I want to take my Dad's old handsaws (which I still use) and have them
sharpened, since I'm not smart enough to do it myself. The saws are 75 years
old and not been sharpened since Dad died, and I don't know if Dad sharpened
them himself, or had someone else do it. What should I look for, or how
should I find someone to do a good job? I just moved to Tennessee, so I
don't know anyone around here. Would I be better off doing it myself?
2 crosscut and a rip saw.
You should also be concerned with jointing the teeth to ensure they're
all at the same level (and quite a few other things).
A sharpening primer can be found at:
There is also jointing, which is filing the tops of the teeth
so that after you've sharpened them they will all be the same
height. You may be able to skip that once or twice but your
saw will get 'bumpier' each time.
For crosscut saws you have compound angles on the teeth.
The rake angle (which you also have on ripsaws), and the other
angle, I don't remember what it is. Either way you cut the
tooth with a single stroke of the file, held at the proper angle.
The hard part for me is getting the depth of the cut right.
Aside from the file, the most important tool is the jointer,
followed by the saw vise which is easy to improvise. A
jointer used for scrapers will work fine.
> I want to take my Dad's old handsaws (which I still use) and have them
> sharpened, since I'm not smart enough to do it myself. The saws are
> old and not been sharpened since Dad died, and I don't know if Dad
> them himself, or had someone else do it. What should I look for,
> should I find someone to do a good job? I just moved to Tennessee,
> don't know anyone around here. Would I be better off doing it myself?
> 2 crosscut and a rip saw.
Any Amish in the area?
If so, find an old one who does/did cut and sell logs.
If not, find an old timber man.
Either one will know somebody who can do the job.
I taught myself how to sharpen hand saws, and do a pretty good job of it, if
I do say so myself.
Had to mess up a few first though. If you go this route, go to an
antique/junque/old tool store and buy a few old ones for practice.
My problem is that after I got them sharpened (and cleaned up a little) I
liked them so much that I kept them.
Hoping for warmer weather in MN (Yeah right!)
Tom Law here in Maryland used to sharpen saws by mail order. I've
watched him work and recommend him highly. Here is some information:
However, I do not currently know how to contact him.
I seriously doubt you are not smart enough to sharpen them yourself :)
Check out you yellow pages; in my area, there's a listing for
"sharpening services" and another listing for "Saws: sharpening and
It is not difficult to learn to sharpen your own hand saws and the tool
investment is minimal; For just a touch-up sharpening all you need is
a taper file of the correct size for your saw's teeth and a vise. More
extensive sharpening or repair may require a flat mill file for
"jointing" the teeth and a saw set. There are addtional tools and
fixtures that make it easier, and they are commonly available on ebay
at reasonable prices. Just DAGS on saw sharpening and you should find
some pretty good instructions. You may want to purchase a yard-sale
Disston or 2 to practice on before attempting your Dad's saws.
No dumb questions, just dumb answers.
Larry Wasserman - Baltimore, Maryland - firstname.lastname@example.org
First of all, I'd be careful if you do have a service sharpen them.
Old saw have value (personal and $$) and they could get pinched. Make
sure the place is a good standing business.
The rip saw is probably the easiest to sharpen yourself as the teeth
are larger but that one needs the most set. Sharpening is not that
difficult but a good set can be a challenge. The crosscuts are a bit
more difficult. If you will be depending on them for clean cuts then
it is pretty difficult to do the job yourself.
Some of the guys above indicate that they can do a good job but I've
never been able to match what my service can do.
It is easy to improve a very dull saw. It takes a bit of
skill to do a really good job.
Typically you do not have to set the teeth every time
it is sharpened. Many saws have too much set in
them from the factory. After sharpening, try cutting
some scrap with it. If it cuts straight without binding,
no need to joint it.
You may not even have to joint it, though usually that
is a good idea.
Thanks Fred and all who responded. With all your responses, I think I can
get the saws up to snuff. I'll initially try to do it myself, if that
fails, I'll find somebody locally, then fine tune them myself.
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