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Hi guys,

Forgive me if you have seen this mentioned on other woodworking forums around the globe, but this is for those of you who sharpen your own saws or are thinking of starting.

There is a petition started by a fellow woodworker (Brett Gregory) in Australia to once again make quality saw files for sharpening hand saws. Many woodworkers around the globe have already signed including a lot of today's saw makers and saw doctors. Please give it your support if you care about maintaining the quality of the hand tools you use. Together we CAN make a difference.

Here's the link to the petition which explains the issues with the currently manufactured files in more detail.

https://www.change.org/petitions/sa...se-make-quality-files-for-sharpening-handsaws
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Only 183 needed to reach 500 petitionees. We have a voice, let's use it.
 

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Some more background information from Brett, the petitioner:

By now, I guess you are aware of my goal - to get proper saw files made once more. This is being done in collaboration with people who really know what they are talking about (I'm a novice).

There are two distinct, and fairly evenly split camps on the vitues of a taper amongst these 15 experts. Those who want it back (as it used to be) and those who struggle to see the benefit. It comes down to personal preference, as Nicholson reflected in their 1942 Catalogue, and I quote:

"Handsaw Blunt Files are frequently preferred to Handsaw Taper Files by carpenters and other EXPERT saw filers for sharpening handsaws with 60° teeth. They are parallel in width and thickness but their tooth construction is identical with Handsaw Taper Files. Edges set and cut to file the gullets between the saw teeth."

So, there has always been two camps. We should not forget a couple of very important points that are supremely relevant:

  • 1. The were no power saws in those days, so saw filing was critically important, and was done by every professional woodworker on an almost daily basis (particularly here in Oz where they were using ultra hard timbers for housing construction during the MASSIVE housing boom after ww2)
    2. The situation is now reversed so that most pros use power saws with TC tipped teeth, and it is primarily amateur woodworkers who are doing the saw filing. Only a few of this group can class themselves as "experts".
What we can glean from that is that a parallel file is ONLY for experts, and so by default, a taper file must make things easier, or more reliable, in some way for the non-expert.

One of the collaborators is Mark Aylward (aka "Claw Hama" over here). He has been classically trained in the art of filing TWICE in two apprenticeships, and these days he is a professional woodworker. Mark is also an excellent lateral thinker (as Tradesmen tend to be). He just wants to get the job done.

His thoughts on the taper are as follows:
The taper serves several purposes as I have been told and taught over the years from my Grandfather, school teachers and reading material etc.

1. By placing the small tapered end in the gullet you can see the teeth, angles etc clearly before starting your stroke.

2. A constant even taper allows you to push through the full length of the stroke and keep even cutting pressure on the file and consequently the teeth. You don't want a shoulder at some point along the way to change or alter your nice steady flow of your cut.

3. Even if filed badly there is still a good chance you will get a (leading) cutting edge on your tooth with the small built in fleam from the angle on the file. Even a Rip saw can commonly have 4° fleam, so 5° ish with the angle of the file. This small amount of fleam on a Rip saw is to help keep your saw cut clean and not too furry. Also once you have sharpened and set your saw you should do a light run down the edges with an oil or diamond stone to get rid of any little burrs or edges that may catch in your kerf.

All this is still on the side of the tooth on a rip saw when most/all of the cutting is done on the pitch/tip of the tooth with a Rip saw (as you all know) The angle of attack on this is adjusted with your rake angle. The tip of the tooth with a 4° fleam will have a slight angle across it but if you look at a lot of the high tech circular saw blades these days they have exactly that also. Shouldn't make much difference one way or the other to your hand saw. (only my humble opinion).

In other words, as you start from the toe, by keeping constant force in the push, the file gradually begins removing metal on the way through, so the taper compensates for this ever increasing gullet width (microscopically) and so there is always constant contact and the same pressure being applied.

Of course I accept, as does Mark, that different people will have different positions on some of these finer points (e.g. fleam).

So, what is meant by a proper taper?

Here is a picture of three files. The middle one is from Claw Hama (so we don't get our Marks confused). The two either side are a Grobet "Swiss" and an F.Dick and they were both delivered to me in the last week or so.

The middle file is a Wiltshire Austalia made around 1940-1950, and is Mark's favourite file by far (although he can't use it forever).



I'll have a bit more to say about the Grobet & F.Dick, but for the moment let's concentrate on the taper. Ok, ok, they have no taper to concentrate on, so let's move on.

I think we can accept that Claw's 1940 Wiltshire is the benchmark for taper shape. With that in mind I have measured the taper more thoroughly, dividing it into eight 10mm sections down the 80mm toothed area, and this shows that that taper is a very gentle curve, not a straight line. I did separate measurements for all three sides, and will show the averages.

Going from the shoulder down to the toe, the average angle of taper every 10mm is as follows:

0.2°
0.2°
0.3°
0.5°
0.9°
1.2°
1.7°
2.1°
and the average of the whole taper is 0.9°.

This shows that in the first third the taper is almost non-existent, starts to get going a bit in the middle third, building up to the maximum taper in the toe third. So no real surprise there, as it can be seen visually.

IMPORTANT: When I first started on this analytical journey a month ago, I couldn't for the life of me see why the taper was so important to some people. However, when I saw what Claw was on about it came to me all at once: the taper compensates for metal loss as the stroke progresses and keeps everything even and constant throughout the stroke. Bleedin' obvious when you see the real deal innit?

