Hammer Saw Set Use

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    Austin Conner

    I recently acquired a hammer style saw set. Does anyone have experience using these?

    I’m curious how one adjusts these properly and I’m also interested in any tips others may have.

    Larry Geib

    I have a hammer set of a somewhat different design, but I think the essentials of how to adjust them are pretty much the same. (See picture below)

    Mount the set on a hearty hardwood Block you can set on your bench or hold in the Vise. I use mine over a bench leg that I can secure with bench dogs, but any secure fastening method works. Some people screw the block to a bench, or just mount the set on the bench top. You can just rest the block on the bench, but it will move around a bit, slowing you down. It looks like you have to make a mortise in the block as I had to. Some sets were intended to be used in the field and driven into tree stumps. If you are lucky, you might get away with just drilling a correctly sized hole in the block or your bench.

    A one time adjustment might be to make the hammer come to a finer point if you intend to use it on fine saws. The hammer is quite hard, so a dremel,or diamond paddle , or removing the hammer and going to a grinder will have to be done. Larger teeth will require no work on the hammer.

    The “wings” on either side of the hammer are adjusted so the bend on the tooth happens about a third of the way up the tooth from its root. I’ve been told by folks with experience with these things that trying to bend the tooth at its root invites stress fractures and broken teeth. Since one usually sets teeth only every three or four sharpenings you don’t come close to stressing a tooth more than once if you move up the tooth. This is more important with antique saws that get more brittle as they age.

    My set is quite fiddley to adjust the wings, especially for fine tooth saws, so I have a compromise setting for 8 and 10 tooth handsaws and panel saws, and use my hand set for fine saws, which have thinner plates and are smaller. I notice folks who do it for a living have different sets for each tooth size so they don’t have to constantly readjust the sets.

    The screw is set up or down depending on how much set you want in the tooth when you rest the saw plate on the screw. Adjust the screw down for more set. It’s best if the adjustment is a bit stiff so it doesn’t change while you are using it. If it’s loose you can put something gummy on the screw or use blue lock tight ( the paste, not the liquid, which does allow adjustment)

    The two extra screws I show in my picture are alternative rests for the saw plate used either with the single screw on the set or by themselves. They should go in holes that are loosely tapped so you can remove them quickly if they get in the way of the saw handle, or to adjust amount of set quickly.
    . The extra screws make balancing the saw plate on the set easier.

    Hope that helps.

    Austin Conner

    This is perfect Larry, thank you.

    I was hoping you might show up to save the day when I posted my question.

    Larry Geib

    Yours is a nice set. Nice and simple. Is there a name on it?

    A couple of other things. You might want to grind off the mushroom where you strike the hammer. Flying shards are no fun to pick out of your carcase.

    Wear safety glasses and I’d use something like a brass hammer or one of these nylon hammers Paul uses. A wood mallet is probably too soft and steel too hard..

    I’ m still trying to dig up one of these.

    Austin Conner

    Yes, this one is marked S. Smith and Son pat’d 1876. Thanks for the pointer on the mushrooming.

    That treadle is pretty slick. I imagine it would be hard to come by. Good luck digging one up in the future.

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