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Stay Sharp

Old Tools Need Not Be Forgotten

Date: 8/5/2014 1:42:00 PM

Every so often we come across something that we find interesting and think about bringing it back to a useful life. Recently we found just such an item in a garage. Leaning against the wall as if forgotten and slowly rusting away, was a two man cross cut saw. The handles were missing, but it seemed to be in fairly good condition, overall.



A quick measurement gave us 66 inches of rusty teeth to clean and sharpen. However before this task could begin, the process of cleaning the blade had to be done. 


Using an angle grinder and sanding disc, I started removing the surface rust from the blade. A light touch of the disc needed to be maintained to keep as much of the surface in tact as possible. The cleaning process took a little over an hour per side, but you can see from the next pictures that it was worth the extra time.

Notice how the teeth are deformed from the rust. Also there are several pits in the blade itself. To keep the integrity of the saw I chose not to grind these out of the surface. It gives the saw some charm and tells the story of years of use.  

The next step was to start with a bastard file and lightly check to see if the metal would be solid enough to maintain an edge once the teeth were filed. Again the force used was a very light touch. Had I found the metal start to crumble the sharpening would have stopped and the saw would have ended up hanging on a wall as a decoration.

Finding that the teeth were for the most part in good condition, the sharpening process began. Although it would have been easy to use a grinding wheel in a roto tool, hand filing seemed to be the best way to sharpen this saw. It gave a feel for how things were done when the saw was being used either on a farm or in a logging camp. Working a little at a time we went up one side then back down the other until each tooth was filed to a needle point at the top.

The last step was to use a hammer and anvil to bend just the top of each tooth giving the saw enough set to prevent the blade from binding when cutting. Each tooth has to have the same bend, (set) so that when in use the blade will slide smoothly through the log being cut. We will be making the new handles in the near future and then will be able to give it the final test. When sharp, these saws will do a lot of cutting with little effort.   

Keeping all your saws sharp and in good repair will make them much easier to use, and in some cases more enjoyable. Happy cutting.