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J.A.S

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

having lurked in the ether for some weeks, I thought it was about time to register, and to come out of the closet and admit my addiction to old hand tools.

I began to dabble with woodwork recently, as a way to distract myself from extended sick leave from my post-graduate course, and bought a cheap table saw. It was soon sent back, as was its successor. I mucked about with a router, but found jig-making and set-up time irritating, while the noise and filth it created were almost intolerable.

A wonderful discovery was then made: my grandfather's pre-war tool chest, filled with his, and my great grandfather's, cabinet making jewels, which would have been more numerous were it not for the sinking of my grandfather's destroyer by a Stuker.

This beautiful collection of tools immediately lifted my spirits, and began to seduce me. Among them was was a tired-looking Bailey no.4, which I decided to restore. That did it. Countless hours later, it's taking absurdly thin shavings, and using it is pure bliss. However, I never seem actually to be doing any woodwork: I'm contstantly cleaning, fettling, electrolysing (sp?); mettle filings are permanently embedded in my fingers, while a smell of a curious wd-40 and wax mixture never seems to leave me. I am an addict.

My apologies if the above if is self-indulgent and makes me sound as daft as a brush. Anyway, my query follows.

In a dark corner of the garage, I discovered a turn-of-the-century Disston 10" backsaw, minus 3/4 of its handle, and have made a temporary replacement. However, the blade also needs attention. I had considered sending the saw to Tom Law in the States, but have since found out that he's retired from his legendary practice. I thus wondered whether the recent forum discussion on saw doctors had borne fruit.

Thanks for your patience, and my apologies again if I sound like a crack-pot.

J.A.S
 

trevtheturner

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Blimey! 'Ladies & Gentlemen' :shock:

Welcome, Jas - are you sure your name is not Alf?

Sorry I can't help with your question, but if you are not Alf I'm sure Alf will be very interested to hear of what sounds like a super collection of old tools. 8)

Cheers, Trev.
 

Adam

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I posted my saw away, as discussed on that thread and it was returned sharp.

I'd give them a recommendation if it wasn't for the fact I haven't anything to compare them against, as it's the first saw I have had sharpened. My best suggestion is to ring and talk to them, you may well be able to judge their level of competence better than I, as I only sent an old tenon saw along.

Adam
 
A

Anonymous

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Not considered doing it yourself?

Depending on how many TPI the blade is, there's a bunch of tools out there to help setting and sharpening the teeth. I admit it'd be a shame to mangle a turn of the century Disston, but if it's already nadgered, may be worth a go.

I will also be the first to admit I've never tried to true and sharpen a saw myself, mainly because my serious saws are too many TPI for the generally available setting and sharpening tools you can get.
 

Alf

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Jas,

Welcome, welcome. Pull up a seat, er, just push the pile of oily rags and the white spirit over there. Oh dear, never mind the rust dust usually brushes out. So tell me, d'you have access to a digital camera? That tool chest sounds great. :D Was your Grandfather the ship's chippy then? Amazing how jealous the Germans got about superior tools eh? :wink:
jas":36t4z8k6 said:
My apologies if the above if is self-indulgent and makes me sound as daft as a brush.
I'm pretty sure I'm in no position to comment... :oops:

Anyway, the backsaw. I'm currently hopeful of some further info from a Galoot in Worcestershire who may have a line on a hand filing saw doc, but when I'll hear details is anyone's guess. Other than that all the information I have is already in the previous thread. Certainly backsaws are no place to learn saw sharpening, although they are lessons in patience! In my case the patience is all on their side though, as they wait for me to get round to sharpening them. :?

Espedair Street":36t4z8k6 said:
I will also be the first to admit I've never tried to true and sharpen a saw myself, mainly because my serious saws are too many TPI for the generally available setting and sharpening tools you can get.
Chuckle. That's a good excuse Esp, and we believe you, don't we boys and girls? :wink:

Cheers, Alf
 
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Anonymous

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no, no, it's true, really! My Spear & Jackson brass backed dovetail saw is 14tpi, IIRC, and S&J's own tooth setting and sharpening jigs/guides/tools are only good to 12 TPI. Not sure about the tenon saw.

You'll find the same problem with L-N's Independence saws and the setters/sharpeners sold by APTC.

