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Author Topic: handsaws  (Read 3159 times)

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Offline Dan

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handsaws
« on: July 14, 2005, 09:38:15 PM »
Hi everyone, I`m looking for a recommendation for handsaws, no shortage of powertools in my shop, but handsaws are a different matter, I`m thinking it would be kind of nice to make this frame quietly (except for my sometimes colorful language when something goes wrong... :D)

Offline beetle

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Re: handsaws
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2005, 07:08:10 AM »
I have cut my frame with nothing other than a handsaw and I would do it again without thinking twice about it (look at the previous post titled beetle's barn). I like you, have no shortage of power tools but I wanted to cut and build my frame the way it used to be done and I am glad I chose this route. It is very enjoyable, no noise, no dust flying around, the list goes on.

In my opinion, forget about todays standard hardware variety, they aint made to cut wood like wood was meant to be cut and they just do not feel right in your hand. Go vintage, Disston, Atkins, George Bishop, any one of these are good quality saws that were manufactured in the 1800's to mid 1900's and they were made for the craftsman and made to cut wood. All of these saws are readly avaliable, Ebay is your best place or your local antique store. You will need at least two, a rip and a crosscut, as for the tpi ( teeth per inch ), fleam angle etc; that depends on what type of wood you will be working. I am working pine, my rip is a 5 1/2 tpi and the crosscut that I use the most is 7 tpi. Learn to sharpen and tune the saws yourself, a sharp saw in tune will zip right through and cut straight. Your best place to learn about TPI, angles and how to sharpen and tune is vintagesaws.com, and ask questions here. There is a trick to cut your beams straight, ask here and we will help you.

Good luck with your project and enjoy it.
Too many hobbies...not enough time.

Offline ARKANSAWYER

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Re: handsaws
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2005, 05:35:14 PM »
  Those Jap saws are really handy.  I have one that has rip on one side and crosscut on the other side.  It cuts pretty good but it takes getting used to since it cuts on the draw instead of the push.   I have several old saws that I use and the ole guy down the road who sharpens things does a great job on them.  Baileys has the saws in their catalog and sponsor the FF.  I watch auctions flea markets and get some pretty good deals.   Jim had some tools for sale.
ARKANSAWYER

Offline Don P

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Re: handsaws
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2005, 12:11:09 AM »
When people see my big Makita skillsaw I tell them it has a 6" depth of cut. I then tell them I have another saw that has a 24" depth of cut, its fun to watch their eyes light up  :D.

Offline hayton1960

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Re: handsaws
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2005, 10:47:12 AM »
Hello Don,
Beetle just gave you good advice, which I would second. smiley_thumbsup
Get yerself a disston, atkins, Spear & Jackson (being english I have a soft spot for them) or similar, even keen kutter. The older blades are generally stiffer. I remember in the 60's when my Dad got one of them "miracle new hardpoint saws" (sandvik was it??) But I dont rate them, (except possibly the bahco pro-cut) I cant stand the flimsy plasticky feel, lack of set to the teeth
When your looking for a suitable saw, check a few things-is the blade straight when you look down it like a rifle, has it got a concave tooth-line (when you look from the side of the saw-caused by the previous owner only sharpening the teeth in the middle section that get most wear and not topping (or jointing??) all the teeth when sharpening) Are any of the teeth broken off, or has the saw been so ill treated that the teeth are all misshapen and uneven from bad filing and careless treatment (eg trying to cut re-bar ::)) that you might need to consider having a new set of teeth cut in by a machine, then keeping it in tune by hand. Any cracks, dents, or clumsy attempts at hammer flattening? Are any of the saw nuts missing, or damaged; its amazing how many are sheared right through when you dismantle them. Is the handle sound, any cracks, splits, etc. Dont be too put off by rust unless its caused deep pitting which will make it next to impossible to get sharp teeth. Rust can be removed by electrolysis (my preference) or acid or whatever. I have had some saws looking like hopeless basket case archeological finds, turn out to be A1 top user saws. I used to think saw sharpening was some sort of elite secret skill you have to be initiated into (I thought that about framing too at one time!!)  :D But in actual fact its really quite easy, you just need to practise a bit, just like with a guitar or drums or any other manual skill you dont get them overnight! :D
Cheers, Hayton smiley_chop

Offline beetle

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Re: handsaws
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2005, 07:11:28 PM »
Hayton,

Tell us a little more about the electrolysis method of corrosion removal?? 

