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Restoring Saws, Saw Tools, and Other Equipment

  Straightening Saws - Scientific American, 1877  1 of 4  

In the manufacture of saws, the straightening forms a large proportion of the manipulative processes.

The cutting of the teeth, the grinding, the polishing, the tempering, and the finishing: each of these processes is accompanied by a straightening operation; for in insuring an equal amount of tension at an parts of the blade lies one of the principal elements necessary to the production of a good saw, and a blade can hardly have any mechanical operation performed upon it without affecting its tension and straightness.

In the use of saws, it is found that band and frame saws are, under ordinary conditions, comparatively easily kept true and straight; whereas hand and circular saws arc readily affected by several causes, among which the most prominent is the setting of the teeth. The blades of circular saws, moreover, frequently become hot, and the heating of a blade is almost certain to impair its straightness, and hence the equilibrium of its tension.

The set of a saw tooth should all be given to the tooth itself, and in no case should it extend below the bottom of the tooth into the solid blade; because in that case it affects the straightness of the same and renders it liable to break. The harder any cutting tool is, the more cutting duty it will perform without becoming dull. On the other hand, the strength depends upon the degree of hardness or temper.

In a saw, the temper is made to conform to the requirements of strength and elasticity, the latter element including its resistance to becoming bent or taking a permanent set, if bent much out of the straight line; and this degree of temper (which is shown by a blue color) is found to be the highest which it is practicable to give to the saw teeth: which, being formed out of the plate itself, are necessarily of the same temper as the plate.


Furthermore, the blue shows the highest temper which it is practicable to give to the teeth, and still allow them the capability of being bent to obtain the set. Indeed, it is only from the fact of their being weakened by the spaces between them that they will permit of being set without being broken; for were we to attempt to set the solid edge of a plate or blade, it would break, if properly tempered.

If then, in setting saw teeth, we allow the setting to extend below the tooth, the strength of the latter is destroyed, and the straightness of the plate or blade is impaired.

What is commonly called a buckle or a bend in a saw plate is known to the trade as a tight or a loose place, meaning that the want of straightness is produced by parts of the blade being unduly contracted or expanded; and all the efforts of the straightener are directed to the end of removing the contraction or of accommodating the expansion, so that, the unequal tension or strain being removed, the plate will he true and straight.

If we take a saw plate that is quite true, and lay it upon a truly planed iron plate and allow it to become first heated and then cooled thereon, we shall find that it has become warped by the process, and it is apparent that the warping has he en produced by the expansion and contraction of the plate, and possibly mainly from irregular heating and cooling; for it is impossible to insure that the heat can be imparted to and extracted from the plate equally in all parts. The varying widths, the extra exposure of the teeth due to their partial isolation (and hence their increased susceptibility to heat and cold), and other elements, would all cause inequalities in heating, against which it would be impossible to provide.

The circular saw affords the best example of the vicissitudes caused by unequal tension, as well as the most striking instance of the minuteness and skill in mechanical detail required in the saw straightener's art.

Suppose, for example, that we have a circular saw of three feet diameter, and that it is made straight and true, and with an equal degree of tension existing all over it.

Let its circumference travel at a speed of 2,500 feet per minute: it is obvious that the centrifugal force generated by the motion will tend (and actually does, to a slight extent) to expand the saw plate, and it is equally obvious that this expansion decreases in amount as the center of the saw is approached.

The equality of the tension on the plate is destroyed; on the outside (or, in other words, center-bound) when rotated the looseness of the plate decreasing from the circumference towards the center as the radius shorten s. As a consequence the extreme edge will, when in motion, flop over from one side to the other, according to the side on which the duty offers the most resistance; and this resistance will vary, from the curves in the grain in the wood, from knots, and from a variety of more minute causes.

It follows, then, that the sawing cannot be smooth, and that, as the saw bends or flops over on one side, the opposite side of the blade will come into close contact with the work, entailing friction and, as a result, heating; the latter will cause the saw to dish, and to remain permanently dished.

The method employed by the saw straightener to compensate for the expansion due to the centrifugal motion is to place upon the saw a tension insufficient to dish the saw when at rest, and yet sufficient to accommodate the expansion due to the centrifugal force.

This he does by the delivery of blows upon the plate, the effect of which will be to create a tension sufficient to tend to enlarge the plate without overcoming the resistance to enlargement offered by the plate itself until such time as the centrifugal force diminishes this resistance: when the tension follows up the advantage afforded by the centrifugal force, and holds the plate from becoming loose on its outer circumference.

If from an error of judgment the tension is insufficient to accommodate the centrifugal force, the saw becomes loose in the middle, or, in other words, it becomes rim-bound when in motion; and the result is that it dishes, as shown in Fig. 1.

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