Saw shop questions and answers: cordwood saws, Boy Scout hatchets, and more!


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works

Skowhegan, ME

Here we are again! The sharpening and general tool and saw questions have been pouring in, so here are the answers!

1. (question about setting tools for cordwood saw blades)

Like most other cross cut saw blades, cordwood saw blades require their teeth to be set (bent so that they alternate slightly wider than the saw plate). This insures that the saw plate doesn’t rub on the cut wood fiber ends and pick up excess pitch or even bind up in the cut.

There are large slotted saw sets for bending these type of teeth but I don’t use them myself. The problem is that it takes a lot of force to “wrest” cordwood saw teeth and most of the saw sets that I’ve seen fit the teeth very sloppily. This means that the saw set has a tendency to slip off the tooth and go flying across the workshop. I prefer to hammer set cordwood saw teeth on my anvil.

2. (question about replacement handles for Plumb Boy Scout hatchets)

The wooden handle found in vintage Plumb Boy Scout hatchets is a pretty unique item. These handles have very little curve to them and I’m not aware of anyone who makes anything close to them, although other shapes of hatchet handles will likely work, since these Boy Scout hatchets are just a standard hatchet eye.

3. (question about sharpening an ice saw)

The commonly found pond ice saws are always a standard cross cut tooth pattern. They can be sharpened with a large mill bastard file and hammer set on an anvil, similar to the cordwood saws in question #1,

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!

SwiftWater Edge Tool Works provides mobile sharpening services across Maine and mail in services around the world for handsaws, carbide blades, planer knives, hand planes, chain saws, knives, scissors, hair clippers, router bits, and almost any blade!

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