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Life after death for my back-saw

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baldpate

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Hi again,

Hunting through my junk pile today. I discovered the blade of a small (8” x 3”)) brass-backed Spear & Jackson tenon saw. There’s no longer a handle, although I still have the three nuts, one with the S&J logo. And for some reason, I filed off all the teeth (please don’t ask me why :oops: - this all happened back in the old days, before I got the true religion, back when terrible and barbaric things were done to old and innocent tools).

The blade plate is flat (about 0.025” thick), and the back is heavy, folded brass, so I’d like to resurrect it into something useful But I feel rather daunted by the task : my only experience so far is of sharpening a 12 tpi crosscut saw, and of re-setting a 17 tpi gents saw.

I was thinking of a 15 tpi (or thereabouts), rip-cut, dovetail saw.

Am I setting my sights too high, for someone of my limited experience?

The main problems, as I see them, are: basic re-shaping of the teeth to 15 tpi ; and making the handle.

1. Re-shaping the teeth
How can I cut the teeth evenly? I guess I need a template of some sort. Is there something I can use – I vaguely remember reading about using a power hacksaw blade as a template, but I can’t find the reference.
Any ideas, please, for how to go about laying outand filing the tooth pattern?

2. Making the handle
I’ve read several threads in this forum about making your own handles (and very nice they are too!). But mostly the makers start from the pattern of an existing, much-loved handle. My other back-saws, however, are fairly clunky modern things. If I’m going to start from scratch (as I must, since I’ve discarded the original handle) I might as well try to make an elegant and comfortable new one.
So, to get started, I need a shape which is more than just visual guesswork. Is there anywhere online I can get plans or layouts for suitable saw handles?

Any guidance you can offer will be gratefully accepted I rather suspect this is beyond my current skill level, so I shall not take “forget it!” amiss. :)

Regards

Chris
 

pedder

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Hi Chris,

your problem is the main theme of my Old Ladies blog. You'll find links to several saw handle making tutorials. Under saw museum You'll find many pictures of handles, you can use as a pattern.

The mother of all saw making tutorials ist Leif Hanson's (Norse woodsmith) back saw project:
http://norsewoodsmith.com/content/backsaw-project

To file new teeth in a saw I use patterns made by a cnc laser cutter:

But these were way to expensive to buy them for the first start. Hacksaw blades are available in 18 tpi, 24TPI and 32TPI and I use them, too. You can even use one of your Modern saws. Most will have 14 tpi wich ist quite Ok for a first start on a dovetail saw.

Cheers
Pedder
 

Harbo

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Tools for Working Wood have some downloadable PDFs for handles.
And Bugbear used to have a web page with printable teeth templates?

Rod
 

bugbear

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baldpate":155ahye7 said:
Hi again,

Hunting through my junk pile today. I discovered the blade of a small (8” x 3”)) brass-backed Spear & Jackson tenon saw. There’s no longer a handle, although I still have the three nuts, one with the S&J logo. And for some reason, I filed off all the teeth (please don’t ask me why :oops: - this all happened back in the old days, before I got the true religion, back when terrible and barbaric things were done to old and innocent tools).

The blade plate is flat (about 0.025” thick), and the back is heavy, folded brass, so I’d like to resurrect it into something useful But I feel rather daunted by the task : my only experience so far is of sharpening a 12 tpi crosscut saw, and of re-setting a 17 tpi gents saw.

I was thinking of a 15 tpi (or thereabouts), rip-cut, dovetail saw.

Am I setting my sights too high, for someone of my limited experience?

The main problems, as I see them, are: basic re-shaping of the teeth to 15 tpi ; and making the handle.

1. Re-shaping the teeth
How can I cut the teeth evenly? I guess I need a template of some sort. Is there something I can use – I vaguely remember reading about using a power hacksaw blade as a template, but I can’t find the reference.
Any ideas, please, for how to go about laying outand filing the tooth pattern?
IMHO if you can sharpen 12 tpi cross cut, 15 tpi rip will be a doddle.

As to laying out teeth - easy (these days). The hacksaw idea was Robert Wearings, and was fine in its day.