Although, having said that, I'm not sure I'd want to risk those 2 saws to my own not-so-gentle hand....but on a freebie nadgered saw? I think I'd try!
 

J.A.S

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Alf,

yes, he was the ship's chippy, but, after the war, took a maths degree and then taught that Dark Subject.

I do have access to a digital camera, and will attempt to post pictures once I've worked out how to use the thing, although I've heard that oil, wet and dry paper and a hammer aren't much help.

I'm going to start learning how to sharpen very soon, but it will take plenty of practice on low TPIs before I go near the Disston, although I have set it, so it no longer binds. I'm on constant watch to find a genuine handle .

J.A.S
 

Alf

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Esp,

There's two solutions. One, 14 tpi probably doesn't need any set anyway (that's my solution, but experience varies on this, YMMV etc) or two, file down the plunger on the standard saw set. I think BugBear's done the latter, and now I have a second Eclipse I may well try the same. Oh, there's a third option about 2/3 of the way down this page. One of these days someone needs to get round to suggesting to Mike Hancock that he stocks them for the benefit of those Adria saws he sells.

J.A.S.

Chuckle. Taking wet 'n' dry to the camera eh? You have got it bad. :D

Cheers, Alf
 
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Anonymous

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I was taught to sharpen as an apprentice by my lecturers and tradesmen, but one of the technicians at the college showed me a different method I still use, although traditionalists may not agree with the technique.
Most of it relates to standard practice, (topping, shaping, setting) only when the actual sharpening takes place that I use his method.
Whereas tradition states that every away tooth is sharpened, the saw turned around and the the remaining teeth sharpened, he taught me to sharpen from one side only.
On rip patterns, where the file is worked at 90° to the blade it is much easier, but once you get used to it, bevel filing crosscut patterns is simple enough to master.
The advantage is that you can work each tooth completely before moving on to the next, making it easier to keep the teeth uniform.
Although bevel filing means it is more difficult to achieve initially, once you get into a rhtym, you can alternate the bevel positions pretty easily from each gullet.
Traditional methods show that the file handle should be dropped so that you file 'uphill' on crosscut or panel pattern saws, which means the saw will need to be traditionally sharpened, and there are advantages to this as it increases the point bevel. This makes the initial scoring of the outer edge cleaner, but I find that bevel filing with the file held flat still throws enough of a point to score the work cleanly, and it holds an edge longer than the finer needle pointed double bevel pattern.
On finer toothed saws I find it easier as you aren't pushing too much against a tooth facing towards you, but bigger crosscut or rip teeth can chatter as you do it so you have to make sure the saw is kept low down in the chops.
I find this way helps to keep the tooth shape more uniform as you sharpen as the hook of the file is kept at the same pitch throughout whereas traditional methods can lead to over filing on the odd tooth and can alter the hook angle from one side to the other when you turn it ending up with teeth like a crocodile.
As for setting pliers, Espidair is right that standard pliers only go to about 12tpi, but on tenon saws of 14-16tpi, I still set to 12 and then place the saw flat on the bench and run an oilstone over them a couple of times to take the set back until I am happy. I usually do this on hand saws as well as it ensure that any teeth that may have been overset will be uniform with the others. (I overset the saw by 1pt before I sharpen to allow for this usually)

Not sure if this has helped or confused the issue!!! :roll:
 

Alf

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Andy,

Sounds like we may have rather alot in common with our sharpening practices.
Sharpening from one side - check (although only on rip teeth. Just can't get the knack on the x-cut)
File level - check
Reducing set with an oilstone - check, despite reading a really good reason why you shouldn't do this. Wish I could remember what it was... :roll:

Only thing I to disagree on is the tpi settings on saw sets. You don't actually take any notice of them do you? I'm aghast. :shock: Might as well call each setting after one of the England team as far as I'm concerned. :D I favour the time honoured tradition of "that looks about right". :lol: What make of set do you have? I've found the plunger simply isn't fine enough to set the individual teeth on the finer tpi, but maybe I've been unlucky in my sets (yeah, more than one. It's some sort of disease... :oops: ).

