It's the middle of the pandemic, and my normal sharpener is far away, backlogged and afraid to have customers into the shop, so I find someone closer (who I've not used before) who says they can sharpen & set it.
    After their tender ministrations, it cuts as bad as before. Money back, and off I return home. At least I had a nice motorcycle ride.

    Contact the manufacturer is the Good Ol' USA.
    Find out the saw was manufactured in 2013, and it was kicking around in the "system" since. Spoke to the customer service rep., yes, they can take it in and get it set up once they re-open after Covid restrictions. Watch the space.....

    Two months pass. January. AHA! They are offering resharpening again, so I make arrangements. Take the saw to my local post office, send it off including all the customs documents. Send off all the permissions and job specs via email. Getting excited!

    Phone call - uh, what was needed? I explained what I had written, and my suspicions about why ""their" saw won't cut. Oh, we can do part of it, but part of the manufacturing machinery is off-line. No ETA yet.

    After 4 months of a few phone calls, and irregular emails back and forth, I finally get the news from Jocko that they MAY be able to do the saw in the next week.

    News: they did it, but, sometime in the last 7 years someone messed up the teeth badly. They did what they always do - satisfy the customer. Sharpened and got it cutting correctly, even if not to the specs of a newly manufactured saw. I'm satisfied, and eagerly awaiting delivery (remember, we're talking USPS AND Canada Customs).

    It's here! Unwrap it, take it to the shop and grab a piece of Fir. Oh, my, now THAT's a saw! Oak, even nicer to cut, smooth and no binding!
    It took a long time, but it works. I think it's time to "hone" my sharpening/setting skills.
    Young enough to remember doing it;
    Old enough to wish I could do it again.

  2. #2
    Wow. That's quite a tale. Glad it's working well for you now!
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  3. #3
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    Find a couple of old saws at yard sales or some other inexpensive source and just do it.

    You will be glad you did.

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

  4. #4
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    Aaron, that was quite a hoot of a read. I am very glad to not have had such troubles yeet.

  5. #5
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    For learning to sharpen, if you really lack confidence, find something with a really bad kink in it with 8 or less teeth per inch and give it a try on the straight part with a file from a homestore.

    If that part goes OK, look for any straight blade with a "Warranted Superior" button on it, with 8 or fewer teeth per inch and have at it. Once you have it sharp and the cut starts OK, then take it apart to clean up the plate and deal with the handle and so on.

    If you find and old saw that says "Henry Disston" or "Disston and Son" put that aside for a long time. When you find one that says "Disston and Sons" put that one aside for a little while while you learn the craft. Saw sharpening is not hard, but it isn't for everyone. If you destroy a saw with a WS button on it, no biggie. If you destroy a "Disston and (singular) Son" you will someday stand in judgement before angry King Jesus.

    Once you feel good about saws with 4-8 teeth or points per inch, look for saws in the 10-11-12 tpi range. If you are young with good eyes, back saws (14-22) tpi are next. At some point you will need a new light, adjustable or "architects" in the USA, "angle poise" in the UK, I am not sure what they call them in Canada.

    Lee Valley sells a saw sharpening guide of which I am a huge fan. I couldn't find it easily on the website just now, but it clamps onto the end of your saw file and helps you keep consistent rake and fleam angles as you file each tooth. You can also drill and cut miters on shop scrap for similar (not adjustable) filing guides, or mark up your bench vise with a protractor.

  6. #6
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    Some people just lay a small ruler on the bench under the saw vise to help as an aid to judge the fleam angle.

    It is also easy to make a fleam guide from shop scrap:

    Shop Made Fleam Gauge.jpg

    The blade is from a worn hacksaw blade with the points ground off. The kerf rests on the saw blade being filed.

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

  7. #7
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    Aaron, I hate to say it, but the symptoms (cutting then bogging down) have an alternate, and simpler, explanation and cause: the teeth have too little set. In this case, resharpening the saw makes not difference if the same amount if set is replaced. A dramatic improvement can be had by increasing the set. This does not need to be much at all, just enough to prevent the gullets filling and binding the plate. You just need a decent saw set!

    Edit to add: one can test this by waxing the plate. If the saw cuts appropriately, the teeth are fine. So add more set. If you add too much, you can reduce this by tapping the teeth back with a steel hammer while laying them on a flat cast iron surface. Mike Wenzloff described doing this after wrapping the teeth in paper to limit the compression.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Last edited by Derek Cohen; 05-30-2021 at 8:23 PM.

  8. #8
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    Derek, 2 years ago I took a course at my local Rob Lee emporium on sharpening and setting. I got an old derelict saw working, (REALLY dull) and then discovered that the set was not proper; the instructor helped me get it running properly.
    When the saw in question bogged down, I did indeed wax it, but there was no set to the teeth. Hence my saga.
    I sent it to the manufacturer whom you have visited, and after 3 months or so, it's back and cutting like a charm.
    I do find it interesting BTW, that with the resurgence in woodworking and using hand tools, being reported, that the old time saw filers and setters are retiring, and few shops are being set up. Something like shoe repairers.
    Young enough to remember doing it;
    Old enough to wish I could do it again.

  9. #9
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    Perth, Australia
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    Hi Aaron

    (that little bit of info helps me identify the saw, thanks)

    What I was trying to say was that a saw filer will no doubt also set the teeth after sharpening them. As a result, the saw should work fine. However, the teeth may not have needed to be sharpened, just set better. Of course, you will never know this now (unless you ask). My intent was for the next person to do this check before sending out what may be a perfectly well sharpened saw.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  10. #10
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    Portland Oregon
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    I will add that Ive now sharpened two saws but their set was fine. Perfect? No! But much better. Watch Paul Sellers reconfigure a saw from rip to crosscut or vice-versa. Wood by Wright does a good demo. Paying $25 a saw and using one grudgingly as you build the momentum to take it out is just no fun. I also took them apart and cleaned them up. I have 4 more to go, and it feels REALLY GOOD.

    I do need a sawset though and just hate buying one new they seem so cheesy. Im looking for a decent old one, although Im not sure Id know if it was good.
    Last edited by Meryl Logue; 06-03-2021 at 11:37 PM. Reason: Typo

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