The Sad Saw, Part 2

I made a little progress on the Sad Saw today.

I put a coat of Tried & True oil/varnish finish on the handle.  This is the first time I’ve used this product, and I was surprised at how thick it is.  It’s the consistency of molasses.  Or maybe corn syrup.  The instructions say to apply a coat, let it soak for an hour and then wipe it all off, letting it cure for 24 hours.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Probably two or three more coats to get the results I want.

I worked a bit on the saw plate while the first coat of varnish was drying.  First I sanded both sides with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper and WD-40.  I just wanted to have it look like an old sawplate, with a little patina.  I went for a brighter finish on the D8, but this project is really about learning to sharpen (and re-tooth, apparently) an old saw.

Next I needed to do something about the wavy toothline.  Hey, I know…let’s cut it off.  I used a shear because I have one.  You could do this with an abrasive cut off wheel, a grinder, aviation snips…lots of different way.

But, Hey Joe, where you goin’ with that black junk on the saw plate?  Didja miss cleaning a spot?

No, actually that is Dykem.  It’s layout fluid, basically dark blue thin lacquer.  You can scribe through it to make accurate, clear layout lines in metal.  It’s the metalworking equivalent of a marking knife.  I laid out a decorative nib and round over at the front of the plate.

Then I grabbed a file and started removing the extra metal.  I’ve done a bit more refining to the shape since this picture was taken, but this is essentially what it looks like.

Now comes the hard part, re-toothing the blade.  I’m pretty nervous about this step because no matter how pretty I make the saw look, if it doesn’t cut well it’s useless.

I printed off some tooth spacing templates I found on the Norse Woodsmith blog and used those to start filing in the new teeth.  I made a couple of mistakes in the spacing, but I think as I file in the teeth I can correct that problem.  If necessary I can lightly joint the toothline and fine tune some more.

I bought 3 files, and by the time I had all the teeth roughed in they were dull.  It’s not that long of a saw (anymore), so this surprised me.  They aren’t clogged, but they don’t cut properly anymore.  Next time I’ll use some lubricant on the files and see if that helps.  I’ll pick up a few new files so I can finish the saw plate off.

I probably spent 45 minutes roughing in the teeth, and I’m sure I’ll spend the better part of another hour getting them all shaped correctly and even.  I want a power tool for this step.  I found this video of a Belsaw-Foley Retoother in action.  I want one, although finding one with all the attachments at a reasonable price might be tough (Jeez, I hope my wife isn’t reading this…)

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2 thoughts on “The Sad Saw, Part 2

  1. I can’t wait to see what part 3 looks like.

  2. Thanks Ralph, I’m eager to see if I can pull off the re-toothing successfully myself. I don’t have a clear picture on what is “good enough” in terms of the accuracy of tooth size and spacing. It’s compounded by looking at each tooth under a magnifier and seeing every little irregularity.

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