Cheers, Alf
 
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Anonymous

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hi Alf,

The pliers I use are the old brass Eclipse style ones. (no makers name on them if i recall, but i'll dig them out if i think of it and have a look) I bought them from a tutor who was retiring when i was at college, so that was 25 years ago, and how long he owned them is anybody's guess!
A friend bought a similar pair new from eclipse about the same time and the stepped wheel and pin are far chunkier than on mine. I can fine set pretty well with them, but a wider pin might not be so easy.
I do normally set to the marks on them, but you get the feel for different blades. I know from experience that my Disstons are harder to set than my Nonpareils so i will overset the Disstons to allow for the extra pressure needed to push the tooth, but still apply the same pressure. In theory the tooth will spring back to about the right spot!
I forgot to mention that when i set tenon saws, if they have more teeth than the amount on the set, i don't apply as much pressure.
As for stoning the edge, right or wrong is down to personal preference i find. I know that after setting a couple of panel saws for instance, unless i've had 3 shredded wheat and a box of weetabix, the amount of pressure exerted at the end of the session isn't as uniform as the start of it.
Putting a stone over the saw not only de-burrs the tooth from the file, it also gets higher overset teeth back in check. (my story and i'm sticking to it! :D )
As for chisel and plane sharpening, I had one tutor whose views were pretty radical compared to the method i use, but that's another story! I didn't agree then, and i still don't now!

Andy
 

Alf

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Andy,

Ah, could be my Eclipse set is too new. Luckily there's an older one in The Toolchest, so I could be in luck. :D Interesting about the Disstons; again The Toolchest is going to provide my first taste of Disston sharpening (not yet though, 'cos they're sharp - unheard of!) so I'll bear that in mind. I wish I could remember where I read the sage advice on removing set, but for the life of me I can't think where I found it. S'gonna bug me now. :roll:

Now look, you can't trail radical tool sharpening ideas and then not deliver the goods. I'm agog here you know. :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 
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Anonymous

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Well ok then, since you asked......
I didn't think it was radical at the time, just cr*p, and i still think so!
The guy in question had trained in the army, finished his alloted time and retrained as a woodwork tutor. At the time i would say he was about mid thirties, so obviously new far better than the 50 year old plus time served ex cabinet makers etc who were teaching us :shock:
Flatten and polish the back of a chisel or plane iron before using it? No chance!
Use the width of the stone to support the back of the iron when working the wire edge off? No, don't be daft!
Sharpening the army way seems to be as follows:
Leave the grind marks in as excessive rubbing will hollow the back of the chisel/plane iron prematurely, relying on subsequent visits to the stone to eventually clean the grind marks back.
The back of the iron is only worked for the first 1/2 inch, not the usual
1 1/2 - 2inches i usually work. Don't turn the blade over and over until the wire edge breaks away, one quick pull on the back (1/2inch only mind!) will be enough to weaken the burr which will then fall away as the cutting tool is used.....
Good advice? I think it's referred to as the 'Scarcely Sharp™' method. :lol:
 

Alf

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Hmm, certainly has the merit of speed anyway... :roll: At the risk of getting myself in hot water here, what exactly does one flatten 1.5" - 2" of the back of a plane iron for? David Charlesworth's technique certainly doesn't do that, and that seems to be getting more and more popular. Maybe this guy was ahead of his time? :lol:

Cheers, Alf
 
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Anonymous

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Must admit I'd kinda concur on only working 1/2 inch of the back - you only need the back flat to the point the cap iron sits - anything beyond that is pointless, I think.

Other than that...strange method these military bods use. Surprised they didn't just point a gun at it, and order it to be sharp. :D
 
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Anonymous

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Well, what i meant to say was that i place the iron/chisel across the stone so that 1 1/2 to 2in is supported and then stroke it across the stone. I find this supports the tool better.
I should have said that as long as the cutting edge of the tool has the grind marks out, then it is fine, similar to a japanese chisel, if the grind shows behind, then it is hollow at that point, so no problem.
I only work long enough to polish the front bit, but support the tool across the stone so that I have better control.
 

Alf

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Ahhhhhh, well you shoulda said. We'll let you off then. :wink:

Funnily enough the replacement iron for my Preston shave arrived from Ray Iles this morning, and it exhibits the "Japanese effect" rather well. Works okay too, although it doesn't bed as well as the old one for some reason. :( Blooming sharp edges too; I got a couple of nasty cuts in my thumb before it dawned on me to take a file to the edges. :cry: (You don't have to say it, I know - stoopid)

Cheers, Alf

Wandering off the off-topic topic. :oops:
 
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