Sounds intresting, given the fact I have about 20 of them oldies that yet need to be cleaned and tuned  ::)  And by the end of the month another two or three will probably be added to the pile..just cant pass em up when I see one of those old beauties for sale.


Best regards,

Beetle
Too many hobbies...not enough time.

Offline hayton1960

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Re: handsaws
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2005, 03:33:38 AM »
Hi Beetle
I know what you mean about finding it difficult to pass them saws by when they sitting there all grubby and forlorn.... :D

I worked in a metal plating factory many years ago, where we finished all manner of metal items from light fittings to components for military aircraft and tanks with chrome, hard chrome, dull and bright nickel, copper, brass etc. The item (pos) was suspended in a vat with a conducting electrolyte  in it. A block of nicckel/chrome/tin etc (neg) was suspended in it. An electric current runs through the solution and transports molecules of the metal from the block onto the item. Rust removing electrolysis does precisely the same thing but in reverse, stripping the rust off your saw or chisel, and depositing it onto a scrap electrode. It works very well for me. My set up is simple. I made a simple vat from exterior grade ply, about 900x200x250 (3footx8"x10") internal dimension, and lined it with a god quality silicone sealant (caulk) I use a 7 amp 12 volt car battery charger, which has been running with no bother 7 or 8 months now. The previous one was only (I think) 3 or 4 amp and kept cutting out until one day it cut itself out permanently ;D My solution is a mild caustic soda, but washing soda works just as well. I place the blade (obviously removed from the handle :D) in the vat, clip the NEG lead to the blade and POS to the scrap (any old bit of mild steel) ENSURE they dont touch (short circuit :o) Switch on voila, it immediately starts stripping the gunk off (it removes grease, even paint as well) Depending on how bad the rust is it might take a day or two. Every now and then clean the gunk off the scrap bar and make sure you got a good bright connection with the croc clips (emery/file/grinder) When your done, remove from vat, and rinse, you may need to use scotchbright pads or very fine emery to get a totally smooth clean surface. But electoysis WONT eat and destroy good metal like strong acid will. Some people say you should warm the blade afterwards to prevent brittleness in the steel; I dont, and I've never had any trouble. Hope this helps. I'll try to get a few pics sorted out of a typical "before and after" scenario. Also theres quite a lot on the web on electrolysis, do a word search.
Cheers Jonathan  smiley_beatnik

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: handsaws
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2005, 03:00:01 PM »
My partner in the timber framing tool business has used this method for quite some time now, after I mentioned it to him from reading about it somewhere here on the FF.
He had a friend help him find a webpage with the formula for the liquid and he has a round piece of metal in his round vat for one of the battery charger ends to hook to.
He found that having only a regular square or rectangular piece caused the rust on the opposite side to not be removed as quickly as the side toward the juice.
Using a round submerged piece of metal the juice flows out in all directions and clean chisels and other tools from all sides at the same rate and time.
He has the chisel hanging down from an external support over the center of this metal ring under the surface of the liquid.

He also finds that this removal process leaves a film of black material on the good steel and it is easily wiped or wire brushed off.

This method as mentioned removes only the rust.

Jim Rogers
Whatever you do, have fun doing it!
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Offline beetle

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Re: handsaws
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2005, 07:39:26 PM »
Interesting... gona to give it a try.

Thanks Hayton and Jim.
Too many hobbies...not enough time.

Offline leweee

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Re: handsaws
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2005, 09:16:23 PM »
Dan....this one's quiet ::)
;D
just another beaver with a chainsaw &  it's never so bad that it couldn't get worse.

Offline Tony_T

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Re: handsaws
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2005, 11:28:49 PM »
Jusy hit a tag sale bonanza.  Friend down the road having tag sale.  LOTS of old tools including ca. 10 hand saws, many Disstons in decent shape.  Good mix of types too, some fine-med. crosscut, a few ripping (4-6 tpi) and a big (3 ft) Disston miter saw.  Got the saws and a whole pile of other tools including nice hand braces and bits..............(tree stand for deer hunting too) for $10! 

