Adventures in saw re-toothing

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Blog entry by fumehappy posted 07-02-2014 09:14 PM 2010 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We all have that one project we’re loath to start (in some cases it may be more like 100 projects), due to the degree of perceived difficulty inherent to the restore. In my recent case it was a small Disston Saw. Not sure of the model, but I picked it up at a flea market for 15 bucks a few years ago… it was straight but snagle toothed and filed 7-8 point cross-cut. Far too coarse for steel that thin. I had thought to make it a 11 or 12 ppi rip saw for large pine dovetails.

Having finally acquired some decent lumber to build my wall mount tool chest doors, It was time to try and rehab my poor ol’ Disston back-saw. First I filed all the teeth off to make a flat surface. Once I had a flat surface, I realized that the toe protruded about 1/4 inch more than the heel. Well, that’s no good I thought.. I was about to get out a coarser file, when I wondered what would happen if i gave the back a good solid rap or two on the workbench. Success! I ended up giving the Toe about 1/16th Cant in relation to the heel.
A quick google for a saw tooth template landed me over at blackburn tools, where I chose the 11ppi pattern.
made 3 passes on each tooth and then came back for another 5 or 6. I reshaped a few by eye, and then lightly jointed the saw. Sharpened again with a couple light passes. I noticed the teeth were not perfect, but resisted the urge to joint my saw down to nothing trying to get them so.

Notice how I left out the part where I set the teeth? That’s because the saw didn’t require it! I think it’s a taper ground model 77, or something comparable, as it cut laser perfect lines down a piece of scrap pine to the full plate depth. No binding.

Now I just need to perfect that dovetail technique…

4 comments so far

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3827 days

#1 posted 07-02-2014 09:17 PM

Nice job bringing that back to life.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 3303 days

#2 posted 07-02-2014 11:21 PM

Very nice. How many saws have you filed before this one?

View fumehappy's profile


140 posts in 3594 days

#3 posted 07-03-2014 12:45 AM

Thanks! This was my 5th saw overall and 3rd backsaw.

View Don W's profile

Don W

20294 posts in 3909 days

#4 posted 07-03-2014 12:51 AM

Nice restoration

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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