This is the eighteenth entry in a nineteen part series that covers the construction of one of my saws from start to finish. For links to the other entries, please see the full chronological index. -Ed.
Drilling bolt holes, toothing, final assembly, and test cuts
I drill the holes in the blade with a 3/16″ carbide spade drill bit. They drill quickly and cleanly and last a long time.
It is finally time to sharpen the saw. I will not cover this topic in-depth, as it deserves far more attention than I can give it at this time. It will, I am sure, be fodder for future posts and articles. What follows is a quick overview of the steps I go through, but lacking the details and finer points.
After jointing the blade, I cut the teeth. Using a paper template to guide the spacing, each tooth is marked with one stroke of a file. With each tooth marked, I remove the template and finish filing them.
After this first filing, I set the teeth, then joint them. After marking them again with Dykem, I resharpen one last time.
When the teeth are sharpened, I run the back and blade across a deburring wheel to clean them up one last time. This done, I can assemble and test the saw.
Many makers install the split nuts and bolts a hair proud of the surface of the wood, then sand them flush. This is a tried and true method, but I have had trouble in the past with the brass dust staining the surrounding wood. I now sand the fasteners first, then install them as close to flush as possible.
I normally use a fixture on a belt sander to grind the bolts to the correct length, but in preparation for an impending move, it is in storage. For the time being, I do them old-school style, filing by hand.
After all this work, it is finally time to take the measure of the saw. Every saw I file is tested in wood(s) and tasks similar to those that the future owner will use it on.
The first, and most critical, test is to cut to the full depth of the blade. This reveals any tendency of the saw to drift to one side or the other, and verifies that the set is sufficient to run without excess friction.
Only after I am satisfied with how the saw tracks and cuts will the saw be sent out. There is still a chance that it will need some tweaking to fully suit the customer, but at least I know these changes will be needed because of differences in our sawing preferences and styles, and not problems inherent to the saw.
Wow. Terrific series of articles! Explaining the care, expertise, and amount of time put into each saw goes a long way toward proving the tool’s value. Maybe I’ll own one some day!