In Chris Schwarz Blog, Sawing Techniques, Saws, Woodworking Blogs

We may receive a commission when you use our affiliate links. However, this does not impact our recommendations.

One of my goals in this job has been to help produce a saw sharpening video that makes sense of all the dogma about this simple task.

Should you set the teeth before or after you file them?

Should you sharpen fleam from one side of the saw? Or turn the saw around to do half the teeth?

Should you use sloped gullets? When? Why? What are sloped gullets?

Should you set every tooth?

Should you file the teeth once or twice?

And on and on.

Today we shot a video on this topic with Ron Herman, the housewright for Antiquity Builders of Ohio in Columbus, Ohio. I do not know anyone else who has used more saws than Ron, or has sharpened more saws than Ron. He was trained traditionally. He works traditionally. But he has tried other methods and understands the process at a level that few of us will ever reach.

I sharpen my own saws, and I have for years. Yet, I learned a ton of stuff today from Ron, who approaches the task with a subtlety that is unsurpassed by anyone I know.

This video should be ready this Spring. We’ll keep you updated on when it will become available, the price and all the other details. But I can tell you this: It will be good. Real good.

— Christopher Schwarz

Like Hand Tools? Want to Learn More?
Then I recommend our ultra-cheap “Hand Tool Essentials.” For $15, it’s a fire hose of information on all things about hand tools from a wide swath of woodworkers, from Adam Cherubini to Lonnie Bird to David Charlesworth.

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

Recommended Posts
Showing 8 comments
  • Matt S


    It is really great that Ron is doing this video. Any chance he delves into truing crooked saw plates? There are so many high quality saws out there with a little bit of a bend to them that could probably be fixed if someone knows how. But this is even less known than saw sharpening. I have read Bob Smalser’s articles on straightening saw plates, and tried to make sense of Hasluck’s explanation as well. Any other resources out there?


  • Stuart Hough

    I took two of Ron’s classes at WIA Valley Forge and found Ron to be the ultimate teacher of this arcane art. I will buy the dvd when it becomes avaiable.
    p.s.: Where does PWW find the music for their videos? How can they keep coming up with such great tunes?!?

  • Niels

    Such a tease! Really looking forward to seeing the video!

  • tsstahl

    I saw Ron’s sharpening demonstration in Oct. 2010. Before then I Had absolutely no interest in sharpening saws simply because of all the controversy. You can ask six woodworkers how to sharpen a saw and get seven answers.

    Now I own several quality slim taper files (darn WIA marketplace is just too convenient). But I still suck at sharpening saws, so I guess I’ll have a chance for a virtual refresher when the disk is released.


Start typing and press Enter to search