I have presented several saw
restoration projects thus far with the purpose of passing on
some of the knowledge and skills required to take charge of
your hand saws.
My intent is to share methods that I know work
for me. It is easy to say, hey look what I did, but not quite so
easy to describe to others exactly how you did it.
This is especially true with subjects that can
have infinite variations like saw tooth geometry and sharpening
methods. Sawing is a very old technology and has been addressed
by countless individuals over time. Before the days of rapid
communication, word of mouth was all we had. Today there is no
reason not to share.
The image shown here is the second most
important tool in my saw sharpening arsenal.
The first I consider to be knowledge,
specifically the knowledge I have already shared in my previous
articles published on wkfinetools.com; with
HANDSAW GEOMETRY AND TERMS being of highest importance.
If you have digested this and can take a simple
block of wood and shape it like this image you will be armed for
success with sharpening traditional crosscut saws. Again I am
not trying to say this is the only way, just that it is the only
way that works for me.
I have tried a lot of different guides including
the old Disston one and found them to be cumbersome and slow at
best. Rather than down play other systems I would rather explain
why this works for me.
First of all this guide sets up the three
important angles that I want to work to. Fleam is the angle at
the end of the block and also the angle the top notch is cut out
Slope is the second angle of the top notch. In
position it slants down toward you.
The third important angle is file rotation. I
cut the top notch so it represents “0” degrees. In other words
it is parallel to the tooth line. To hold a rake angle of 15
degrees I reference the top of the file to the cutout notch. You
could, I suppose, also use a devise mounted to the end of the
file for this in addition to the guide but again I find that
This tool is strictly a site guide. I do not let
the file ride up against it but rather slide it along in front
of the file. I do not tilt the vise to get the slope angle
because it forces me out of position to both see and stroke the
file. I keep the work and my body position such that I can see
what I am doing and naturally stroke the file with control.
Here is another view working the opposite side
of the saw.
The top of the file is referenced to the slope
notch of the guide. In one case the top of the file is parallel
to the slope notch 15 x 30 x 30. In the picture above, what
would the file rotation be if the saw spec was to be 15 x 20 x
20 and in which direction? If you can’t answer that question,
simply go back to the previous post and look it up.
Filing a saw is matter of having a plan for what
you’re doing and sticking to it. The guide being moved along in
front of the work zone helps keep the plan in mind as you work.
At least it does for me. If you would like to give this a try,
here is how to make the guide.