A few of the saws will need some clean up before sharpening, will try the electrolysis method above.  I've access to some variable voltage transformers which I belive will work in place of the battery charger.  Any reason for using caustic soda as electrolyte in the solution?  Wouldn't dilute salt work as conductor just as well or is there a reason for using a basic solution (i.e. cuastic soda is basic = alkaline)?

Also, what are resonable rates for sharpening?  Have been to the Vintage Saws website, alraedy have a tooth setter and considered buying some files.   However a local place will sharpen and set teeth for ca. $8 per saw as long as the teeth are not past repair.  How does this compare with the going rates where others are?

Offline hayton1960

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Re: handsaws
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2005, 05:09:48 AM »
Hi there Tony :)
You got a nice little 10 dollar bargain bundle there!! smiley_beatnik
Even if it turns out theres only 1 or 2 good runners in there its a good deal.

As far as the electrolysis scientific theory goes, I know next to nothing. I did read somewhere that salt would work as an electrolytic solution, but was not advisable (cant remember why) I use caustic as I have it in stock already, and it works just fine, but I've used washing soda with just as good results. I have also used citric acid + 12 volts; this works well, as does a plain citric acid bath, BUT with the acid you get a bad smell (like someone let one off in your workshop ::)), AND it is dificult to fully neutralise the effects of the acid, the steel re-rusts quick if your not careful.

I dont offer a saw sharpening service. I have however sold re-conditioned, set and sharpened saws. I add in the cost of the file to the final price, as files arent cheap. It costs me about 4.50 for a good file, and I get 2 possibly 3 good filings off it, depends how much re-shaping the teeth need if they've been used to cut re-bar or not ::) ::) Thats what your local man is referring to when he says about saw teeth not being past repair. Typically it will take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour to file a saw. If I was paying to have saws sharpened, I'd be happy to pay 5-6. However I would strongly recomend you to learn how to do your own. If you go to a sharpener, they might use a filing machine that removes a LOT of steel, and your saw will evaporate quick if you keep going there!! However sometimes that is an option if you have a lot of broken, deformed and missing teeth, or if you want to alter the TPI on a blade. You then maintain it by hand. Hope this is of help!
Cheers, Jonathan ;)

Offline Tony_T

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Re: handsaws
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2005, 09:37:09 AM »
Thanks Jonathan.  I'm a chemistry teacher at a local college so I have access to most any common chemicals and understand a little bit of the chemistry involved too! 

Rust is iron oxidized to +3 oxidation state and in basic solution (caustic soda) it will precipiate out as iron hydroxide, a brownish gel like substance.  I wonder if this is whats gumming up the electrodes?  Should not happen in neutral/acidic solutions, but then you have the problem of corrosion of the newly cleaned piece unless quickly rinsed from the solution.  Dilute hydrochloric acid might work well as hydrochloric acid is actually a  water soluble gas and a quick rinse in distilled water should leave no residue.

Anyway, looks like I've got some chemistry thoughts to ponder and perhaps some new experiments to try........Thanks for the help/advice

Offline hayton1960

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Re: handsaws
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2005, 01:28:39 PM »
Hi Tony, thanks for your comments.
Please post your results to let us know how you get on. Its great when you see the steel emerge from beneath layers of rust grease and paint etc
smiley_applause smiley_applause smiley_applause smiley_applause Hoo hoo!! as Homer Simpson says!  ;D

I use very fine emery to get a smooth surface, with a cork block sanding pad going along the direction of the original factory grind marks, sometimes I use a bristle floor scrubbing brush with detergent as well, thorough rinse; then dry in warm air, then apply bri-wax (paste wax in a solvent)

Yes I do get that "brownish gel like substance". I just keep a few different bits of scrap, and brush and rinse them, and keep a good bare conection for the charger clips. PS Jim- thanks for that suggestion re: round scrap bar.

Out of electrolysis and acid bathing, I prefer electrolysis. However one big advantage of acid bath is you can do a lot at once. I made a second ply vat lined with silicone etc. I made like 2 dish draining rack type things with sawn kerfs; the blades just sat in them about 1/2" apart.


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