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    J Marshall

    Guys & Paul( if you’re looking in 🙂 ),
    Recently bought a S & J brass backed tenon saw 15tpi.
    Used it a few times so far.
    Problem I’m having is that it is very difficult to start a cut, and when it eventually gets going, frequently grabs mid stroke.
    Even with saw flat to wood it is very difficult to push forward.
    Suspect it is to do with the way teeth are cut, but I don’t know what to do.
    I have a saw file, but never used it yet.


    is it new or old if old probably needs a smooth and tune if new they may have missed the tune in the shop. the seamy be off or you may not be square to the wood with your stance
    thats a few things may be wrong

    J Marshall

    It’s a brand new saw, I think Paul may have mentioned it.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 5 months ago by J Marshall.

    I’ve not used a new S&J tenon saw, but what you describe is a common experience with a new Veritas saw if, no offense, you are still developing sawing skills. Start with a push instead of a pull using a light cut, unweighting the saw.

    J Marshall

    I was starting with a push stroke. Trouble is the teeth bite hard, and tear wood (softwood) even with light strokes.
    Maybe upload photo of teeth.


    For me I start most of my cuts with a fine tooth (22 tpi) saw for the first few strokes then change to another saw. While I can use the normal 12-16 tpi saws to start a cut, my skills are no where near Paul’s and I do not want to risk damage to the wood. I am sure this will improve with practice.


    This might help:

    I generally sharpen the first inch or so with a very relaxed rake, say 20 to 30 deg.
    This along with a very light touch helps in starting.
    Most new saws and even freshly sharpened ones seem to me to be pretty “grabby”.
    This may seem daunting now but in a very short while it will become natural.

    SW Pennsylvania

    Dionysios P

    I have the 12 inch 15ppi S&J tenon saw for more than a year now and it’s the saw I use most frequently for general work.

    This saw, when arrived, had some issues:

    a) The plate was slightly bent.
    b) The set was too much.
    c) The S&J stamp and the rust protection cover of lacquer (?) increased considerably the friction between the plate and the wood.
    d) The handle was dead ugly.

    The overset teeth made the saw very difficult to start a cut.
    The bent plate and the increased friction caused the saw to grab in the middle of a cut, despite the overset teeth.

    Since at that price, and even higher, range these issues are quite common (as I found looking around the internet) I kept the saw and corrected the issues.

    a) I have straightened the plate (look for the PS blog about straightening back saws).
    b) I have removed most of the set by tapping the saw plate between two hammers (thanks PS again).
    c) I have sanded down the plate to remove the stamp and the rust protection coating (white spirit didn’t work).
    d) I have filled the teeth for a rip cut, keeping the original angle between the teeth, so it’s not aggressive (my first attempt to sharpen a saw).
    d) I have reshaped the handle (my first attempt as well), removed the original finish and used BLO instead, and finally replaced the, eventually destroyed, rivets with brass nuts.

    Now the saw is easy to start, cuts straight and it can be used for cross or rip cuts with equal efficiency.

    Hence I will back the PS suggestion to use this as a saw kit, at this price you can practice your saw tuning skills and end up with an excellent saw.


    J Marshall

    Craig & Dionysios,
    That’s the saw I’ve got.
    Looks like I will be doing a bit of work to get it to cut like it should.
    The back is straight on mine, appears overset and probably teeth need filed ( see pic)
    Cheers guys.


    David Perrott

    If its over set, then you don’t have to worry about putting set on it, or even having a saw set for now. It being a new saw makes it much easier to sharpen. It should be easier then a beat up flea market saw.


    That set looks really heavy. I think it should be about 2-3tho on each side. That looks almost 35-40 degrees set from the pic.

    Ecky H


    please have a very close look at the teeth. On my S&J tenon saw the set is: one tooth left, one no set, one right, one no set, one left and so on – their “universal set”. Your saw seems to have the same kind of set.

    I reset the saw with a Somax 250 saw setting plier (blue handles) with the shallowest anvil setting to a “one tooth left, one tooth right” pattern. Fortunately none of the teeth broke off. After that I had to file the teeth, because the fleam of the original setting didn’t match the “pure” cross cut pattern I wanted. The last action was to straighten and adjust the set with a water stone, so that the saw now saws straight without binding somewhere.

    Hope that helps,


    Veni, vidi, serravi.

    MĂĽnster, Germany


    it’s way too heavily set,

    you need to remove the set and reset it using saw set pliers


    @151spokeshave if you decide it is too heavily set, look for one of Paul’s blogs in which he shows how to reduce the set with a hammer. If that works, it will save the work of re-setting. Also, again if it works, it is probably better than reducing the set by stoning, which will change the shape of the tooth.

    Can you saw into a piece of wood and show us a photo of the saw in the cut so that we can see how big the kerf is compared to the thickness of the plate?


    For too heavy set, a oeice of notebook paper and a machinist vise can be a simple fix. Since paper does not compress, folding the paper around the the teeth and clamping it in the vise reduces the set ti the thickness of the paper. The teeth cut through the paper thus retaining the set.

    Tuscloosa, Alabama
    Lung T'an Hu Huesh Kung-fu Woodshop

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