TYZACK Backsaw Heresy?

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bentontool

Retired... with no complaints!
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Greetings Brothers,

I have recently been in the process of restoring several of my older backsaws.

The one in question here is a generally nice but somewhat neglected TYZACK with a brass back (upper saw in image).

In the process of restoration, I dismantled it, cleaned it up, and reassembled it. As you can see, the saw plate was moderately pitted.

01 TWO SAWS dsc03710.jpg


In my experience, one can still produce a usable saw despite the pitting. Not ideal, but still cuts wood reasonably well. When I set the teeth, I follow it with some light stoning, which I believe, along with filing, removes any pitting from the cutting tips.

Sadly, when it came time to sharpening and re-setting the teeth, I found that many of the teeth were snapping at the base, despite only a moderate set.

I did a little research, and found that older saw plates sometimes undergo what is termed "crystallization" of the steel, which makes it brittle and prone to cracking.

So, I was left with little choice but to replace the saw plate.

I had on hand spring steel/shim stock in various thicknesses; 0.020 and 0.032 inches. The steel is somewhat hard, but responded to filing without too much difficulty. I used the latter, thicker steel, but will choose the thinner for most future saw plates.
The original saw plate was 0.027 inches thick. I reasoned that the thicker steel would be less prone to deformation on this unusually deep plate.

So, I traced and cut the new saw plate to match the old one, but left the entire depth of the spring steel (6 inches), having seen some saws with this type of exceptionally deep blade, and wondering if it would be useful/practical in the shop. We will see...

02 SAW PLATES dsc03723.jpg


03 DISMANTLED dsc03725.jpg


So, I assembled the saw, and cut new teeth using a "graph paper" technique I found recommended on YouTube by Bob Rozaieski ().
I pasted the graph paper on the the saw plate and filed the tooth gullets. When I do this again, I will still use the graph paper technique, but start with a fine-toothed hacksaw blade to form the tooth gullets as done by Paul Sellers ().

BTW, all manner of graph paper is to be found on the internet in downloadable *.pdf format. I found graph paper in 4, 8, 10, 12, and 16 TPI. I am sure that more choices are available.

04 GRAPH PAPER dsc03736.jpg


05 FILING TEETH dsc03746.jpg


Here, the coarse tooth gullets have been formed with a file:

05 TEETH CUT dsc03754.jpg


And finally, the teeth were formed and set to a 10 TPI crosscut pattern. I thought this might make a passable carcase saw.

I used a Veritas saw file guide for the first time in this project, but found the fleam protractor scale was off by about 5 degrees*. I contacted Veritas about it, but am still waiting to hear from them.
I also had trouble with the rake angles, and ended-up having to file the teeth five times until I got it right.
Has anyone else found this problem* with their Veritas saw filing guide?

01 SAW FILE GUIDE SEND dsc03699.jpg


Is it heretical to replace the saw plate? :)

06 TEETH FILED CROSSCUT dsc03765.jpg
 
Last edited:
Greetings Brothers,

I have recently been in the process of restoring several of my older backsaws.

The one in question here is a generally nice but somewhat neglected TYZACK with a brass back (upper saw in image).

In the process of restoration, I dismantled it, cleaned it up, and reassembled it. As you can see, the saw plate was moderately pitted.

View attachment 181597

In my experience, one can still produce a usable saw despite the pitting. Not ideal, but still cuts wood reasonably well. When I set the teeth, I follow it with some light stoning, which I believe, along with filing, removes any pitting from the cutting tips.

Sadly, when it came time to sharpening and re-setting the teeth, I found that many of the teeth were snapping at the base, despite only a moderate set.

I did a little research, and found that older saw plates sometimes undergo what is termed "crystallization" of the steel, which makes it brittle and prone to cracking.

So, I was left with little choice but to replace the saw plate.

I had on hand spring steel/shim stock in various thicknesses; 0.020 and 0.032 inches. The steel is somewhat hard, but responded to filing without too much difficulty. I used the latter, thicker steel, but will choose the thinner for most future saw plates.
The original saw plate was 0.027 inches thick. I reasoned that the thicker steel would be less prone to deformation on this unusually deep plate.

