Setting saws – Somax saw sets

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  • #553702

    On setting the Disston D8, D23 and #4: for those of you who have the Somax saw sets, what setting on the dial do you use?

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  • #553717
    Dave Ring


    I don’t have a Somax saw set but those who do will need to know how many points per inch your saws have. (Most older saws will have the original number of points per inch stamped on the blade on the left side below the handle.) On the No.4 you will have to count the PPI (probably 12 or 14)


    • This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by Dave Ring.
    Larry Geib


    I don’t have Somax sets( mine are old Stanley’s) but I’ll give you my experience.

    Tough question to answer. First off, you haven’t given enough information on the saws(plate thickness, TPI,type of wood, etc), or on which Somax set you have.

    Secondly, you haven’t said WHICH D8 or D23 Or #4 you have. The variation is huge. I have D8’s that are 4.5 PPI (3.5 TPI) and ones that are 12 PPI. My number fours range from 16” – 10 TPI to 8” saw that has 15 TPI. The thickness of saw plates for the same D8 can vary by 20% over 50 years of production. Same with number 4’s.
    If there is a number stamped in the heel of your Disston, it’s in PPI, not TPI.
    They all require different sets.
    It’s a bit like asking which hole to use for your belt.
    Here is a site that gives you a start:

    But ignore the numbers for anything but repeatability for each saw you own. Try a minimal set. If your saw binds, try a little more. My tendency is towards minimal set, and even then I don’t set the saw every time I sharpen, only when I test it and it binds.

    If you are dimensioning wet wood, obviously go for more set.

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by Larry Geib.
    • This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by Larry Geib.
    Eric Chatham


    I bought both sizes a while back and ive used both restoring 3 back saws i got at a flea market. I found that on the minimum setting, both sawsets gave me to much set, and i had to use the hammer in the vice method Paul showed to get it out. On the last one i did i didn’t give it a full squeeze, just enough to see the tooth move (i have good vision) and it wasn’t to bad, still gave it a light tap with a hammer all the way down. One of these saws i filed the teeth completely off and made a 12 tpi saw into a 14 tpi.

    Matt Tucker


    That’s the same thing I’ve noticed with mine Eric, at the smallest setting it gives a little too much set for my dovetail saws. I’ve heard they anvils are a little soft and tend to move some when squeezed too hard.

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