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?
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.
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.
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