First Look: Veritas Saw File Holder

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I’ve been sharpening my own saws for many years, but it’s not something I’m comfortable teaching or writing much about because I don’t do it enough to feel like I’ve encountered all the crazy, messed-up situations that are possible with a saw.

Question: How do I recut the teeth in a new sawplate?

Heck, I don’t know.

How do I best reconfigure the PPI count of my saw to make it finer or coarser?

Ummmm.

My sawplate is warped. Every other tooth is tiny. I want to change a ripsaw to a crosscut saw with sloped gullets. I’d like to add progressive rake and progressive pitch.

I know a lot of the answers to these questions, but I don’t have a lot of experience messing around with saws in all sorts of disrepair.

But when my saws are dull, I sharpen them. It’s really pretty easy and I’ve never thought it was a big deal.

However, I have found that many woodworkers are leery of filing their saws. They are afraid they will screw them up. They are mystified by the angles. They don’t know what equipment to buy.

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So here’s the truth: Filing saws is easier than sharpening a smoothing plane. If you have a triangular file and saw set, you can do it. You don’t have to have a dedicated saw vise (make wooden jaws) or filing guide (make one). You don’t need a saw jointer (I use a mill file embedded in a block of wood).

And here is the larger truth: If the Veritas Saw File Holder is what moves you into the category of “people who file their own saws,” then the jig is worth its weight in gold. It’s an incredibly simple device that trains you to hold the file in the correct orientation for both rake and fleam when filing saw teeth.

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For the experienced filer, it allows you to dial in any combination of rake and fleam, so you can feel free to experiment with angles that are outside of the muscle memory of your hands.

And it’s a fantastic teaching aid, to boot.

After filing four saws with the guide, I spent a Friday afternoon teaching a person who had never filed a saw how to do it with the guide. The Veritas guide flattened the learning curve to the point where the woodworker’s second saw was almost as good as mine.

So if you are looking for something that will help you become a better saw filer in short order, this jig is the ticket I would buy.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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12 Responses to First Look: Veritas Saw File Holder

  1. How did you get this so soon? Better yet, how can _I_ get this sooner? 🙂

    Oi, Robin! Hook a brother up!

  2. Bill says:

    I agree Marilyn. If this gets people to begin sharpenning their own saws Great! This device is a commercial version of my saw filing block and it does the same thing. So if you are short on money try my simple device, but if cash is not a problem then by all means try the Veritas version, but please make the effort to start sharpenning.

  3. If this device gets people to sharpen their own saws GREAT! It is a commercial version of my simple device that I blogged about some time ago. So if you are short on cash try my device and if not try the new Veritas device, but by all means try saw sharpening.

  4. jverreault says:

    This device is brilliant! I bought one the day Lee Valley put them out for sale (being Canadian & having a LV store in town helps). Now if I can just find a decent saw vise…

  5. Bob Davidson says:

    I bought some files to sharpen saws some time ago, but I have put off using them…I’m afraid I’ll mess up my saws. It appears that this is just the device I need to overcome my hesitancy to try my hand at saw sharpening!

  6. Eric Bennett says:

    It’s a cool tool – but… I’ve sharpened five or six saws freehand, by eye and found it to be simple. The file tends to find its own angle. It would be really tough to screw up – especially if you cut your teeth (pun intended) on ten dollar Disston, Atkins, Craftsmen or even Wards Master saws. You have nothing to lose, everything to gain and it’s so satisfying to test before and after. It also teaches you how crosscut and rip saw teeth cut through wood fibers differently. The Veritas tool would be great for someone who wants to take sharpening to a higher level.

  7. tsstahl says:

    I’m a (trying to be) self-taught saw sharpener.

    What hangs me up is the PPI. The coarse saws in the 7 or 8 point range are super easy to sharpen, even more so if you are not changing anything radical about how it performs. The biggest barrier for me was thinking too hard about the process. However, the finer point saws still elude me.

    It could be my technique, it could be my files, it could be the fluctuations of Earth’s magenetic field. The fine tooth saws I’ve practiced on have all been disappointing in use, preventing me from tackling my ‘real’ saws. I’m sure some day I’ll have that epiphanic moment and it will all click. Or ding, or clang, whatever. Dunno if any gizmo will make that happen faster.

  8. Kevin Thomas says:

    You beat me with the answer to my question I hadn’t ask yet. Just got my Lee Valley sale flyer and saw the new jig. I was going to ask you about it, before I bought one. Now I can can go ahead and buy one. Thanks, Chris.

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