Got a care package from Tools for Working Wood, I ordered one of every saw file they had (hey, they are tools, cheap (where else do you get a new tool for $5?), shipping would kill if buying one or two). I also got both their saw sets, one for coarse teeth and one for fine teeth (since I have saws that span the range). The cheap bastard in me was annoyed to find that, other than the color, the sets are the same (as in identical), except for the pin that pushes on the tooth. I could have saved a whole $10 by just getting the “fine” model. They do seem to be nice tools. Since I’ve never “officially” sharpened a saw before, I read some articles (Vintage Saw Library, The Norse Woodsmith’s Backsaw project, Tom Lay’s Hand Saw Sharpening quick reference guide). Can of corn, piece of cake, especially rip. I got the saw I care the least about (occasionally I realize my limits), used two pieces of wood for the saw vise (you NEED some sort of vise), jointed the blade (there was about 1/2 tooth curve in the middle), took a wild guess at the hook angle and started scraping rust out from between the teeth with my new file. Metal was eventually found and, amazingly enough, the saw actually cuts and seems to track. I didn’t set the teeth and I need to, the saw starts to bind at about 1” deep (probably because the plate isn’t straight).
To illustrate why practice can be a good thing, check out these teeth that only a dentist could love:
(the circle marks a warp that needed hammering to remove)
When I learn how to do what I’m trying to do, I’ll re-sharpen, re-tooth or make a new blade (the best idea since this blade is pretty beat).
Tip: Removing the handle when sharpening makes like a lot easier if you don’t have a real saw vise.