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  1. #1
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    Default Re-toothing small tenon saw

    I am embarking on a journey to re-tooth my tenon saw. The saw doctor type places won't do this anymore, reckoning it is too time consuming and not profitable enough anymore....
    I have repaired a saw vice, filed back the teeth on the saw blade, bought some small files (don't know what their quality will be though),but have some questions.
    Paul Sellers video shows how to do re-toothing and I want to try his method.
    He makes a guide with 2mm divisions for a hacksaw to cut into the blade. Then he uses a file to define the teeth. All done at 90 degrees to the blade.
    However a mate showed me his method based on the Sellers way.
    He files at 25 degrees to the blade (alternating for each side), saying it is best for crosscut saws.

    Is this correct?
    Any info/suggestions greatly appreciated.
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  3. #2
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    Default Rip or crosscut?

    You call it a tenon saw; but unfortunately that name is used nowadays to describe just about any form of backsaw

    A genuine tenon saw has teeth filed for ripping along the grain; which is what is required when cutting down the cheeks of tenons and the Paul Sellers method is appropriate for sharpening those.

    Filling the teeth at an angle across the sawblade as described by your friend is how you sharpen a cross-cut saw; this is the saw you would use for severing the waste from the cheeks of the tenon.

    THIS LINK is a good primer on the basics of saw filing.
    Nothing succeeds like a budgie without a beak.

  4. #3
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    Nov 2011
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    Default

    Lyle,

    If this is your first Re Toothing may I suggestion go for a Rip saw first.
    They are a lot easier to sharpen, you are only having to file at 90 degrees to the plate.an not have to worry about the other angles for now(Fleam angle).
    Once you have that under your belt,try a crosscut saw.

    Your mate is right about Cross cut saws.

    Also Paul aka Bushmillar found this YouTube clip on sharping Wester saws it long, but well worth the look.

    Sharpening Western Saws - YouTube

    Ive tried the Paul sellers Hack saw trick,an to be perfectly honest for a small saw i just dint think its worth the hassle.

    Blackburn tools also do teeth spacing guides that you can print out for free.

    Cheers Matt.

  5. #4
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    Default

    Thanks very much. I appreciate the links. The only thing I was sure of,this is definitely going to be a journey.
    So this little saw is probably going to be used for hand cut dovetails. File to 12 tpi cross-cut??? Or something else.
    These are the files I've got. Quality is unknown.
    Gunna be a interesting learning curve.
    Lyle
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  6. #5
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lyle View Post
    Thanks very much. I appreciate the links. The only thing I was sure of,this is definitely going to be a journey.
    So this little saw is probably going to be used for hand cut dovetails. File to 12 tpi cross-cut??? Or something else.
    These are the files I've got. Quality is unknown.
    Gunna be a interesting learning curve.
    Lyle
    Lyle,

    Its wrong to assume those files will be crap with out ever viewing then up close,or using them, but I reckon Im right.

    PM me, I think I can help you out with some better files, that will at least give you a better chance at success.

    Cheers Matt.

  7. #6
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    Default

    Wilco.
    Thanks Matt I'll definitely get in contact with you.
    If it's OK, I'll watch the video links first, so I will be a bit more knowledgeable and ask reasonable questions.
    Lyle

  8. #7
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    Default

    Those files are Chinese made engineering needle files of dubious quality. You need to obtain some proper saw files where the corners are toothed as well as the faces. Bahco and Pferd brands are usually available from saw sharpening places, or engineering outlets.

    Regarding filing the saw; dovetail saws are traditionally filed rip and the teeth are small enough so that when used for crosscutting the tear-out is negligible. 12tpi is a bit on the coarse side though; between 14 and 20tpi is the range of commercially available saws like Pax, Lie-Nielson and Veritas. 16tpi (or 17ppi) is conveniently easy to mark out using an Imperial rule!
    Nothing succeeds like a budgie without a beak.

  9. #8
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    Millmerran,QLD
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lyle View Post
    Thanks very much. I appreciate the links. The only thing I was sure of,this is definitely going to be a journey.
    So this little saw is probably going to be used for hand cut dovetails. File to 12 tpi cross-cut??? Or something else.
    These are the files I've got. Quality is unknown.
    Gunna be a interesting learning curve.
    Lyle
    Lyle

    I think the first packet of files are diamond coated. If they are like those I have, they won't work at all. You need the proper saw files as The Chief has said in a previous post. For 12ppi you will be able to use 4" DEST (Double Extra Slim Taper) but any finer teeth are going to need needle files, which are slimmer and finer again. Don't be surpised if you use more than one file to shape in brand new teeth. This will depend on the plate thickness as to how much of a toll it takes on the file.

