Tool night – back saws

This week I had a very productive time at tool night.  First I sharpened and set these two eight inch dovetail saws.  Both are nice saws I’ve had for a while.  But they both needed sharpening and setting to be usable.  I’d filed a number of saws before, but never put set in them.  And I also don’t have a saw-set small enough for the teeth on these, which are about 18 points per inch.

Eight inch dovetail saws

The top saw, I purchased from Patrick Leach.  It’s a Spear and Jackson with split nuts and the beech handle is in really nice shape.  The lower saw is a generic.  I can make out “Metropolitan Hardware” in the etch on the blade.  With the guidance of Mike and Dean I got them both tuned up so they’re cutting real nice.

One of the highlights of the evening came when I was trying to get a little wave out of the blade on the closed-handle saw.  I showed it to Mike.  He looked down the blade, casually smacked the back on the workbench and it was fixed.  The blade just needed to be seated better in its back.  I’d seen him do this once before.  Maybe after a third time I’ll remember that trick.  (The secret is, that now that I’ve written about it, I’ll remember it.)

Then I pulled out a beat up 16 inch back saw I’d bought cheap off a guy via craigslist. Its only identifying mark is “Thomas Turton” stamped in the back.   It also has split nuts, and a cool London-pattern handle.  But the top horn has been chopped off.  This saw had obviously been messed with – the back was sawn off in a funny way inside the handle.  And when I removed the handle I found three extra holes in the plate.  Perhaps it had been chopped down from a miter box saw.  The plate also had a small crack in the end.

London-pattern handle on what will be my 15" saw

I was able to get the three nuts off without breaking them.  Mike didn’t look at my parts long before he suggested that I cut an inch off the end of the plate, and an inch off the messed up end of the back, and I’d have a nice saw.  My inclination would be to think things over for a day or three.  Mike saw my hesitation and he was off and cutting.  A tin-snip took the inch off the plate, and then the back was in Mike’s metal-cutting bandsaw.  Done.  By then it was time for me to call it a night.

Before I put this back together I’ll repair the top horn.  I cut it off last night, and found that this handle is also made of beech.  I just happen to know where I can get a bit of that.


About johnjoiner

Computer nerd by day, Dad and woodworker by night. Woodworking blog at
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