My Dutch tool chest isn’t big enough to hold full-size handsaws, so I’ve been on a long search for the right panel saws that fit the chest and suit the work I do on the road.
After searching three tool-swap meets without success, I grew tired of the hunt and asked Matt Cianci at the SawWright.com to find some panel saws for me and fix them up so they were good to go.
I’d met Cianci in person for the first time last year at a meeting of the Early American Industries Association (no good panel saws there, either). There I watched him sharpen a few saws and tried out several of the saws he had sharpened or made. The guy is dead serious about saws, and his filework is both crisp and precise.
The panel saws arrived this week, and I’ve been breaking them in. For those who are curious about the configurations of my saws, here are the details of what I like in toolbox saws.
Crosscut Panel Saw: Matt found a 22” Disston D8 that he restored for me. The saw is taper-ground (.035” at the toothline; .025” at the spine). Matt filed it as an 8-point with 15° of rake and 25° of fleam. That is a good general filing configuration for a crosscut saw – a filing I also have on my full-size handsaw.
The saw was made during the early years of the 20th century – check out the Disstonian Institute to learn a crazy amount of information on dating Disston saws.
Rip Panel Saw: Spear & Jackson No. 88, also with a 22” blade. Matt estimates it’s circa 1930. This saw is also taper-ground, though not as much as the Disston. Matt refiled this one with 7 points, 0° rake and 0° fleam. That is a fairly standard filing for someone who is comfortable with rip saws. If you are a new sawyer, you might like 3° to 5° of rake to make the saw easier to manage.
I file my own saws and am good at it. But Matt is embarrassingly better. If you have some old saws that need to be refiled or restored, I highly recommend you drop Matt a line. I am a satisfied customer. Matt’s filing job will be an excellent foundation for me as I file these saws in the future.
Thanks Matt – not only for digging up these saws for me, but for making sure the “art manual” of saw filing isn’t lost. After Tom Law died, I was worried. Now, not so much.
— Christopher Schwarz