Saw sharpening experiences

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  • #624782
    sanford
    Participant

    I wonder whether my experiences as a beginning saw sharpener are at all typical. I am interested in whether others who have more experience sharpening saws are as dissatisfied as I now am with the way at least some new-bought saws are sharpened. I spent a good bit of time practicing saw sharpening. AS I was nervous about taking a file to my expensive LV and LN joinery saws, I practiced on some old 5-7 ppi handsaws and then on a not very nice Disston backsaw from ebay, one with the nasty boxy handle. After many hours of work, much tooth grinding (my teeth, not the saws’), and many destroyed teeth (the saws’ teeth, not mine), I finally got some pretty decent results. I then turned with trepidation to my LN dovetail saw. I decided to go crazy and not just sharpen it, but reshape the teeth. I do not know what the original rake was, but it was not very aggressive. I reshaped them to the 90 degrees of a classic rip (with a progressive rake to ease starting). Though my job was hardly perfect – and I went back to fix things many times – I like the result. The dovetail saw cuts 10 to 15 times faster, as measured by the number of strokes I need to cut a dovetail, and with a pretty smooth cut as well. It makes me wonder why LN files their dovetails saws with so little rake. Oh, one added advantage of my reshaping the teeth is that my dovetails are far more accurate than they were with the original. I think that the original required so many strokes to complete the dove tail that there was just too much time to wander from the line, or twist the saw in the cut, or whatever. It now cuts so fast that as long as I start okay, I finish okay.

    I have had a similar, though less extreme, experience sharpening my LN cross cut carcass saw. Again, I reshaped the teeth pretty significantly – different rake and different fleam. It took a long time, and the job is far from perfect, but the saw cuts pretty smoothly, and very fast. And again, my cutting is far more accurate than with the original. Also, for some reason, the LN tended to bind a lot when cross cutting thicker material. That problem has improved tremendously.

    Finally, I bought a rather nice old Disston tenon saw from ebay. I reshaped the teeth, again going for the classic 90 degree rake. The end result is very good. Previously, I cut tenons with my LV tenon saw. My newly sharpened Disston is far superior. It probably cuts twenty times faster than my LV tenon saw, as measured by the number of strokes to cut a tenon. And again, it cuts much more accurately than my LV tenon saw.

    My trials and tribulations trying to sharpen saws were either disheartening or, depending on your point of view, fun. Did I mention I so butchered one practice saw that I had to file down the wretched stubs of mutilated teeth and recut them following directions Paul gave in one video? But the end result is in key ways far better than what came with these fairly expensive saws.

    #624918
    GfB
    Participant

    I kind of went the same path as you. Got some practice with older saws before going after my newer ones (Veritas). In only one case does one of my older saws tend to track left (still need to fix that) after resetting the teeth.

    My Veritas dovetail saw cut like butter when new. When it dulled enough, I sharpened, but forgot to add the 10deg rake (factory for that saw). I also used a medium file on it, which I think may be a mistake. It still cuts well, just not quite as smoothly.

    I also recently bought a Veritas rip tenon, and a rip carcass saw. Brand new, the tenon saw cuts great; clean and true. In contrast, the carcass saw cuts like crap. I’m not sure what to do about it.

    I guess, even in the high-end lines, quality control can be hit or miss at times.

    #624957
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    Send it back. You might have to be more specific than “ cuts like crap”

    #624964
    sanford
    Participant

    As Larry said, if it cuts too badly, maybe it should be sent back. But I have Lie Nielsen dovetail and crosscut carcass saws and I have veritas crosscut carcass and tenon saws. I sharpened both the Lie Nielsen saws myself. They cut much better than when new. The Veritas carcass saw is pretty good, but no better than the Lie Nielsen carcass saw I sharpened myself. The veritas tenon saw cuts very, very, very slowly and I much prefer the old disston tenon saw I sharpened myself. This at least seems to be a pattern. And it is an odd one. I am new to sharpening and have improved what are supposed to be decent saws. (Oh, don’t get me wrong, I like a lot about my Lie Nielsen and veritas saws, except the veritas tenon saw which besides cutting slowly, seems very awkward to me.)

    #625142
    GfB
    Participant

    Send it back. You might have to be more specific than “ cuts like crap”

    I’ll step back and say … I’m not sure if anything’s wrong with the saw itself. Maybe just my expectations compared to the other saws. Over the last couple weeks I’ve cut a bunch of small tenons with it, and either it is smoothing out (burrs, maybe?), or I’m just getting used to it.

    I bought it 800 miles away while on vacation. Not necessarily convenient for me to return it to the store, and it’s not so bad that I want to pay shipping. If I’m still not happy with it over the next while, I may try resharpening it and see how it goes.

    #625284
    Sven-Olof Jansson
    Participant

    Supposedly, both Lie-Nielsen and Veritas prioritise ease of starting over aggressiveness of the cut, which probably is a good thing for those who, like me, have problems with staying to the line when rip sawing.

    Compared with my old Pax saws, both my Veritas and LN ones do a quicker job, have narrower kerfs, and much less tear-out. The only exception is the Veritas rip tenon saw (9 tpi, 14° rake angle), which is arguably slower than my LN tenon saw (11 tpi). Otherwise, I’m very happy with them, though the LN cross-cut panel saw probably will need re-sharpening in the not too distant future. I will follow the line, and practise on a some less costly ones before taking my chances with the LN.

    I have a Pax rip hand saw with 4.5 tpi and 90°, which cuts very fast on the few occasions I succeed in starting the cut. Eventually I surrendered and had a southpaw version at 5.5 tpi, 4° rake angle(?), from Bad Axe Tool Works. It is just fab. So, perhaps rake angles are more important on saws with few teeth per inch?

    Sven-Olof Jansson
    London, UK; Boston, MA

    #631350
    Ronald Kowalewski
    Participant

    I was thinking of starting a thread about saw sharpening! I recently got to the POINT of stopping my work on two of the same projects , i did one, stopped and spent a quick two minutes touching up my saw. The difference in the same cut was stunning. ITs been a few years in this journey, but the growth in sensitivity of sharpness has been one of my favorite skills to cultivate.

    Protect the line.

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