Whenever I teach a sawing class, I typically reduce the set of students’ saws using a metal file. And when I do this, I’m also amazed at how many times I’m also filing an errant tooth that is sticking out beyond its brethren.
But I can say with all honesty that I have never had to do this with a saw from Wenzloff & Sons.
Why? Well I think we need to thank Mike Wenzloff’s grandfather, Wilbur White, who taught Mike how to sharpen. He showed Mike how to achieve a consistent set on a saw using a metal-jawed vise and paper. Yes, paper.
Mike agreed to show us the process while demonstrating at the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend, Wash.
The first step is that after you sharpen the saw, set it. In fact, you should overset it. Wenzloff uses the Somax saw set, which he has modified, and doesn’t worry too much about being super consistent.
Then he takes some paper that is .002″ thick – he typically use pages from the Enco or McMaster-Carr catalogs – and folds the paper over the teeth and sawplate.
Then he squeezes the paper-wrapped sawplate in a vise with heavy metal jaws. After it has been squeezed all along the length of the sawplate, the tool is ready to use.
The trick works because the paper doesn’t compress. So when you squeeze the paper-wrapped sawplate, all the teeth are bent so they stand .002″ off the sawplate. It’s a fantastic trick that Mike shares freely with everyone.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. It has been a few years since I got to inspect a new Wenzloff & Sons saw. They are remarkable. I still lust for a full set of his Kenyon saws. Must… resist. Also, if you like saws, check out our DVDs on how to sharpen a saw with Ron Herman and how to make a traditional sawbench – a must-have accessory for a handsaw.
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