Got a 2nd 12" backsaw; is a filing it for crosscuting worth it?

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    I bought a 2nd 12″ backsaw on Ebay (I’m not entirely sure why, but it only went for 35$). It’s marked “Sheffield Saw Works” which as I understand is a Atkins 2nd line. The new Sheffield saw is cut as a crosscut at 14PPI, my old saw (Keystone) I filed at 12PPI in a rip pattern. Something seems a little off with the way I filed my old 12PPI saw, so at some point I need to work on it. My thought was to file the new 14PPI saw in a rip pattern as Paul suggests (I figure rip filing would be the easiest for a saw with such small teeth). I guess my question would be, is it worth filing the old PPI saw in a crosscut pattern? Or with the smaller teeth, is there really just no need for bothering with a crosscut filing? In which case I would just sharpen it again and add it to my portable tool box and use the new one in the “shop”. Any thoughts? I know the best answer would be for me just to file one for rip and one for crosscut and decide for myself…. but filing in a rip pattern is less of a hassle.


    Bottom saw is the new one.

    Mark Armstrong

    I would have as a cross cut.
    It is nice having dedicated saws.
    I probably have a little more experience so dose not bother me to much either way.
    This is how I see it a cross cut will still do a rip cut all be it a little slower for obvious reasons it will be smoother across the grain. A rip saw will work across the grain all bit it will feel a little courser. Rip cut will be faster in a rip.
    If unsure about doing cross cut stick with rip cut but I would relax the rake a little just to help take the coarseness away a little. Just my preference?
    You may of looked at this before but it is helpful for reference how to sharpen saws.

    Dagenham, Essex, England

    Matt McGrane

    David, If you have a rip saw already, I would file as crosscut. I currently don’t have a crosscut backsaw but I hope to find one soon. I use Japanese (pull stroke) saws for cross cutting. I don’t think they are quite the same for following in the knife wall.

    I’ve seen Paul do things both ways – sometimes using the same saw for rip cutting tenon cheeks as for cross cutting tenon shoulders, and sometimes switching saws for the two tasks. It’d be nice to have the option.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016:

    John Purser

    I recently bought a Veritas dovetail saw filed 14tpi rip. The other day I was in the garage cutting stop cuts with a Veritas 16tpi back saw filed crosscut and ran an experiment. I cut one stopcut with the rip and then one with the crosscut alternating down the handle of the spatula. Then I looked to see if I could tell which cut had been cuts had been cut with each saw. All cuts were crosscuts in soft pine.

    Both saws tracked nearly the same for me with perhaps a slight edge going to the rip for straightness. I’ve been working on holding a line with a saw and I’ve been frustrated by a tendency to drift to the right (I’m left handed) using the crosscut saw but I’m getting better. I think I noticed less of this with the rip.

    However, just looking at the cuts I really couldn’t tell which cut came from which saw. They appeared to be equally as clean, no difference in kerf, and identical fuzz on the back side.

    There might have been a slight difference in feel while sawing but I’m not prepared to say that wasn’t either all in my head or due to the difference tpi count. There was a difference in the feel of the sawdust though.

    Up until now I really expected a bigger difference between the two patterns but I don’t see it in the wood. The result in hardwood might be different. I think I’ll chuck some oak in the vise and see.


    John Purser
    Hubert, NC

    Frank Joseph

    Hi John what you are doing is very good it’s a learning experience you can’t get from a book. As for cross versus rip I find no big difference with smaller teeth saws. I believe this is the point in one of Paul’s videos. But find your own answers.

    In South Jersey the good part of New Jersey, USA.

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