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Atkins Backsaw


Restoring Saws, Saw Tools, and Other Equipment

  Saw Re-toothing by Will Myers 1 of 2  

Will Myers

I was down at Ed Lebtkins tool store (aka: Needful Things, Ed reminds me more of Leland Gaunt every time I am there) above the Woodrights’s School a couple of weeks ago and bought an old saw he had in his “saws with issues” box.

It had a lot of problems, broken tote, missing saw nuts, kind of rusty and misshaped teeth. It did have one positive; the saw plate was straight and said sash saw all over it.

The recommended sash saw filing is 10 teeth per inch, 10 degrees rake, and 10 degrees fleam. This saw was filed and about 15 tpi… it would need re-toothing.

I am not a saw expert (see Matt Cianci’s column) but I do all of my own saw sharpening.  I have re toothed a few saws and there are several ways to lay out the new tooth pattern.  First thing to do is to get rid of the old teeth.  I just joint them down with a file until all traces of the old teeth are gone; this goes quick with a sharp file.

With the saw jointed you can just “eyeball it” and start filing the new pattern.  I have done this, after a filing a few teeth you can get a pretty nice pattern this way.  Another option is if you have another saw with the right tooth spacing you need, mark the location of the teeth with a fine marker on the saw to be re-toothed; then file on these marks.  There are many other methods as well.

I had an idea for another way to do it (which turns out is not really a new idea after doing some searching) with printed out marks on paper that could be transferred to the saw plate using a file.  I started by making a Word document with a page template that runs the long length of a sheet of paper.  I then typed a few rows of lower case “L”s in different font sizes and then printing them out.  After printing I used a ruler to measure the number of L’s in an inch.

You may have to try several different fonts to get the size you need.  In this case a font size of 33 gave a perfect 10 ppi.  One thing to remember when doing this is there is a difference in ppi (points per inch) and tpi (teeth per inch) when laying out your template, so allow for which one you want when measuring your pattern.  In this example I filed on the marks which means the mark will be the gullet and the spaces in between will become the points of the teeth.

Using a pair of scissors I cut out the line of L’s leaving an inch or so of paper on either side of the marks.

I folded the paper thru the marks and taped it to the saw plate with the fold over the tooth line of the saw plate. With this complete I clamped the saw plate and template in the saw vise.

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