So, I traced and cut the new saw plate to match the old one, but left the entire depth of the spring steel (6 inches), having seen some saws with this type of exceptionally deep blade, and wondering if it would be useful/practical in the shop. We will see...

View attachment 181598

View attachment 181599

So, I assembled the saw, and cut new teeth using a "graph paper" technique I found recommended on YouTube by Bob Rozaieski ().
I pasted the graph paper on the the saw plate and filed the tooth gullets. When I do this again, I will still use the graph paper technique, but start with a fine-toothed hacksaw blade to form the tooth gullets as done by Paul Sellers ().

BTW, all manner of graph paper is to be found on the internet in downloadable *.pdf format. I found graph paper in 4, 8, 10, 12, and 16 TPI. I am sure that more choices are available.

View attachment 181600

View attachment 181601

Here, the coarse tooth gullets have been formed with a file:

View attachment 181602

And finally, the teeth were formed and set to a 10 TPI crosscut pattern. I thought this might make a passable carcase saw.

I used a Veritas saw file guide for the first time in this project, but found the fleam protractor scale was off by about 5 degrees*. I contacted Veritas about it, but am still waiting to hear from them.
I also had trouble with the rake angles, and ended-up having to file the teeth five times until I got it right.
Has anyone else found this problem* with their Veritas saw filing guide?

View attachment 181605

Is it heretical to replace the saw plate? :)

View attachment 181603

Nice job. No problem replacing the blade in my opinion. I agree about the pitting. For a saw it would have to be really bad to seriously impact it use.
 
Greetings Brothers,

I have recently been in the process of restoring several of my older backsaws.

The one in question here is a generally nice but somewhat neglected TYZACK with a brass back (upper saw in image).

In the process of restoration, I dismantled it, cleaned it up, and reassembled it. As you can see, the saw plate was moderately pitted.

View attachment 181597

In my experience, one can still produce a usable saw despite the pitting. Not ideal, but still cuts wood reasonably well. When I set the teeth, I follow it with some light stoning, which I believe, along with filing, removes any pitting from the cutting tips.

Sadly, when it came time to sharpening and re-setting the teeth, I found that many of the teeth were snapping at the base, despite only a moderate set.

I did a little research, and found that older saw plates sometimes undergo what is termed "crystallization" of the steel, which makes it brittle and prone to cracking.

So, I was left with little choice but to replace the saw plate.

I had on hand spring steel/shim stock in various thicknesses; 0.020 and 0.032 inches. The steel is somewhat hard, but responded to filing without too much difficulty. I used the latter, thicker steel, but will choose the thinner for most future saw plates.
The original saw plate was 0.027 inches thick. I reasoned that the thicker steel would be less prone to deformation on this unusually deep plate.

So, I traced and cut the new saw plate to match the old one, but left the entire depth of the spring steel (6 inches), having seen some saws with this type of exceptionally deep blade, and wondering if it would be useful/practical in the shop. We will see...

View attachment 181598

View attachment 181599

So, I assembled the saw, and cut new teeth using a "graph paper" technique I found recommended on YouTube by Bob Rozaieski ().
I pasted the graph paper on the the saw plate and filed the tooth gullets. When I do this again, I will still use the graph paper technique, but start with a fine-toothed hacksaw blade to form the tooth gullets as done by Paul Sellers ().

BTW, all manner of graph paper is to be found on the internet in downloadable *.pdf format. I found graph paper in 4, 8, 10, 12, and 16 TPI. I am sure that more choices are available.

View attachment 181600

View attachment 181601

Here, the coarse tooth gullets have been formed with a file:

View attachment 181602

And finally, the teeth were formed and set to a 10 TPI crosscut pattern. I thought this might make a passable carcase saw.

I used a Veritas saw file guide for the first time in this project, but found the fleam protractor scale was off by about 5 degrees*. I contacted Veritas about it, but am still waiting to hear from them.
I also had trouble with the rake angles, and ended-up having to file the teeth five times until I got it right.
Has anyone else found this problem* with their Veritas saw filing guide?

