One of my new favorite saws is an old piece of junk.
Found in a water filled wooden tray, out in the wilds of Hawaii, it had some unusual company. A good (albeit rusty) saw set, a pre-1917 Disston keyhole saw, a 1950-ish rip kataba Z-saw (stamped Honolulu), and a weird Swiss-army saw/multi blade thing, among other stuff.
Well, I cleaned off some of the rust and it's not so bad really.
It's no work of art, just a tool, but I'm liking it a lot more than I had expected. As a "cut down anything then forget it outside in the rain" kind of tool, it excels. I've found that it holds a good edge, and the spring and temper was well done. It had no kinks when I found it, and we haven't introduced any new ones, despite our best efforts. The saw back is taper ground to a knife edge, so much so that I can use it as a machete for thick grassy stems. It has proven itself to be deceptively capable.
As is expected, it could do with some improvement.
It has probably been sharpened a few times already, but the nib on the nose still stands proud of the teeth. It needs to be made even with the teeth. More importantly, the teeth height is uneven, one side being longer than the other. Whoever was sharpening it had a definite "strong side". I know that because I do, too. Because the teeth are longer on one side, the cut drifts to the longer side, binding the saw at about 2" deep.
And, as I was saying in the prior post, the saw teeth are still not as clean as they could be. Let's see if I can improve things a bit.
Scrape 'em clean.....
.....then polish 'em up a bit.
FYI, sandpaper isn't the best way to do this, but if you do, try to rub parallel to the tooth itself. If you rub back and forth, it mostly cuts up the sandpaper and rounds the tooth shape in undesirable ways. Anyways, the sandpaper method didn't totally ruin anything, and may have helped improve the teeth marginally.
I use the edge of a really hard oilstone instead. It's WAY better. I just do the minimum required to get the outer face of the tooth bright. No matter which method you choose, this does reduce the amount of set some (x)amount. The less you do, the better.
Sighting the length of the blade, you can see that the nib at the tail of the saw stands proud as well as a few odd teeth.
I joint the saw using a standard western mill file, running the length until I see a bright tip at each tooth.
I joint at each sharpening, because I'm training myself and my body. If I was REALLY good, I could probably get away with 1 joint/ 3 sharpenings, but what's the harm? You're only going to get better if you work on refinement, and in my head is a picture of a saw with teeth of a perfectly even height, not just "good enough".
And what do I get for all my high talk of standards?
Haha! Missed a big 'ol dip...whoops! I see a bunch of low teeth, mostly on one side, my "strong" side.
Maybe two. Jeez.....what a hack!
When I sharpened, I changed the tooth geometry a little bit, but that's for the next post. I've been thinking about and researching saw teeth for nearly two years now, but it's only recently that I've been able to test the saws so rigorously. Living this off-grid, extreme bush lifestyle, I am cutting live wood, green sticks and lumber, lumberyard "dry" Wood, and a fair bit of aged salvage lumber as well. And lots of it.
One of our new neighbors kindly offered to bring over his generator and a bunch of saws for me to use, after I told him that I was cutting everything by hand. You try to explain that you are actually enjoying the act of cutting the wood, and anyway, you can't easily cut much of this stuff with power saws and....you get that half perplexed, "huh.... OK, whatever" look. It's good to have such generous neighbors though.
Even though the tooth height is less than perfect, it still cuts well.
The cut through this hard (wet) Ohia went faster than you'd think, and the saw tracked straight and true, no binding anymore. I guess that I improved it some.
The wet wood shows scars easily, but it looks like a couple of teeth are set a tad more than the others. The scars look worse than they are, and I can't feel them by hand, but it's not perfect yet.
Because the saw is severely taper ground, it probably had very little set initially, and after a handful of sharpenings, it's probably about ready for asari/setting again. The lack of set, combined with the light weight of the saw has the saw itself riding up at times, meaning that you need to maintain downward pressure as you are using it for a ridiculously deep cut like this. What's happening is that the improved saw teeth are cutting more efficiently and are making more sawdust in the process. The problem is that the teeth are still the same size that they were before, and now the gullets are too small to hold the additional sawdust. The next step for this saw would be to give it some raker teeth and a few deeper gullets, turn it into a little madonoko saw, maybe.
This saw is for smaller stuff, like 2" and under, but it's good to have the capability nonetheless. I was felling a couple of 6" guava trees yesterday with this little guy, and it was a bit of a struggle. Why I don't use my chainsaw is a mystery to me. Scares the birds, I suppose.
What I really want to write about are teeth. Japanese saw teeth.