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Questions about fettling a rusty old panel saw

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Ttrees

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Hello folks
This week I have been mostly focusing on hand saws, made a stout clamshell for saw sharpening
roughly along the lines of Andy Lovelock's.
For those who haven't watched it...
His youtube video is youtube titled Sharpening western saws, and is a two hour bonanza :)

I have cleaned the rust off the plate, but there is pitting on one side.
It is deep and very noticeable whilst rubbing it with sandpaper using only fingers.
I didn't try using sandpaper with a block of wood, as I had run out of 400g.
It's not a taper ground saw, and the pitting is close to the spine towards the toe.

Will I experience drift or will it just jam in the cut, as its only on one side of the plate?
Has anyone taper ground their saws?
I Imagine one could use flap discs for most if not all of the job.
I wonder how accurate this grinding needs to be?


I have to learn crosscut sharpening on this 21 or 22" long panel saw, which has 9 TPI.
It might be worth trying afterwards to do the taper grinding if the pitting ends up being trouble.
It's never been resharpened by the looks of it, and with only one tooth missing (I think)
so it should make an ideal candidate for learning on.

I'm also still unsure about fleam and rake angles for iroko and other tropicals only.
Would you think 12 degrees rake, and 20 degrees fleam would be suitable for a 9TPI panel saw cutting my timbers?
I don't think I'll bother with slope angle for now.

Thanks for your input in advance guys.
Tom
 

Cheshirechappie

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Pitting on a saw blade is only a problem if it's near the tooth-line. It makes it more likely that teeth can break off during setting. Up near the spine is not really a problem, unless it's very extensive.

Taper grinding a panel saw isn't worth the bother. The set of the saw teeth controls the kerf width; the tiny bit extra clearance from taper grinding is miniscule. Think of hard-point saws - they're flat ground, and cut like billy-oh when new and sharp. If you do try to apply taper grind, you'll probably find that the blade starts buckling unpredictably and ultimately terminally.

With your saw, the first thing to do is to check that the blade is straight. If it isn't, scrap it and find one that is. Then clean off the rust. Then rub the blade with scrunched-up aluminium kitchen foil and a dab of Autosol (which will burnish the surface to a nice, smooth slickness). Then fettle the handle to your taste, and sharpen and set as per Andy Lovelock's video. As he says, you may need a few goes to achieve perfection, but gotta start somewhere! Don't worry too much about exact angles, try more to get teeth of even size and all the same height - all doing their bit of the work. The thing that makes the most difference to saw performance is whether or not it's sharp and all teeth are working, and it has just enough set to avoid binding. A couple of degrees one way or the other on rake and fleam angles is trivial in comparison.
 

Jacob

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You can get away with doing nothing at all except sharpen,set, and a wipe over with linseed oil. Leave it to dry for a few days. It'll leave a brown skid mark in the first cut or two but slowly polish itself up thereafter. It'll stay brown, but shiny and low friction, with grey metal beginning to show only after many hours of use
 

ED65

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Ttrees":2ltcmedo said:
I have cleaned the rust off the plate, but there is pitting on one side.
It is deep and very noticeable whilst rubbing it with sandpaper using only fingers.
I didn't try using sandpaper with a block of wood, as I had run out of 400g.
400 is a cosmetics-stage grit. If you need to remove any amount of material do yourself a massive favour and go down to 200, or even to 100/120! I've sanded saw plates with 80 if it seemed necessary

Ttrees":2ltcmedo said:
Will I experience drift or will it just jam in the cut, as its only on one side of the plate?
Jam, no. Drift, maybe? I don't know. I have seen more than a few saws in use that have that all-too-common issue of one very nice side and one bad side that seem to be solid users for their owners for what that's worth.

If you notice the roughness much you can always pack the pitting with wax.

Ttrees":2ltcmedo said:
Has anyone taper ground their saws?
It's been done by a few dedicated souls.

Fun experiment for the right personality type but you might be surprised to find how little difference it can make; I've seen direct comparisons mentioned a couple of times and the difference between a taper-ground saw and a flat one was not stark in many estimations. The thickness of the stock being sawn, the experience of the sawyer, rip or crosscut, the amount of set, I'm sure would all be relevant factors here though.

Ttrees":2ltcmedo said:
I wonder how accurate this grinding needs to be?
Good question. I'm leaning towards not especially, certainly not even close to as accurately as modern machines could do it. Have you ever watched a vid of Japanese saws being ground by hand? It seems to be a seat-of-the-pants operation and although you can gauge/caliper progress I can't imagine the material removed from each side is particularly uniform, even with the huge experience of the operators (I'm partly basing this on the manual grinding of knives too).

