Some woodworkers – myself included – are leery of filing their own saws. But this new saw file holder from Veritas takes away some of the fear by “tricking” you (through both tactile and visual cues) into holding triangular saw files in the correct orientation for your desired tooth geometry.
There are lots of charts available on the Internet to help you choose the proper saw file (for an excellent filing primer see vintagesaws.com by Pete Taran). But the quick and dirty way is to drop a triangular file into a gullet – the right file will be slightly more than twice the height of the saw tooth; that way, when one side of the file is dull (after about five sharpening sessions), rotate it and you still have a full, unused part of the file hitting every tooth.
Once you’ve determined the correct file to use, insert it into the holder just far enough so the set screw can grab it beyond the file teeth then lock it in place.
Now choose your rake (how far the tooth leans forward or back) – a 15° rake for a crosscut saw, for example – and adjust the vernier scale’s rotating collar to 15º. (You can’t see the scale in the photograph; it’s on the bottom of the jig.) Your natural tendency is to hold the top of the file flat with the top of the saw (which would give you a 30° rake); the vernier scale adjustment shifts the jig’s handle so it is perpendicular to the teeth, but holds the file in the correct orientation for a 15° rake.
To set the fleam (bevel angle), adjust the protractor to the desired setting (15° in my crosscut example), then keep the fence parallel to the teeth as you file (were that fence an inch or two longer, the visual cue would be even better).
The vernier scale adjusts from -30º to +30º; the protractor adjusts 45° left and right.
The jig is available on its own for $39.50, or in a kit with seven Grobet saw files for $79.
Am I brave enough to file my progressive pitch dovetail saw yet? Well, no – but an 8 teeth-per-inch panel saw? Bring it on.
From the June 2013 issue #204
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