Reader Questions on Saw Sharpening

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3 thoughts on “Reader Questions on Saw Sharpening

  1. I’m surprised to see that there hasn’t been a reply over the last 3 days. I think the information you shared, based on questions from someone, is great information. Really appreciate the answers and insight. I have an old Ward’s miter box that came with a 23 inch back saw that is dull. The small teeth look too intimidating to attempt to sharpen as a first saw sharpening attempt. I need to look for a large rip saw with big teeth to try that on.

  2. Hi Bob,
    Thanks for providing answers to these questions. I waited until I re-sharpened my miter box Disston saw with a higher fleam (around 25 degrees) to respond. It seemed to cut smoother, but not much quicker. Perhaps next time I will try 30 degrees. A while ago I tried a miter box that had a Japanese blade, which cut much faster and just as smooth as the Disston saw, but had hardened teeth. However the miter box itself (with the Japanese blade) was terrible and not worth using, as it could not cut accurately along the vertical.

    In line with your answer to my third question (involving Walter Rose’s book), I found it interesting that fleam was not invented (ok, I know that was not exactly what you said) and they compensated with mellow rake. A few years ago I purchased from England an old Disston rip saw with 3.5 ppi at the heel and 5 ppi at the toe (which I use for resawing and exercise). When I first got it the rake was really high (between 35 to 45 degrees). I thought the former owner may have known something that I did not, so I just sharpened the teeth and kept the high rake. The results were as expected, it went over wood like a washboard mainly just giving it a massage. So then I got aggressive with the rake and went for zero (classic rip for softwood). It cut great, but every so often I would almost have a heart attack as the saw bent and give an unhappy howl. I then changed the first 20 teeth to an eight degree rake, which solved the problem and it has worked great ever since. In telling you this long story, I now wonder if the original high rake that this saw arrived from England with reflects past naivety of or distain for fleam?
    Take Care, Wayne.

    • More fleam won’t make it cut any faster. For that you’ll need less rake and/or bigger teeth. The saw with the Japanese teeth had a positive rake, so the teeth leaned into the cut. That’s why it cut faster. You can certainly try doing the same with a western saw, but you’ll likely find that the thicker, unframed blade won’t tolerate such an aggressive rake. I don’t know what you have the rake set at now but if you want it to cut faster, try reducing the rake angle.

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