Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sharpening Saws

  *E* and I spent the morning checking out a gooseneck trailer that was for sale down south of here.  It was a twenty footer and would have been just big enough for what we need.  Sadly, another guy showed up at the same time and made an offer without really even checking it out.  I wasn't willing to take a chance like that  so ended up missing out.  The trailer did end up being worth the asking price.  Oh well, we have a couple more months before the situation gets critical for the first round of the move to the farm.

  We had a couple of old oak pallets leaning up against the house so I decided to saw them up before the home owners association started pulling their Nazi garbage.  I was originally going to do it with the Sawzall but got the bright idea to do it with my big crosscut saw.  I had cut a few pressure treated 4x4s last summer but had never tried it out on hardwood.

I got it in my head last summer that it would be a neat old-timey skill to learn how to sharpen saws.  For information sources, I used www.vintagesaws.com and a US  Forest Service manual.  The first one was better for smaller saws while the second was better for the big crosscut saws like the one shown above.  I spent around $15 for a saw vise, a jointer, a nice file, and a saw set (mostly from ebay, I'm an addict) and set to work on one of my smaller 12 TPI crosscuts.  The saw wasn't very dull to start with so it was really easy too sharpen it up.  I ended up putting too much set in the teeth but otherwise, it came out really nice.  My next try was the big crosscut.  I bought it off of, you guessed it, ebay for less than $10 with shipping.  I wish that I had taken a picture as a "before" shot.  It was a REAL wreck but I just wanted something to mess with and practice a restoration on.  The handle was cracked in two so I ended up gluing some dowels into it.  It took me days to get the rust off the blade with fine grit wet/dry sand paper.  The saw had seen some hard use in the past and whoever had sharpened it last did it by eye and obviously never jointed it.  Jointing is the term for filing all the teeth level before you even start to sharpen the saw.  It doesn't do much good if some of the teeth are taller than others.  It took a lot of work to undo most of the damage but strangely I found it very peaceful and relaxing doing the repetitive file strokes on each tooth.
  How did she go on the oak pallets? Well, it cut just fine but about halfway through the thick pieces it would bind up really badly.  I took it down to my shop and threw a little bit more set into the teeth and the saw cut like a dream.  Set is the term for how far the alternating teeth bend outward from each other.

In the end, we got a nice pile of oak pallet wood to burn in the firepit...maybe this weekend if the weather holds.

  We had a small farming mishap in our living room this morning.  It was the dreaded tractor rollover!

*E* was sitting on his tractor and I guess he lost track of what was going on and over he went.  He's pretty good at not crying when he falls so it wasn't a big deal.  Hopefully he gets the tractor daredevil stunts out of his system before he's old enough to drive the big ones out at the farm!


  1. Thank you for visiting my blog, commenting and following me! I appreciate it so much. Love reading about the crosscut saws. I would love to see more photos of you cutting with it and the basics. My husband really needs to get one. I am checking out eBay right now. I guess I didn't think of buying one used. Thanks!

  2. Love the picture of the little man under the tractor. Boys and their toys.