Touring the saw sharpening shop: The anvil and hammers.


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works
Biddeford, Maine

I thought I’d give everyone a little tour of the saw sharpening shop, starting with the heart of the operation, the anvil and the hammers!

English anvil in the saw sharpening shop.

What we have here is a 196lb English anvil. The anvil is 26″ long and the face is 16″ x 4 3/4″.
Family history suggests this anvil was brought over from Canada, then spent the next 100+ years doing heavy forging in the old family blacksmith shop. This weight of anvil is a little heavy for saw work, but the long face is just right for laying out 30″ cordwood saw blades on. Since I’ll never be doing any hot forging on it, the stand is much lighter.

The anvil is used for straightening bent, warped, or twisted crosscut saws and handsaws, as well as for setting the teeth on crosscut saws and large circular saws such as cordwood saws.

Blacksmith hammers in the saw sharpening shop.

I use 3 heavy hammers for this. The first in a vintage 3lb cross peen blacksmith hammer, recovered from the old family blacksmith shop and restored. The second is a regular 3lb hand sledge. The third is a steel cutter, also recovered from the old family blacksmith shop. The steel cutter has been modified with a flat face for use with the 3lb cross peen for setting teeth and straightening (hitting the saw blade directly would leave tool marks).

Small hammers in the saw sharpening shop.

Finally, there are three vintage light hammers. First is a ball peen with an unusually small ball end. Second is a small cross peen hammer for work on handsaw blades. Third is a hammer with one flat and one rounded dome face. The various hammers give me total flexibility to deal with almost any damaged saw blade!

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