Saw shop questions and answers: bent cordwood saws, crosscut saw handles, and more!


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works

Skowhegan, ME

It’s that time again! Time to reach into the big bag of questions that come via the search engines to this blog and the service web site and answer them!

1. (question regarding straightening a bent cordwood saw)

In a word, DON’T. If a cordwood blade has been overheated bad enough to noticeably warp the saw plate or the saw has come in contact with steel embedded in the wood and done the same (the two most common causes of cordwood saw blade damage), the blade has to be considered structurally suspect (possible loss of temper in the steel, possible cracking, etc). The last thing you want is high speed flying shrapnel when the blade fails catastrophically.

2. (question regarding crosscut saw handles)

There are 3 common types of handles for 2 man crosscut saws. The first is the loop type handle. This type of handle slides a loop over the end of the saw blade and turns to tighten down. This advantage of this type of handle is that it’s easy and fast to install or remove.

Second is the Climax type handle. These handles fasten with a bolt or pin in the holes at the end of the saw blade. The advantage of these are that the handle can be turned 90 deg, making the saw easy to use for both bucking and felling purposes.

Third is the Western style handle. This handle is similar to the Climax except it places one hand above and one below the saw, versus both above for the Climax. The advantage of this type of handle is that you can apply more power to the saw, since the blade is centered between the hands.

3. (question regarding handsaw straightness)

So, how do you tell easily and quickly if the amount of bend in your handsaw is enough to cause a problem with using it? Simple, make a cut with the saw to at least halfway up the blade. If the saw whips back and forth as it is pulled from the cut, the blade NEEDS to be straightened (the bent saw blade is actually hitting the sides of the kerf). There are other ways to tell also, but most handsaws with objectionable bends will fail this test conclusively.

Visit me at any of the following locations:

Elm Plaza, Waterville, ME (Mondays)
Arundel Flea Market, Rt 1 & Log Cabin Rd, Arundel, ME (Fridays)
298 W Front St, Skowhegan, ME (all other days)

If you’re looking for a special tool, please drop me an
email and let me know and I’ll restore one just for you!

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