But.

In the age of cheap CAD and desktop printers, may I present:

http://www.oocities.org/plybench/saw_teeth.pdf

(which is a backup from my no-longer-hosted website)

Simply print out the page with the tooth size you want, fold it on the mid-line, glue it on your saw (pritt stick works well) and file a good notch for each tooth.

Once you've made a marker notch for each tooth, remove the paper, and proceed as normal for shaping and sharpening.

Edit; when Pedder said "saw museum" for handle shapes, there was no link.

I''m guessing he meant the examples at backsaw.net:

open handle examples

closed handle examples

BugBear
 

baldpate

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Thanks for your help and information, everybody. That's just what I needed to see me on my way.
 

Pete Maddex

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Hi, Chris

I have used a BB template to cut new teeth on a back saw. I started with one stroke on each tooth, and gradualy deepened the teeth checking and adjusting as I went over them, you can see how much of the flat is left between each tooth, this alowed me to get the teeth nice and even.
It took about 8 passes to get the teeth to full depth.
I did 12tpi and used a triangular needle file.


Pete
 

baldpate

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Thanks for that extra bit of detail, Pete.

I've made the handle, and I'm about to move on to the blade: I've got a quick supplementary question on files to use for shaping the teeth.

Because I'm going for 15tpi, I don't believe either of my existing files (4" XSlim, and 5"XSlim) are fine enough to complete the job. I think I shall need to buy a needle file. However, these are a little more expensive than the ordinary saw files. So I'm wondering if I can't start off the shaping with one of the cheaper files (say the 4"XSlim), and move over to the needle only when I'm nearing the end of the cut, thus giving it a slightly longer life.

Is there any reason why this is a bad idea?

Cheers

Chris
 

bugbear

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baldpate":18wwxqof said:
Thanks for that extra bit of detail, Pete.

I've made the handle, and I'm about to move on to the blade: I've got a quick supplementary question on files to use for shaping the teeth.

Because I'm going for 15tpi, I don't believe either of my existing files (4" XSlim, and 5"XSlim) are fine enough to complete the job. I think I shall need to buy a needle file. However, these are a little more expensive than the ordinary saw files. So I'm wondering if I can't start off the shaping with one of the cheaper files (say the 4"XSlim), and move over to the needle only when I'm nearing the end of the cut, thus giving it a slightly longer life.

Is there any reason why this is a bad idea?

Cheers

Chris
That should work - although you'll only be using the extreme corner of the larger file, so you'll still wear out the larger file. Since it's cheaper, it's still a "win".

The main reason for using a "matching" size file is the gullet shape, so finish with the "correct" file.

BugBear
 

baldpate

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Thanks BB - that confirms what I thought, that the important thing is to finish with the correct size to get the right final profile.
 

bugbear

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baldpate":3dsbz0hb said:
Thanks BB - that confirms what I thought, that the important thing is to finish with the correct size to get the right final profile.
I'll try to find the thread to confirm, but IIRC one of the noted saw makers/sharpeners routinely uses a larger file in the early stages of tooth filing because the handling is a little easier and more comfortable.

BugBear
 

baldpate

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Hi Pedder,

thanks very much for the confirmation about using needlefiles (and, of course, for the earlier information you provided on this thread, which has helped me considerably). Unfortunately, in the UK they (triangular needle files) seem to be less available and more expensive than in Germany.

I tried today to start shaping the new teeth, using a 5" Extra slim saw file , guided by BugBear's template. By 'shaping', I mean cutting the initial notches, not the final full shape. I found the main problem with the slightly larger file to be one of visibilty: at 15 tpi the teeth are so close together that it is difficult to place the edge of the 5XS file in the correct position to make the cut in order that the notches are regularly spaced.

Having made the inital notches in the blade (2 strokes in each notch with the 5" Extra slim) and having removed the paper guide, I find I have one or two 'dips', where I filed deeper than intended - perhaps caused by an extra stoke or two, where I thought I had not made a deep enough (or accurate enough) impression. I also recall one notch where the file 'jumped' to the adjacent one just cut, so perhaps that was the cause. The paper guide was invaluable (could not have managed without it) but it did tend to obscure imperfect positioning in the initial cuts - the torn paper makes the cuts to the metal seem more regular than in fact they are once the paper is removed.