View attachment 181605

Is it heretical to replace the saw plate? :)

View attachment 181603

"heretical" ? Not at all. But just what is that depth of plate useful for ? Tenon saws are usually plated quite narrow: ±21/2" to 3", as very few tenons are deeper than that. And the narrower plate gives better control in roll, and therefore a straighter cut. You could have got TWO plates out of that steel sheet . . . .

It's a Tyzack & Turner 13B - their standard good quality brass-bsck. Probably from between 1890 [when the 13B was introduced] and 1915 - when hooks on backsaw totes faded out. Plate was typically 25 gauge: 0.50 to 0.53mm; 0.020" to 0.021" for 12" length.
 
Last edited:
"heretical" ? Not at all. But just what is that depth of plate useful for ? Tenon saws are usually plated quite narrow: ±21/2" to 3", as very few tenons are deeper than that. And the narrower plate gives better control in roll, and therefore a straighter cut. You could have got TWO plates out of that steel sheet . . . .

It's a Tyzack & Turner 13B - their standard good quality brass-bsck. Probably from between 1890 [when the 13B was introduced] and 1915 - when hooks on backsaw totes faded out. Plate was typically 25 gauge: 0.50 to 0.53mm; 0.020" to 0.021" for 12" length.
Hello Spanner48,

Thank you for the data on my saw. It is very much appreciated. I know little of these saws and love to learn about the specs! I measured the saw plate at various locations with a good pair of dial calipers and found it to be consistently 0.027 inches thick (I have some machine-shop experience). An oddball plate perhaps?

Is the "crystallization" of the metal a common problem in your experience? I was rather distressed when setting the teeth: set, set, set, snap... set, set, set, snap... set, set, set, snap...

I have no other saws with such a deep plate, so it will be an experiment, so to speak. I love most of my other saws with a narrower plate, and have found this one to be a bit heavy and clumsy so far. We will see. I can always cut it in half later on (good tip), now that I have some experience with cutting new teeth.
On the other hand, I have read that some claim that a deeper saw plate gives you more control on pitch of the cut, perhaps akin to rifle sights: the further away the front sight is from the rear, the more accuracy one gets from the sights. I have found no difference so far...

I will try this saw out on some sliding dovetail dados in the near future. That is where I though I might get some practical use from it, if indeed the added depth helps one "sight" the angles better. Additionally, it may come in handy when I build my new bench, as I will need to to cut some rather longer tenons, although, a longer saw may be more useful for that. Also, I may have to change the teeth to rip-pattern.

P.S. I have a large amount of the 0.032 inch "blue" shim stock on hand, and less of the 0.020 inch material. It is often seen for sale on eBay in large rolls, that unroll into absolutely straight material (I was amazed!). I may stock-up on other thicknesses in the future, now that I know it makes good saw plates.
 
Last edited:
Greetings Brothers,

I have recently been in the process of restoring several of my older backsaws.

The one in question here is a generally nice but somewhat neglected TYZACK with a brass back (upper saw in image).

In the process of restoration, I dismantled it, cleaned it up, and reassembled it. As you can see, the saw plate was moderately pitted.

View attachment 181597

In my experience, one can still produce a usable saw despite the pitting. Not ideal, but still cuts wood reasonably well. When I set the teeth, I follow it with some light stoning, which I believe, along with filing, removes any pitting from the cutting tips.

Sadly, when it came time to sharpening and re-setting the teeth, I found that many of the teeth were snapping at the base, despite only a moderate set.

I did a little research, and found that older saw plates sometimes undergo what is termed "crystallization" of the steel, which makes it brittle and prone to cracking.

So, I was left with little choice but to replace the saw plate.

I had on hand spring steel/shim stock in various thicknesses; 0.020 and 0.032 inches. The steel is somewhat hard, but responded to filing without too much difficulty. I used the latter, thicker steel, but will choose the thinner for most future saw plates.
The original saw plate was 0.027 inches thick. I reasoned that the thicker steel would be less prone to deformation on this unusually deep plate.

