Saw sharpening questions of the week, single cut files and bent saw blades.


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works
Biddeford, Maine

From time to time, I see visitors come through to the blog from Google who are obviously looking for the answers to questions. In this post, I’m going to address two of the questions that I’ve seen come through this week.

The first question is about the use of single cut files (all the teeth are parallel) vs double cut files for sharpening. This is a good question since most hardware stores I’ve seen carry only the double cut files.

In a nutshell, double cut files cut faster and rougher. Just the thing you want for rough metal shaping, not at all what you want for putting a fine edge on a tooth. Single cut files produce a nice smooth bevel and they’re also easier to control since you don’t want to ruin a saw by taking tons of metal off it when you don’t need to.

The second question was about straightening bent small circular saw blades. In a nutshell, don’t even think about it.

Small circular saw blades get tweaked by hitting nails in the wood being cut. While large circular saw blades are intended to be hammered by skilled craftsman, hammering a small circular saw blade is likely to mess up the blade tension, resulting in a blade that wobbles or behaves like a wet piece of cardboard on the saw. Highly dangerous.

One exception to this rule is Forrest. Forrest offers a service where they can actually straighten a bent saw plate, probably through use of a press. Even for expensive blades, I question the economics of doing this. It would be a lot cheaper to buy a metal detector and not damage the blade in the first place.

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