Pete Madox, in an earlier post, said he used a needle file on a 12 tpi backsaw (I assume from the start) and took only one stroke intitially in each position. I should have paid more heed :oops: !. If I try this again, I may start with the needle file and use a single stroke.

Despite a couple of imperfections I intend to press on (rather than starting again) but using the needle file, hoping I can file out the imperfections as I go on. If not, I'm sure I shall be back for more advice :).

To Pedder :

What you say about cleaning/resharpening needle files in mild acid is interesting. Could you give a few more details please - such as, what sort of acid do you use? How do you process the used file - immerse it? scrub it whilst immersed? scrub it after immersion? What do you scrub it with?

Also, regarding the link - I'm assuming "Nadelfeile, dreikant - 160mm, Heib 2" means "Triangular needle file - 160mm, 2nd cut" ? : if so, it's a great price (before delivery to UK). Unfortunately I don't speak German, so I cannot navigate the site to find out how much delivery would cost to the UK, and so to complete an order. Thanks anyway. I'll see if I can find a on-line German dictionary to help me.

Regards to all, and many thanks for your interest

Chris
 

pedder

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Hi Chris,

zu Jeddeloh has an english page and I believe they ship to England. Shipping shouldn't be that expensive.
Edit: It seems to be expensive. If I can help with forwarding some files to you (a letter should be enough) , shoot me a pm.

Yes your translation is correct. Jeddeloh has not only the cheapest neddlefiles I know, but the biggest choice. One can choose 3 length and 3 cuts. I've testet the two finer cuts and like cut 2 over cut 3. the 200mm file is a tade wider than the 140mm file and can be used on bigger teeth.


To sharpen a needlefile I store them in a old prickels glas filled some cheap vinegar over the week. If they are not sharp enough the stay another week. I just dry them with paper and oil them with balistol to stop the corrsion.

Cheers
Pedder
 

pedder

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xy mosian

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I too have had trouble defining the start of the gullet, gap between the teeth, when sharpening a fine toothed saw from scratch. I have it mind to define the starting point with the corner of a piece of hard steel next time, given a gentle tap it should provide just enough registration for the file.
xy
 

Pete Maddex

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Hi. Chaps

Thats why I started mine with only one stroke for each tooth, you can go back and adjust the flats bt puting more presure on the side that looks wider, and after a few passes you have even teeth.

Pete
 

bugbear

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xy mosian":wugxv691 said:
I too have had trouble defining the start of the gullet, gap between the teeth, when sharpening a fine toothed saw from scratch. I have it mind to define the starting point with the corner of a piece of hard steel next time, given a gentle tap it should provide just enough registration for the file.
xy
Cold chisel sound favourite, as long as your vice will hold tightly enough that the plate doesn't get driven downwards.

BugBear
 

pedder

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Pete Maddex":2xqw18ta said:
1you can go back and adjust the flats bt puting more presure on the side that looks wider, and after a few passes you have even teeth.
Hi Pete,

on a 0° Rake saw, you can' or at least not easily.
If you've filed one saw breast a certain amount to fare to the back, you'll have to file all the other that amount back, too.

Cheers
Pedder
 

Pete Maddex

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Hi, Pedder

Not sure I understand that!

I cut the teeth in a series of about 8 passes so adjustment was possible at nearly each pass.

Pete
 

pedder

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Pete Maddex":2tp3ptjv said:
Hi, Pedder

Not sure I understand that!

I cut the teeth in a series of about 8 passes so adjustment was possible at nearly each pass.

Pete
Hi Pete,

on rip cut saws: once you filed the gullet behind the line you can't bring it forward any more. You just can bring all the other teeth behind their lines, too.

On crosscut saws you can deepen all gullets and bring the tooth breast in direction to the toe again, but you can not on 0° rake saws. You could file a step in the tooth breast.

Cheers
Pedder
 
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