So yes, I am prepared to change my position in the face of supporting evidence and good argument. This is science, not stalwart opinion. I had originally planned to design a range of non-tapered files to present to the manufacturer, and they would have had a longer toothed area for each relative size, so that a good stroke length can be achieved - thus more efiicient. Not having a taper would also hhave meant that the number of different files could be significantly reduced (and that's really complex and long winded to explain)

The situation now is that a proper taper range (with proper corner radii and toothing) will be the first priority, and blunt-end, untapered files will still be on the burner, but at a lower heat.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi George - As Brett says in his update on the petition page, he is currently in talks with one of the boutique manufacturers in France who have said they will listen to public opinion. This petition is to demonstrate to the manufacturer that this does matter to people around the world.
 

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bzguy
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Just signed your petition even though I've never sharpened any saw myself besides my chainsaw.
I would like to see a similar petition to go back to making all tools the way they used to be made in the US.
Really tired of Chinese manufactured junk made by outsourcing Corps.
These mindless profit maximizing number crunchers sit in air-conditioned offices writing themselves bonuses and never have to deal with the trash they flood the market with.
 

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Mossback
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Thanks bzguy,

Without good files, you can't have sharp saws, even if you have someone sharpen your saws for you, they need good files.

Toby
 

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Mossback
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And even if he uses a machine like a Foley or an Acme he has to have good files, because those machines use tapered saw files. The only good currently available saw files are NOS, and they are running out. There are more people sharpening their own saws now than there has been in a generation (or two!).
 

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I don't know what the development costs would be, 500 people might not be enough. Have you looked into Kickstarter? You might be able to get enough money pledged to contract a facility with the right equipment to do a production run that way and then sell the files. THe guys at Tools For Working Wood might be a good contact to make, too, as they make and contract out tool manufacture, as well, with a penchant for old styles.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Good suggestions. I'll leave all of that to the petitioner, Brett Gregory. He has developed tools before through to production and knows what he's doing.

Only 113 to go to reach 500 now. Thanks everyone.
 

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Sawdust Creator
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I would like to see a similar petition to go back to making all tools the way they used to be made in the US.
Really tired of Chinese manufactured junk made by outsourcing Corps.
These mindless profit maximizing number crunchers sit in air-conditioned offices writing themselves bonuses and never have to deal with the trash they flood the market with.
No petition needed.....just start buying American made tools. The problem isn't number crunchers....its consumers. Consumers are driving the push down on prices, and when a company can't stay in business by selling at the prices consumers demand......they go overseas or they go out of bus.......which would you choose if you were CEO?

Table Saw
http://www.deltamachinery.com/products/table-saws/item/36-l352

Full Line of tools....(pretty sure these are still usa made, anyone know?)
http://www.powermatic.com/Categories.aspx
 

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Ryan, are you kidding? Ok, some of the small manufacturers (Veritas and Lie Nielson come to mind, though I think Veritas is Canadian) are decent, but I've given up on US made from any major manufacturer. I've yet to find a worthwhile tool -- or almost anything else -- manufactured in the US in the last 15-20 years. I tried for a long time, but when I figured out my options were a $10 tool from China with a reasonable finish that was solid from the box, or a $25 tool with a loose handle and kinked blade, proudly marked "MADE IN USA!", I gave up.

Again, small businesses are different -- individual makers, small companies like Lie Nielson, things like that -- but mass production in this company has completely fallen apart. If there are exceptions, I'd like to know about them, but my experience has been that if it's made outside the US there's at least a CHANCE it will be well made.
 

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Sawdust Creator
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I'm not arguing that everyone should buy American made tools, I'm saying they are available, however the reason they continue to move more overseas is not because of number crunchers, it's because consumers demand the cost structure that requires it.

Keep in mind, while it somedays seems like its not true, we still produce 80% of what china does, with 30% the population. The US is still a powerhouse in manufacturing.
 

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Yeah, but we produce the quantity by matching the worst of their quality.

Sure, they're available. And I'd happily pay extra for American made if it was good quality. My point is that I haven't seen any tools mass produced in the US that are even worth using in years.
 

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Sawdust Creator
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By the way....worthwhile us tools, delta unisaw, Midwest snips, jorgenson clamps, (rumor had it, Makita tools), many empire layout tools, estwing hammers, craftsman chisels, many Klein tools, channel lock pliers......

They are there.....but too often consumers look at both, choose the cheaper option and then complain it wasn't US made......
 

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Interesting... thanks! I know I have an Empire combo square which is fairly decent, but I don't think the packaging said anything blatant about where it was made. I bought it because it was the cheapest one that looked like it might be square, and I was unemployed, so cheap was critical. It's held up fairly well, though I check it regularly for accuracy.

I've got some Craftsman chisels, as well, but to be honest I was including those in the "not worthwhile" category. They're so thick they really aren't useful as anything but mortising tools, they're fairly unbalanced (severely top-heavy), and they don't seem to hold an edge for more than a couple of minutes.
 

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Sawdust Creator
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Empire now has a combo square they guarantee to be within .001 degree of square. I bought one last week and was happy to find it was spot on.

It's funny how people have differing opinions, I love the set of craftsman chisels I have....I've had a few more expensive ones, and found these to be just as good if not better by my standards. The ergonomics were one of my top reasons......
 
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