Saw and tool sharpening: questions and answers.


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works

I thought I’d take a few minutes in this post and address some of the questions I’ve seen coming up on both searches coming to this sharpening blog and the SwiftWater Edge Tool Works saw and tool sharpening service web site.

1. Single cut vs double cut files

Simply put, single cut files have all their teeth on the same side cut in the same direction. Double cut files have teeth on the same side cut in both directions, creating a criss-cross effect. Single cut files are much smoother but slower in their removal of metal. Double cut files are far more aggressive.

Only single cut files should ever be used on saw blades. In addition to the possibility of drastically overfiling, the aggressive double cut files will catch on the thin teeth, making them almost impossible to use. Double cut files can be used for heavier edges such as axes but they won’t produce an acceptable finished edge without extra work.

2. Does crosscut sawing require 2 men?

I’m presuming the question here refers to the large forestry type crosscut saws and not crosscut hand saws :). To the best of my knowledge, felling trees with a crosscut saw ALWAYS requires 2 men. I’ve never seen a 1 man felling saw.

The common 1 man crosscut saws are designed for bucking (cutting the log up after it’s down). Although many 1 man crosscut saws have an auxiliary handle that can be used on the toe of the blade, effectively making them a short 2 man saw, their length limits them to far smaller logs than 2 man saws.

1 man crosscut saws are also far thicker and heavier than 2 man saws, since they have to be pushed on as well as pulled (2 man working crosscuts are never pushed, only pulled).

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