    Depending on the state of your eye sight, you may need a headband magnifier for small teeth. I now have to use a magnifier, in conjunction with my reading glasses, for almost any size saw tooth. But with that I can cut almost anything, but I pass on anything finer than 12ppi.

    Regards
    Paul
    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

  10. #9
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    Default

    Hi Lyle. I have found that using the printouts from Blackburn Tools the easiest. I just fold the paper in half, stick to either side of the blade and do 1 or 2 strokes with thr file to mark the blade. Paper can come off and continue to file away. I bought my Bahco files from Gasweld but trying a saw sharpening place is a good idea.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Perth
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lyle View Post
    Thanks very much. I appreciate the links. The only thing I was sure of,this is definitely going to be a journey.
    So this little saw is probably going to be used for hand cut dovetails. File to 12 tpi cross-cut??? Or something else.
    These are the files I've got. Quality is unknown.
    Gunna be a interesting learning curve.
    Lyle
    Lyle, filing 12 tpi for a dovetail saw with a thicker plate (I bet this is about 0.025 thick) would create an awful saw. Even for a thinner plate (0.020), I would be filing 15 tpi rip with 7 degrees of rake.

    Ive re-filed teeth from scratch on several saws, and the Blackburn templates were my choice. A 4 double extra slim file is good to do the basic shaping, and then a needle file for the finish.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on constructing handtools, handtool reviews, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

  12. #11
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    Default

    Thanks etal.
    Derek, yes it is about 0.25" thick and 300mm 12" long.
    So I guess the 17 ppi (16tpi) rip with 7 degree rake???
    I'm getting some Bahco files 4" dest, and some fine needle files. A Bahco distributor ( near Lake Mac hospital) has been very patient with my questions.
    My quest continues...
    Lyle

  13. #12
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    Hi Lyle

    The plate is what I anticipated. Because it is thicker than your standard dovetail saw, the teeth will be removing more wood as well. Consequently a higher tooth count is preferred. I'd go 15 tpi - 16 tpi and lower the rake angle to 7 degrees.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on constructing handtools, handtool reviews, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

  14. #13
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    Default

    More questions....
    My saw tooth setter doesn't go up past 12 on the rotating anvil. It is an Ecipse 77 made in England, brass/bronze body
    Do I need either another saw setter or anvil?
    Also where does the number go/align when in use. There are numbers 4 to 12, and vertical lines between the numbers,on the rotating anvil, but no alignment mark on the body.
    Again thanks for any help for a novice.
    Lyle

  15. #14
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lyle View Post
    More questions....
    My saw tooth setter doesn't go up past 12 on the rotating anvil. It is an Ecipse 77 made in England, brass/bronze body
    Do I need either another saw setter or anvil?
    Also where does the number go/align when in use. There are numbers 4 to 12, and vertical lines between the numbers,on the rotating anvil, but no alignment mark on the body.
    Again thanks for any help for a novice.
    Lyle
    Lyle

    Unfortunately, those numbers do not necessarily coincide with the ppi, despite some documented evidence to the contrary: Annoying I know! They are only a reference point so that you can return to the same setting at a later date.

    The main issue once you get beyond, say, 12ppi is that the plunger is too fat. Some models come with a narrower plunger but if yours is a thicker example, you can dismantle the saw set and the plunger can be filed thinner so it only contacts a single tooth. Easy except it is now too thin for the larger teeth! As you may have gathered, you need two saw sets to cope with all sizes of tooth.

    Regards
    Paul
    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

  16. #15
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    Hi Lyle

    The Eclipse is a good setter. I have a few. The numbers do not relate to tpi, but are simply a scale from least to greatest (amount of bend). It is a matter of trial-and-error to get the desired set which is why I have a couple.

    Some setters come with a hammer too wide for small teeth in which case this can be ground down (carefully) to fit. The steel is hardened so avoid getting it hot.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on constructing handtools, handtool reviews, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

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