Ttrees":2ltcmedo said:
I'm also still unsure about fleam and rake angles for iroko and other tropicals only.
Would you think 12 degrees rake, and 20 degrees fleam would be suitable for a 9TPI panel saw cutting my timbers?
Bow saw. Just sayin' :)

With some tropicals being so abrasive if that's primarily what the intended use is a softish saw plate may not give the kind of sharpening interval I'd be comfortable with. TBH if I were sticking to a traditional saw I'd probably want to go with a modern hardpoint for this. A good one saws so well across the grain.

Anyway best of luck learning the crosscut sharpening. It's initially tricky but I found you get better at it relatively quickly not good, just better :) The one key trick that helped me the most with crosscut sharpening was a guide block that I could move along the teeth as I worked.
 

Ttrees

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Thanks folks
Some interesting points not mentioned on the videos that I have been watching.

I decided that I wanted a workshop saw and not a hardpoint one for crosscutting, as I always take them with me when I find a skip, and they get wrecked.
The bandsaw normally does the job for me, but it won't crosscut long timbers.
I also am getting somewhat closer to actually doing some fine joinery, so needed a saw vice for sharpening back saws.
Plenty of reasons to avoid buying another disposable yoke.

I must look up the taper grinding if this saw proves to be binding.
Thanks folks
Tom
 

AndyT

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As far as I know, there's only one UK commercial saw maker who does small scale taper grinding on his saws. That's Shane Skelton in Scarborough. (https://www.skeltonsaws.co.uk)

I asked him how he does it and he told me that he uses a belt sander. I don't mind passing that information on, as I don't think it's a trade secret. It's just the modern replacement for the huge old dangerous grindstones that used to be used in Sheffield.

However, to anyone without Shane's unusual level of skill and determination, it might just be the quickest way to ruin all the old saws you can find. :wink:
 

Cheshirechappie

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Ttrees":353dx8uf said:
I must look up the taper grinding if this saw proves to be binding.
It would be a darn sight quicker and more effective to just add a bit more set.
 

Jacob

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Cheshirechappie":21mm62nv said:
Ttrees":21mm62nv said:
I must look up the taper grinding if this saw proves to be binding.
It would be a darn sight quicker and more effective to just add a bit more set.
Well yes. Taper grinding makes no sense at all. It's just another of those pointless "good ideas" which get kicked around the woodwork circuit.
Pitting not a problem either. Rough rust on the surface may be, but it gets rubbed off in a few minutes of use.
 

Ttrees

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Thanks AndyT, good to know I must look Shane's work.
Big Billy Carter has shown some off on his youtube channel.

Cheshirechappy, Indeed I will go slowly adding set as per most instructions.
I can use the rest of the saw (about 60% of it good) to get a feeling for the set I need.

I still want this saw to be on the fine side, as its not rough sawn stuff I'll be cutting.
I may need to add a sacrificial backer for the cuts, but I get the impression that you wouldn't need to do this with a premium saw like a Skelton or a Lie-Nielsen panel saw.
I have barely any knowledge on what can be achieved,
as most woodworking videos really skip through the rough cutting of parts so it's hard to get an impression of how clean a panel saw can cut, and they always start off with rough lumber, so chip out doesn't matter.

I have a fair bit of research to do yet it seems.
Thanks folks
Tom
 

lurker

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If you are anywhere near Loughborough you are welcome to visit and choose a decent saw from my stash.

Edit: but only if you promise to stop calling timber, lumber. :wink:
 

woodbloke66

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AndyT":3m5311bd said:
As far as I know, there's only one UK commercial saw maker who does small scale taper grinding on his saws. That's Shane Skelton in Scarborough. (https://www.skeltonsaws.co.uk)

I asked him how he does it and he told me that he uses a belt sander.
Just to slightly OT, some years ago in Japan I asked a swordsmith why he had a Makita belt sander bolted to his bench. Apparently he ground his katana blades to a rough shape on one; worked for him and if you ever fancied purchasing one of his swords, you'd need to find the best part of £30K - Rob
 

Jacob

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Ttrees":1alf8hq1 said:
..... a premium saw like a Skelton or a Lie-Nielsen panel saw....
They are only as good as the last sharpening. In use there is no difference between a "premium" saw and a similar spec cheapo saw, if they are both sharpened to the same degree. You don't get much for your money beyond a brand name. They say "Taper ground blade prevents the saw binding in the cut" but this is not true - it's just advertising bo**ox.
"Peacock oil" is a new one for me - even more expensive than Honerite No 1 and twice the price of a very good whisky! :lol: Toys for boys, fantasy woodwork, retail therapy.
 