So, I traced and cut the new saw plate to match the old one, but left the entire depth of the spring steel (6 inches), having seen some saws with this type of exceptionally deep blade, and wondering if it would be useful/practical in the shop. We will see...

View attachment 181598

View attachment 181599

So, I assembled the saw, and cut new teeth using a "graph paper" technique I found recommended on YouTube by Bob Rozaieski ().
I pasted the graph paper on the the saw plate and filed the tooth gullets. When I do this again, I will still use the graph paper technique, but start with a fine-toothed hacksaw blade to form the tooth gullets as done by Paul Sellers ().

BTW, all manner of graph paper is to be found on the internet in downloadable *.pdf format. I found graph paper in 4, 8, 10, 12, and 16 TPI. I am sure that more choices are available.

View attachment 181600

View attachment 181601

Here, the coarse tooth gullets have been formed with a file:

View attachment 181602

And finally, the teeth were formed and set to a 10 TPI crosscut pattern. I thought this might make a passable carcase saw.

I used a Veritas saw file guide for the first time in this project, but found the fleam protractor scale was off by about 5 degrees*. I contacted Veritas about it, but am still waiting to hear from them.
I also had trouble with the rake angles, and ended-up having to file the teeth five times until I got it right.
Has anyone else found this problem* with their Veritas saw filing guide?

View attachment 181605

Is it heretical to replace the saw plate? :)

View attachment 181603

Wow, I don't know whether your looking at another post, one I put up in the hand tool sector, regarding replacement blades for hand mitre saw blades, but if you were interested there's a whole UK market for someone like yourself and your ability to make saws from this steel. Have a look at my post titled - Hand Mitre Saw Blades-
 
Wow, I don't know whether your looking at another post, one I put up in the hand tool sector, regarding replacement blades for hand mitre saw blades, but if you were interested there's a whole UK market for someone like yourself and your ability to make saws from this steel. Have a look at my post titled - Hand Mitre Saw Blades-
Hello Bosshogg16,
I just read your post, but I am not sure what you are looking for. In any case, I am in the USA, so again, the postage would probably be prohibitive. If you can post a pic of what you need, we might be able to work something out, especially of you were willing to cut the teeth yourself (as I outlined above). I could probably supply the saw plates you require made to order in my machine shop, but any machine shop can do the same on your side of the pond, at no doubt less expense.
Best wishes, Alex Acle.
P.S. The blades I made were from the steel linked below or a similar product:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/2828025636...-976d-5a90423f7e42|iid:1|vlpname:vlp_homepage
 
Hello Bosshogg16,
I just read your post, but I am not sure what you are looking for. In any case, I am in the USA, so again, the postage would probably be prohibitive. If you can post a pic of what you need, we might be able to work something out, especially of you were willing to cut the teeth yourself (as I outlined above). I could probably supply the saw plates you require made to order in my machine shop, but any machine shop can do the same on your side of the pond, at no doubt less expense.
Best wishes, Alex Acle.
P.S. The blades I made were from the steel linked below or a similar product:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/282802563657?_trkparms=amclksrc=ITM&aid=777008&algo=PERSONAL.TOPIC&ao=1&asc=20240131095853&meid=0b9f4bff0eea45c7969f0536b42a8f77&pid=101949&rk=1&rkt=1&itm=282802563657&pmt=0&noa=1&pg=4375194&algv=RecentlyViewedItemsV2&_trksid=p4375194.c101949.m162918&_trkparms=parentrq:a6b9647b18f0a56160e3163cffff5f0c|pageci:bd725302-1932-11ef-976d-5a90423f7e42|iid:1|vlpname:vlp_homepage
That's ideal - and good value, by UK standards.

Does it unroll straight? Or is there some residual curve left in it? And does it specify the temper? Some spring steel stock comes soft, and needs quenching and tempering to achieve the springiness needed . . .
 
That's ideal - and good value, by UK standards.

