Proper Measuring Of A Backsaw Question - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 03-12-2016, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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Proper Measuring Of A Backsaw Question

Good Day To All!
I am new to this forum. I was guided to this group by a person on another forum who was kind enough to take time refer me here with my question.

I am stumped about measuring a backsaw the proper way. Likewise, I'm confused about the terminology regarding the parts of the saw.

I'm searching for a saw that will be compatible with a very nice miter box I own. It seems that everyone measures differently & calls the parts by different names. I'm wondering if there is a standard to use which might help me during my search.

The box has guides for the saw which move up and down as you set up and as you cut. In the guides, the stiffening rib of the saw rides in a wide slot, the blade body slides in a narrow slot and the tips are in a second wide slot near the bottom of the guide.

I've attached a couple of photos to illustrate the parts. I'm fairly certain that I did not use the correct terms for the parts, above.

As I measured it, the distance from the bottom of the stiffening rib to the tips has to be about 4-3/4". None of my backsaws are that tall.

In the photos, the miter box (miter frame?) in question is the one closest to the viewer. Please pardon the condition. The unit isn't yet cleaned up & ready for action. It sure is rock solid & holds its settings, so I am anxious to wreck some wood!

Thanks For Your Help!
Enjoy This Day,
Paul
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post #2 of 10 Old 03-12-2016, 11:04 AM
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I haven't seen one of those in more than 40 years. It's very possible you will have to get a back saw especially made for that miter box. Is there any markings on the miter box as to who made it?
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post #3 of 10 Old 03-12-2016, 11:18 AM
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Those miter boxes use a special saw made specifically for it. They are not a standard backsaw and are typically 24" long. You need the length so the saw doesn't slip out of the guides when using. Normally, the saws are about 5" in width, including the spine. In order for these to work accurately, the saw must be filed correctly or it will run. A saw that runs will not cut straight, instead, it will have a tendency to cut on an angle, "run" to one side or the other. For those of us that used to use these on the job, finding the best saw filer in town was important. Back in the day, every town had many saw filers.

The posts that the blade fits in have a clip. When you raise the saw in the guides, the clips hold the blade up so you can place the work under and be able to use two hands. These tubes are also adjusted for depth so the blade teeth don't hit the metal saw track once through the workpiece. You have to be careful not to tip these saws while cutting or the teeth will contact the track. Not everyone understands how sensitive and easy to dull a handsaw is. You would never lay a saw on a table or put it in a toolbox where anything metal could touch the teeth. One touch to a screwdriver could nick a tooth and cause the saw to run. We always had scabbards for our handsaws to protect them. In the day we had no electricity on jobs, everything was cut with handsaws. If your saw didn't cut like butter, you were in for a long hard day.

Those miter boxes were OK for small moldings. They are limited in depth of cut as well as width. It takes some practice and patience to be able to use them. They don't cut fast and folks are impatient after working with power tools. They are not accurate and don't have adjustments to fine tune them in. Instead, block planes or shooting boards are used to refine the cut or finalize the fit.
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post #4 of 10 Old 03-12-2016, 04:18 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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mine is similar ...almost

I have Craftsman hand miter box that uses a replaceable narrow blade, but the posts and guides are similar. But I don't like it much, if at all. Too slow on the cuts, and takes forever.


I found one for Ya:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Warr...8AAOSwLVZVzTuM


and another:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-Geo-...wAAOSwVFlUEISE
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The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 03-12-2016 at 04:25 PM.
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post #5 of 10 Old 03-12-2016, 04:57 PM
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As Hammer1 said find a good saw filer and take both the saw and miter box to him so he can fine tune the saw to make accurate cuts. There was a time when many of us were happy to find a tool like that, I found having a disk sander was really handy to tweak the fit.
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post #6 of 10 Old 03-12-2016, 05:31 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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He doesn't have a saw...

That's why he's asking about the measurement. I posted some saws for him to consider. :smile3:

Quote:
I'm searching for a saw that will be compatible with a very nice miter box I own. It seems that everyone measures differently & calls the parts by different names. I'm wondering if there is a standard to use which might help me during my search.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #7 of 10 Old 03-13-2016, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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Thank You All for taking the time to answer my questions & for the good words!
Thanks, too, WoodNThings for finding these saws. I sure got lost during my searching.

I can't find any identification on the miter box. I saw drawings of boxes that look like this one in catalogs from Millers Falls dated 1864 & 1909 The 1864 picture I saw attributed the design to Leander Langon.
It is quite similar to Langdon Acme Model 1120. I'm a bit confused about the model variations. Mine does not have the angle gauge nor the ball bearings. Nor does it have the end brackets for crown molding & low angles.

I do have a pdf of the Owner's Manual which includes Langdon Acme, Langdon & All Steel boxes models 72C, 73C, 74C, 75C, 1071C, 1074 (which apparently includes 1120, as it is mentioned in the parts list.) If anyone would like the pdf posted, let me know & I'll be more than happy to try to figure out how to post it. (Computers + This Old Guy = Yikes! Gotta find a little kid for tech support!)

I appreciate what you are saying Hammer1.
I was brought up before power miter boxes and my hand box was made of maple. (Still have it) I actually made my own once when I was young & broke. Then, in the 70's, I bought some new fangled metal (and plastic) boxes where I could adjust to any angle. I did not like any of them. I remember those all too well!

Watching how my father cared for & respected his tools sent a good lesson into my mind. I do have scabbards on every cutting tool I own, including the 'bits' for my toolroom lathe. Actually, I even have protectors on circular saw, table saw & band saw blades. Some are simple cardboard sleeves and some are split vinyl tubing. I learned how to file and set teeth with an ancient saw set that I still own. Of course, I'll never match the skills of a professional, but it is fun to practice.

I very much like this miter box and appreciate the design. Often, I'll find a miter box at a garage sale, fix it up and find a good home for it. This particular box is one that I will keep.
It will be fun to find a saw and tune it well. (And tune the miter frame as well.)

Thanks Again Everyone for posting the information & for the links. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Enjoy This Day!
Paul
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post #8 of 10 Old 03-23-2016, 07:39 PM
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I'd start checking antique stores, flea markets, and places like Hyperkitten Tool Co. to try to find one. The saws are amazing... the one I have has 26" of cutting edge, and makes remarkably clean cuts.

Actually, now that I think about it, you might send email to Hyperkitten and maybe Patrick Leach with a few good photos, and let them know you're looking for a saw to match. If they don't have anything, they might be willing to keep an eye out for one if they know they have a buyer.
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post #9 of 10 Old 03-23-2016, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Andy for the great ideas & names.
I am always happy to have an excuse to got to flea markets & dig for tools.

I put the saw measurement on the "Find These" note in my wallet with all the other treasures I'm seeking. (That note got kind of long over the winter...)

I appreciate your help (a lot!)
Enjoy This Day!
Paul
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post #10 of 10 Old 03-23-2016, 09:11 PM
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No problem, and best of luck! Once you get the miter box tuned up and fitted with a saw, you'll love it. Mine now cuts a perfect 45 degree miter with basically no effort, so it's worth the time to get it running.
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