I recently acquired a vintage dovetail saw that’s about 12 tpi. It has nice even teeth but they are sharpened in a crosscut pattern. I’d like to change that to a rip pattern, but I’m not sure how to do that. Should I grind the teeth almost all the way down so that just the gullets remain? Or should I just sharpen as normal and let the teeth take shape over the course of a few sharpenings?
12 tpi is quite coarse for dovetails. You could recut at 16 if it turns out to be an issue. Handy in imperial: 1/16” spacings obvs.
If so I recommend the vallorbe/grobet needle files, a suggestion I got from Blackburn Tools’ website, theyre excelllent. Havent used them to retooth, but I find them a fair bit better than Bahco 4” xx slims for my dovetail saws.
Saw files are expensive and retoothing saws will eat them up quickly.
In this case, since the teeth are nice and even already, I’d recommend living with the current 12 TPI spacing. Joint the teeth if necessary. File the teeth straight across to eliminate fleam. Set the teeth if they need it. (They probably won’t.) If you need the saw to cut more agressively you can go back and refile the teeth with less rake.
Then if you aren’t satisfied you can do something more radical: either retoothing or simply buying a saw with more TPI.