Does it unroll straight? Or is there some residual curve left in it? And does it specify the temper? Some spring steel stock comes soft, and needs quenching and tempering to achieve the springiness needed . . .
Hello Bosshogg16,
I just read your post, but I am not sure what you are looking for. In any case, I am in the USA, so again, the postage would probably be prohibitive. If you can post a pic of what you need, we might be able to work something out, especially of you were willing to cut the teeth yourself (as I outlined above). I could probably supply the saw plates you require made to order in my machine shop, but any machine shop can do the same on your side of the pond, at no doubt less expense.
Best wishes, Alex Acle.
P.S. The blades I made were from the steel linked below or a similar product:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/282802563657?_trkparms=amclksrc=ITM&aid=777008&algo=PERSONAL.TOPIC&ao=1&asc=20240131095853&meid=0b9f4bff0eea45c7969f0536b42a8f77&pid=101949&rk=1&rkt=1&itm=282802563657&pmt=0&noa=1&pg=4375194&algv=RecentlyViewedItemsV2&_trksid=p4375194.c101949.m162918&_trkparms=parentrq:a6b9647b18f0a56160e3163cffff5f0c|pageci:bd725302-1932-11ef-976d-5a90423f7e42|iid:1|vlpname:vlp_homepage
Thanks for the reply Alex, I of course, wrongly, assumed this being a UK named site, you were British, my mistake. Your link is very interesting, but somehow posting the description on the Ebay UK site doesn't turn up anything quite like yours. Now that's got me thinking, spring steel used for making bandsaws, these must come in all sort of widths, for industrial blades, etc. and would be ideal in this scenario, don't you think?
Cutting the teeth myself is a no no, you see I've had a stroke which leaves me somewhat limited in energy, and would probably floor me if I tried. However there's a golden opportunity for some enterprising setup, to buy in the wide rolls required, approx 1 3/4", set up a Japanese/Lance tooth cutting profile, at the correct ppi (tpi), cut to the correct sizes and supp,ly for Nobex, Stanley, Draper et al, saw frames, and poss for frame saws too.
 
That's ideal - and good value, by UK standards.

Does it unroll straight? Or is there some residual curve left in it? And does it specify the temper? Some spring steel stock comes soft, and needs quenching and tempering to achieve the springiness needed . . .
I'm wondering if you work in this sector, i.e. making saw blades?
 
I'm wondering if you work in this sector, i.e. making saw blades?
Not making.

But I restore and renovate historically interesting classic English saws: before 1900 and back to 1770. Particularly from the leaders and innovators of the Sheffield industry. Most - even quite worn or rusty ones - can be brought back to usable condition, with care and work. But some backsaw plates are just so corroded as to be unsalvageable. For those, the only solution is a replacement plate.

But it's quite along job: cutting to fit, tempering and drilling for the sawscrews, and particularly marking out, cutting and setting the new toothline.

You can buy new plates from James Flinn in Sheffield. They are - I believe - good quality; but they're not cheap; and even when toothed, the teeth are cut, but not set.
 
Hello Spanner48,

Thank you for the data on my saw. It is very much appreciated. I know little of these saws and love to learn about the specs! I measured the saw plate at various locations with a good pair of dial calipers and found it to be consistently 0.027 inches thick (I have some machine-shop experience). An oddball plate perhaps?

Is the "crystallization" of the metal a common problem in your experience? I was rather distressed when setting the teeth: set, set, set, snap... set, set, set, snap... set, set, set, snap...

I have no other saws with such a deep plate, so it will be an experiment, so to speak. I love most of my other saws with a narrower plate, and have found this one to be a bit heavy and clumsy so far. We will see. I can always cut it in half later on (good tip), now that I have some experience with cutting new teeth.
On the other hand, I have read that some claim that a deeper saw plate gives you more control on pitch of the cut, perhaps akin to rifle sights: the further away the from sight is from the rear, the more accuracy one gets from the sights. I have found no difference so far...

I will try this saw out on some sliding dovetail dados in the near future. That is where I though I might get some practical use from it, if indeed the added depth helps one "sight" the angles better. Additionally, it may come in handy when I build my new bench, as I will need to to cut some rather longer tenons, although, a longer saw may be more useful for that. Also, I may have to change the teeth to rip-pattern.

