Saw-sharpening info

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Pete W

Established Member
31 Jan 2004
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Spotted these linked from Woodnet forums and thought I ought to bring them to the attention of members here. Two online videos from Fine Woodworking on the tools and techniques of sharpening saws.

Excellent stuff, and streamed flawlessly over my not-very-fast broadband connection.

Saw sharpening tools
Saw sharpening technique
Great links, Pete. Saw sharpening is something I've never tried so it's really helpful to have someone who knows how to do it to show you.

I have a few knackered old saws in the garage - I think I'll have a go :) .

I must say, though, that the sound of those files on the saw sets your teeth (the ones in your mouth) on edge a bit :shock:

Superb freebie video! I've read a lot, and tried it a few times, but that really clarifies it.
He didn't mention repositioning the file guide to 8 deg the other way when sharpening the other side. I forgot to do that first time I did a saw and screwed the first two teeth!
Great link!
Just got my 99p ebay sawset in the post today - can't wait to give it a try.
The video really helped to make the process clear.
Thanks, Pete

It's a great video for what it He covers the basics but doesn't go into any of the problems or the mechanics of it. There is another video available by I believe Tom Law ( I think LN still sells it ). Anyone interested in sharpening their saws should try and get a copy of that one. Slow moving but ultra informative (with respect reminds me of watching a Charlesworth video).

Hey Brent--good to see ya here again...

I agree, one gets what one pays for all to often.

To me, some of the "information" it imparts is not what is "taught" per se. It is the confidence, the movements and the fact if one looks, the teeth are not perfectly shaped--but it still cuts well. [OK, it looks like it is sawing a bit off line, but that is either lens distortion or the fact it needs a tad more stoning on the side it goes off to.]

It's a start though. Perhaps someone will be encouraged to do the same quality of a sharpening video that George Huron did for tenons and dovetails etc.

Take care, Mike
but then mike if your customers knew how to do it, you would have to spend your time making saws, not enjoying yourself sharpening them :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

the first step is always the biggest, and even with chisels, scary,
but having just done another set of almost new bahco, i am concerned that none of the big makers seem to give a pipper about the customer.
the back of these was more scored than any surface i have seen for some time.
paul :wink:
engineer one":2hwfraob said:
but then mike if your customers knew how to do it, you would have to spend your time making saws, not enjoying yourself sharpening them :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
LOL. But I'd rather make the saws!

I had a local galoot here today for about 4-5 hours learning to sharpen--but most of the time was spent talking. It was a fun way to spend part of the day.

After the 3rd tooth he really had it down pretty well. After that it was really just the mundane, except when he started the other side. Then, it was a couple more teeth and learning to pay closer attention to the way the teeth were being shaped.

The saw cut great, he was happy. More importantly, he is set to simply sharpen as the need arises without the need to wait on a service. Self-sufficiency is a good thing.

Take care, Mike
hi mike, that's good, i wonder whether this starts a new look at the thread.

having now sorted my chisel sharpening and plane blade sharpening,
i am slowly looking at saw sharpening, and i wonder whether the problem people have with saws is that we often wait until they are too far gone, and need proper re-sharpening , but in fact it would be easier to just touch it up on a regular basis rather like we have learnt to hone our chisels, or touch up the secondary bevel.

seems to me that a regular light filing would be a better way to go than
proper re-sharpening. maybe that would stop people getting too scared, and also ensure that sawing by hand is much easier and more accurate.

all the best
paul :wink:
Hey Paul--best to you, too.

I agree. It is always best to avoid letting any edge tool get to the point of major work. I think in part it is because it can take so long to restore to the point of usability.

One suggestion is if one has a saw that is really bad is to joint it oneself, take it to a saw doctor and have them retooth it, but not sharpen it. It will still need sharpening, but their machine to sharpen won't mess it up. With a retoother, messing up the tooth line is difficult.

Then learning to sharpen is pretty straight forward and relatively easy. Make sure to specify whether cross cut or rip. They should do it for very little money.

Take care, Mike
engineer one":3lgjd3t0 said:
seems to me that a regular light filing would be a better way to go than
proper re-sharpening.

True. But a lot of us are buying (potentially) good saws at car boots, and we don't always have a lot of choice about the state of the teeth.

bugbear, as usual you are reinforcing my point, there seem to be two kinds of saws, the ones we use to work with, then the ones we buy in the hope that we can make a better saw by re-sharpening them, but i just question the economics.

i know i am being boring, but surely it is better to keep sharpened the saw you have become happy with, than buy new ones to learn the skill, and hope they are going to make it better. surely the aim is to make the woodworking easier and quicker???? :? :?: :?:

i just wonder whether by keeping your initial edge tools in tip top condition, then you make time to get better at basic care, thus you can find the time to re-make a saw to do the job better for you.

anyway what do i know????? :lol: :lol: :lol:

go for it
paul :wink:
There are two types of saw buying.

1. Buy new or refurbished secondhand at price X; just needs light resharpening as it gets used.

2. Buy old, unloved and uncared for high quality saws secondhand; needs total refurbishment, resharpening from basket-case status etc.

The saw buyer fitting description 2 doesn't necessarily have back-up saws of the sort described at 1; there are no decent teeth to look after until they first make them. I believe that was BB's point.

Cheers, Alf

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