Trevanion

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Jacob":10hj26iy said:
"Peacock oil" is a new one for me - even more expensive than Honerite No 1 and twice the price of a very good whisky! :lol: Toys for boys, fantasy woodwork, retail therapy.
Hey, don't knock it until you try it! My sawing has definitely got far more accurate from the application of peacock oil to the handle! Now instead of 90.5 degrees or 89.5 degrees it's spot on 90 degrees every time.

:roll:
 

Ttrees

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Thanks folks, not wanting to go over the top of I can help it.
There is some room for error on the length of the timbers I plan on using this saw for.
I just don't want to to be making a hames of it on the back of the cut, hence the premium panel saw comment.
I just want to aim for the best results, and figured these saws would make a good benchmark to shoot for.
Might make a handle for it sometime if it turns out OK, it's got plenty of flight holes and tunnels, but thats not a concern to me right now.

I was expecting folks to advise one of those Spear and Jackson saws, in the absence of old ones locally, or usable ones on the bay.
Cheers folks, Tom
 

Jacob

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Ttrees":1smnf6h4 said:
.....
I was expecting folks to advise one of those Spear and Jackson saws, in the absence of old ones locally, or usable ones on the bay.
Cheers folks, Tom
Yes definitely. It sounds as though you aren't used to sawing, which means a modern hardpoint is a very good place to start. They cut really well (as a rule, I've had the occasional cheapo dud) and will do a lot of work before you throw it away. Only £5 to £10.
What is your actual project, what are you intending to cut?
 

Ttrees

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Jacob
Spear and Jackson make panel saws, 20 and 22" which does not have induction hardened teeth for twenty something quid.
Im making a bench from reclaimed stock, I've not needed to crosscut any long timbers (iroko door stile stock) until now, as I was able to utilize shorter lengths and trim an inch off the ends on the bandsaw until now.

Went through all my stock and only found a few lengths,
Really tried to avoid this until now, not that the shed looks like a bomb has been dropped on the place, climbing over timbers to get to that odd job in the house press, but I wanted to keep the long stuff.
I cant wait to have space again, but that'll not happen anytime soon as I keep finding more doors.
So I will buy another one of those throwaway multimaterial types for destroying in skips
 

Jacob

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Panel saws (20 to 22") are generally for panels i.e. thinner stuff. Iroko door stiles you need the bigger "hand saw" usually 24" and 7 or 8 t.p.i. This is for cutting to length plus a bit. Ends which are visible then trimmed exactly finished off with finer tenon saw, planing, sanding etc.
Spear & Jackson are excellent, ancient or modern. I'd treat old saw fettling as another project for practice in saw sharpening. In the meantime send off your new saws to a saw doctor instead, as necessary, and get the bench built!
PS shouldn't be a problem cutting ends of long pieces with band saw - just need something (trestle?) or someone to hold the other end. Cutting long pieces in half with a bandsaw obviously not possible, so you cut at an angle and then square off the ends afterwards.
 

Ttrees

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I must have a look for a video demonstrating a 7 or 8 TPI saw, in use to get an impression on the results.
I'm rarely needing to crosscut long lengths as I have a good selection that only needs an inch trimmed off on the bandsaw, no space for a tablesaw crosscut setup at the moment.
Need to have a good reorganize when I am able, a huge 4" thick slab is sitting on stacked door rails as it is now.
What I am after is a saw that can crosscut 8'+ long lengths cleanly, and that's fairly rare, so will happily trade off speed for clean cutting.
It seems that I could have the right tpi saw for my situation so.
Have a dovetail and tenon saw to do soon, so it's the right time to start with saw sharpening.
No stranger to files or saws and the vice is made already.
Was a faff to flatten it out the ply leafs.

Ps I already have a bench and that doubles up as support for long lengths needing trimming on the bandsaw, and have done it the old wasteful way like that for lesser valued stock

Thanks
Tom
 

thetyreman

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my 7tpi spear and jackson is my most used of all saws, it's a vintage one, probably before 1960s, really good saw, cost £5 on ebay.
 
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