P.S. I have a large amount of the 0.032 inch "blue" shim stock on hand, and less of the 0.020 inch material. It is often seen for sale on eBay in large rolls, that unroll into absolutely straight material (I was amazed!). I may stock-up on other thicknesses in the future, now that I know it makes good saw plates.
Well, keep trying with the deep plate, and see if things get better with time and experience. You might just discover an interesting niche for very deep plates.

As for 'crystallisation': I've heard about it, but can't be sure whether it exists or not. But it is fairly clear that some of the Sheffield plates during the 19th century were tempered extremely hard. So it may have been possible to hammer-set them at the works [Setters were very highly skilled, and could keep up a rythm of 2 teeth per second or more], but not possible to reset them with setting pliers.

That's because hammer-setting spreads the bend out from the root to the tip of the tooth; whereas plier setting concentrates the strain near the root – whence tooth breakages.

And, in case you ask: I can't hammer-set!
 
...

Sadly, when it came time to sharpening and re-setting the teeth, I found that many of the teeth were snapping at the base, despite only a moderate set......
I had similar tooth snapping prob when I first tried to sharpen an old blade. After a bit of trial and error I found that the setting of the tooth extended too near to the gullet and was snapping the odd one off. Fiddling with the Eclipse setter fixed it by making sure that only the top half (approx) of the tooth got bent, well away from the bottom of the gullet.
Never snapped another one!
Steel seems different in old some old saws - easier to file, keep an edge well, but also more brittle and bends differently.
 
Not making.

But I restore and renovate historically interesting classic English saws: before 1900 and back to 1770. Particularly from the leaders and innovators of the Sheffield industry. Most - even quite worn or rusty ones - can be brought back to usable condition, with care and work. But some backsaw plates are just so corroded as to be unsalvageable. For those, the only solution is a replacement plate.

But it's quite along job: cutting to fit, tempering and drilling for the sawscrews, and particularly marking out, cutting and setting the new toothline.

You can buy new plates from James Flinn in Sheffield. They are - I believe - good quality; but they're not cheap; and even when toothed, the teeth are cut, but not set.
Spanner48, thanks for explaining, I only asked re a possible business opportunity I can foresee coming out of this.
Re what your doing, I suppose I don't need to tell/remind you about engineering blue, as all the work involved would respond to it's use, if that is you can get a whole saw plate on dismantling the old one?
 
That's ideal - and good value, by UK standards.

Does it unroll straight? Or is there some residual curve left in it? And does it specify the temper? Some spring steel stock comes soft, and needs quenching and tempering to achieve the springiness needed . . .
Hello Spanner48 and Bosshog16,
The four coils of 6 inch tempered shim stock/spring steel have have unrolled dead straight. I was amazed when I found this property of the spring steel to stay straight. The temper is good for saw plates, in my limited experience. Look for something like this below, but I think all of the "blue" tempered shim stock/spring steel is similar or the same. It typically comes in 6 inch wide rolls or 6 by 24 inch long flat stock in a box, and in various thicknesses. This particular company below specifies the hardness, but not all do. Nevertheless, even the ones that do not are good in this application... as long as it is "tempered". The one below is made of good 1095 steel, tempered to Rockwell C 48 to 51 hardness.
The spring steel used for making bandsaw blades is probably similar. I have made all manner of small tools from used and new bandsaw blades/blade stock. It works well.
I am learning a lot from all of you. Thank you.

BLUE TEMPERED SHIM STOCK A.JPG


BLUE TEMPERED SHIM STOCK B.JPG
 
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I had similar tooth snapping prob when I first tried to sharpen an old blade. After a bit of trial and error I found that the setting of the tooth extended too near to the gullet and was snapping the odd one off. Fiddling with the Eclipse setter fixed it by making sure that only the top half (approx) of the tooth got bent, well away from the bottom of the gullet.
Never snapped another one!
Steel seems different in old some old saws - easier to file, keep an edge well, but also more brittle and bends differently.
Hello Jacob,
Thanks for your reply. I am curious to know how you adjusted the setter to achieve the desired results. Did you reduce the amount of set? I tried simply reducing the set but they still snapped. Did you have to modify the anvil on the setter?
 

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