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Setting crosscut saw

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Ralph

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Hi.

I'm really struggling here. I've got one of those spear and Jackson vintage crosscut saws. It's about 36 inches long and its a great american tooth pattern. I've cleaned all the rust off it and sharpened it. Problem is, it's got absolutely no set. Nothing at all. I've tried hammering them over a hand anvil and they won't budge. So far the only thing I managed to do is break 4 of the tips off. I'm hitting them so hard it was inevitable. Is the saw supposed to have set on it? Why would it not have any in the first place? And why is it so hard to bend them?

Please give me some advice before I wish I'd spent time and money on a bloody chainsaw instead!

Thanks a lot.
 

Cheshirechappie

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Obtain a copy of 'Keeping the Cutting Edge: Setting and Sharpening Hand and Power Saws' by Harold H. Payson. (I think Amazon can provide.) It's not a thick book, but has good, solid information and diagrams for sharpening and setting the type of crosscut saw you refer to. The setting involves a small hammer and a small hand-held anvil.
 

Sheffield Tony

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You can watch how Thomas Flinn make, sharpen and set their crosscut saws on "How it''s made" here. He seems to put set onto only the tip of each tooth, perhaps you are trying to bend it too far up ? I am sure that the carefully aimed and weighted hammer taps are not nearly as easy as the chap in the video makes it look !

Just don't watch for too long because it all turns to haggis !
 

Ralph

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Yes, Ive seen that video. And I'm doing what he does but they don't move! It's frustrating to say the least.
 

Sheffield Tony

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Hmm. Dunno why it would be that hard/brittle. I can't imagine these saws were ever made with hardpoint teeth !
 

Cheshirechappie

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A couple of things that may or may not help. First is that the new saws tend to be made of a lower carbon grade of spring steel than the old ones, so the teeth on the newer saws bend more easily. Second is that you probably don't need much set; about half the sawplate thickness as an absolute maximum, or you'll end up with a 'wedge' of uncut wood between the alternately set teeth clogging the saw (unless it's got 'raker' teeth). Third is to make sure you're setting them the same way that they've been set before; sawteeth really don't like being bent one way, then the other. With the rust cleaned off, it should be possible to see which side of the teeth are leaning towards the centre of the blade's thickness, and which are flush with the blade surface, thus showing which way they were previously set.

If the saw has sharpened up OK, it might be worth testing it unset and see how it cuts. If the blade has appreciable taper grind on it, it may have enough clearance unset (though in wet wood, that's unlikely). If it binds in the cut, add a very small amount of set just at the tips of the teeth, and try again. Add a bit more set if it still binds - but the less set, the less the kerf width, so the less work you'll have to do when sawing.
 

Ralph

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Well, I tried it in some green ash and it was hopeless. Cut about half and inch and just stuck there. Think I'll try just a tiny bit of set. See if I can make then bend just a little. Probably end up with more snapped teeth.
 

pedder

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Hi Ralph,

there is no reason why a saw set like this:


shouldn't work.

I had luck anealing oderhardened sawblades with a heat gun till the went blue. Can it be filed?

Cheers Pedder
 

Ralph

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I think I'll try that saw setting tool. I was told they wouldnt work on big saws, but it's worth a try.
The teeth file fine. They just dont like being bent.
 

JohnSanders

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Hi Ralph!
I would recommend using a proprietary setting tool. The best type has to be squeezed to make a little plunger nudge the teeth over a pre-set amount onto a small adjustable anvil. Hammer and tap, as a technique, will work if you have a machined bevel on your steel plate and your saw is held totally rigid, but its easy to make mistakes. If the saw can move about, you'll hammer too close to the root of the tooth and just snap it off. Try the proper tool, and if that, with all the precise controllability, still snaps teeth, well I just can't help you :) John
 

Ralph

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Thanks guys. I'm getting a saw setting tool today. I'll let you know how it goes.
Thanks again.
 

Ralph

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Well, I tried two saw sets. One like the one in the picture above, (the pliers type) and one eclipse #77. The one pictured ended up bent and unusable. The eclipse wouldn't even scratch the surface. So I went back to the hammer. Whacked it as hard as I could. Gotta tiny bit of set. Didn't even bother getting it even on each side. I just settled for any bit of bend. Only snapped two more teeth. Sheesh. Tried it on some logs and to my surprise, it cut very well. I think for a first time effort on a cheap (ish) saw it was fine. Cut some firewood and recouped a little towards the cost of the saw. Few more loads and it'll owe me nothing. Note to self though. The internet makes setting look so easy.

Thanks all for such assistance.
 

Cheshirechappie

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Sounds like a reasonably satisfactory outcome, even if it did take a bit of persistence!

One good piece of news is that when it becomes dull enough to need sharpening again, you should be able to get one or two filings out of it without needing to reset it. The other bit of good news is that now you've cracked the technique, it should be less hassle next time you do need to reset.

By the way, the smaller longsaws (carpenters and cabinetmakers) saws are much easier to set. The Eclipse 77 will make short work of them with little effort. Worth remembering that saws for dry wood usually need less set than saws for wet wood, so just easing the tooth tips about 1/4 of sawblade thickness is often enough for that type of saw - a much more delicate process than with the long crosscut!
 
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