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I recently purchased an old backsaw that I took in to have sharpened. When I got it back, the teeth feel very rough and the cut is rough. Should the saw be deburred or something to give the kerf a smooth edge??
 

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Are you talking about the sides of the teeth? How was the saw sharpened- by hand or machine? Part of sharpening should be putting the appropriate set on the teeth, and stoning the sides of the teeth to remove the burr left by filing the face of each tooth. The fix will depend on what kind of work the sharpener did.
 

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This brings up an interesting point and fear of mine - I need a few saws sharpened and the local woodcraft does it. I don't have the time/energy right now to learn to do it, or the budget to buy the files and sets. But what are the chances they are going to screw my saws up?
 

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I use a small block of hard wood first and run it heel to toe along the teeth to knock off any loose stuff. Then I use a fine diamond hone and doe the same thing. Lay the saw plate flat on a bench and lightly run the hone heel down the sides of the teeth. Test cut then repeat if needed. If saw drifts one direction in the kerf, you can dress that side of the teeth to correct it.
 

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Although you didn't sharpen the saw yourself, I thought I'd post this link to a Saw Sharpening Guide. Near the bottom of the document is explains in detail "dressing" the saw after filing and adjusting the saw if it has drift or excessive tooth set.

mavawreck - I've never sent a saw out for sharpening, so I can't even guess what kind of a job Woodcraft does. It's actually a lot easier than it sounds to sharpen one and it's not that expensive - approx. $6 for each file you need and $25 for a good saw set.
 

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To address the original question: I'd run the finest stone you have once or twice down each side of the sawplate. Probably it was mechanically sharpened, and will need some touching up.

I also want to second Tim: sharpening turns out to be really easy. Here are the steps I take with a new used saw.

1) Cut a piece of 1x2 to a few inches longer than the saw plate, then cut down the length (in the wider dimension) with (ideally) a different saw with the same thickness plate. Leave an inch or two uncut. If I don't have another saw that will work, I just use the saw that needs sharpening, and it takes as long as it takes. This becomes my saw vise for that saw, and this step never has to be repeated unless I lose the board. I mark them with the make, tooth count, and tooth geometry (ie, "Disston 5tpi rip") with a Sharpie.

2) Remove the tote (handle) from the saw. If the plate needs de-rusting, I do it now. If not, slip it into the board I just cut. Leave about a quarter inch between the tooth gullet and the board all along the length of the saw. Clamp the whole thing into a vise. If it needs jointing (I've yet to sharpen a saw that really did) I would take this opportunity to do that.

3) Take a saw file, and file every second tooth. I try to make sure that the file only make firm contact on the push stroke, and make sure to keep it in line with the existing tooth geometry. (Unless I want to change the geometry, but I usually don't.) I generally move the saw down in the vise a couple of times to make sure I'm sharpening teeth near the vise. That keeps the noise level down.

4) Flip the saw around, and sharpen the teeth that didn't get sharpened on the first pass.

5) If the teeth are really out of set, fix that. If there's way too much set (like there was on my little gent's saw), set it on an anvil and drop a light hammer on it from a few inches up., working down the length. If there's not enough, use a saw set. I only just bought my first saw with this problem, so I haven't actually used a saw set yet.


With the Disston 5tpi saw I mentioned above, the sharpening process takes about 20 minutes for a roughly thirty inch blade. Sooner or later I'll have to set it, and that will add some time. For rip teeth it's really easy, and really hard to screw up. For cross cut teeth it's a little more complex, but not much harder. Give it a try sometime... you might be surprised.
 
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