From the saw shop, questions and answers: handsaw hammering, enhancing an etch, and more!


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works

Skowhegan, Maine

Yup, it’s that time again! Questions have been rolling in via the search engines to the blog and the service web site, so here come the answers!

1. (question about ruining a handsaw blade by hammering)

Straightening a bent handsaw blade with hammer and anvil such as I do makes it very easy to ruin a blade by over stretching the steel or stretching it in the wrong place (sometimes it’s simply not possible to straighten a saw because of this). Over stretching the steel will leave the blade floppy and useless.

2. (question about enhancing the etch on a handsaw blade)

Handsaw etches are fairly delicate and can be easily damaged by over cleaning or cleaning with the wrong products, such as steel wool. I havn’t tried this myself, but, in the case of an etch that’s still present but has lost its contrast, I understand that cold gun bluing can be used to enhance the etch so it’s more visible. Use at your own risk and try it on a junk blade first!

3. (questions about 29/28/27 inch cordwood saw blades)

Cordwood saw blades, as a rule, all start out at 30 inches in diameter (I have seen a few oddball 35 inch ones). Sharpening the teeth and “hogging out” the gullets between the teeth reduces the blade diameter, leaving these well worn blades something a bit smaller than stock.

Visit us at the following locations:

Former Champion Glass, Topsham, Maine (Rt 201 north from Topsham toward Bowdoin, covering the Topsham, Brunswick, Maine areas) on Tuesdays.

Arundel Flea Market, Arundel, Maine (corner of Rt 1 and Log Cabin Road) on Fridays.

298 W Front St, Skowhegan, Maine the rest of the days.

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