Bit Braces



Handsaw Sharpening & Traditional Tools with Mike Hagemyer

  Saw Tooth Shaping and Sharpening Process by Mike Hagemyer 1 of 6  


Rather than trying to steer you through the structured monotony of learning...


... the process I think it will be more fun for you and me to document a few complete restorations. By the time I am done you will have experienced all the basics and more. I will try and reduce the strain by using many pictures and a little less preaching. As we move along please be conscious of the order of things and forgive me for a little redundancy. It will be for a reason.

Disston No. 112 Restoration

Recently I acquired a No. 112 Disston that is a bit distressed, at least the plate certainly is. The Handle is still in decent shape but is missing some of the screws. This is what we have to start with.

Not a bad looking saw at first glance though the plate is a little worse than I normally like to work with. It is a bit rusty and does have some pitting that will forever be part of the plate.

The etch is not visible at this point but may show up after cleaning. This saw will never be a show piece but I think I can bring it back to life and make it a good user. The back side shows similar condition.

This saw has a 28Ē tooth line with 5 points per inch and obviously started life as a big bad rip saw. However, in its present condition it would be better suited to trim the lilac bush.

The teeth have been filed with fleam and the tooth line is a bit wavy. The teeth are not evenly spaced and the rake angles are all over the map. The best feature of this saw is the handle. It only has one small flaw that needs repair; a chip out of the back of the hook.

A bit more study of this thing shows a still very straight flat plate that also feels stiff and taut. A good sign that this is a real No. 112 plate. Next I remove the handle and set it aside. Itís time to clean the plate up a little and get a better feel for what might be best for this beast.

I used 320 grit wet / dry paper wrapped around a hard wood block. Always sand lengthwise in long straight motions. I use mineral spirits as a wash and do this work in a shallow wooden tray. I donít get carried away with this; just enough to break up the surface rust and clean away the foreign crud. Next I dry the plate with clean rags so I can see what I have. I will further clean the plate later.

I am still trying to decide what is best for this saw; keep it a 5 point rip or maybe not. Looking at the tooth line it is apparent that no matter what, some plate height will be lost.

In the picture above the teeth area is coated with layout dye and scribed with a straight line the full length of the saw below the gullets and parallel to a normal tooth line. The heal of the saw is high and the rest of the tooth line is wavy. The teeth are uneven, misshaped and have fleam.

There are a few to many wrongs here to try and correct. The loss of plate height will throw the proportions off making it look skinny for its 28 inch length. To improve its looks and reduce the chance of it getting kinked, this plate needs to be shortened.

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Saw Vises

Disston Backsaws


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