Reducing the set on my tenon saw – Part III (Sharpening)

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This post forms part of the “Reducing the set on my tennon saw” series.

Well the good news is that I think I cracked it this evening. I gave the saw a good deep jointing and took a looooong time filing every tooth very carefully, putting a little pressure on the required edge in an attempt to “move” the uneven teeth so as to equalise the pitch. I think I was largely successful too. Yay to me!

One point of note that really surprised me. After the initial sharpening, everything looked nice and even, the spacing and gullet depth. A huge improvement. I was a little flummoxed then to note that it wasn’t cutting as well as what I would have thought it should. In a moment of inspiration I got my magnifying loupe (actually a prism from an old pair of binoculars) and had a look at the teeth. I was surprised to note that I hadn’t actually sharpened all the way to the end, and there were still flat spots on the teeth. And I was even wearing my glasses this evening! So back I went, very carefully, filing ten or so teeth, and checking them under magnification before moving on to the next set. This took a long time, but afterwards I knew that they were sharp!

I had popped over to Adam’s house earlier this afternoon and borrowed his saw-set, so now was time to setthe teeth. I set the gauge to the minimum setting, and ran up and down the saw setting one way and then the other. I had read a note from a chap who marked every second tooth with a marker. I thought pffft, I will just go at it do-one, skip-one, do-one, skip-one etc. After nearly setting the wrong tooth within the first five or so teeth, I put the saw-set down and marked every tooth with a marker. The lesson? I’m still a beginner, don’t try taking short cuts just yet.

After the tooth setting, I ran my 1200 diamond plate lightly over each side a couple of times to even everything out as Matt told me to do.

I gave it a VERY LIGHT joint, and went over each tooth again with the file to put the finishing edge on.

I would like to think you’re now in suspense wondering how it worked, but I gave away the punch line in the second sentence of this post, so meh.
I posted in another topic how when I first got a plane set up properly, taking shavings is addictive. I would never have thought I’d feel the same way about using a hand saw, but I do! This thing cuts as though it were its single purpose in life. I have read the oft posed advice of “let the weight of the saw do the cutting”, and never really understood. I now do. What a pleasure to just pump your arm back and forth, whilst the saw just drops down the wood. I grabbed everything I could find, from strips of Pine to 1″ Tas Oak and spotted gum boards. In addition to cutting well, it tracks beautifully straight too.

Oh, and I should conclude with the initial intent that started this whole thread. My tooth width is now 0.95 mm, against my blade width of 0.75 mm. So after of this whole malarkey, I did indeed succeed in reducingthe set on my tenon saw!

Again, thank you so much to all who have offered advice and encouragement along the way. I’m really chuffed to have started the journey to learning a new skill. Next step, the handle.

May 2019

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