Questions and answer from the saw shop: bent knives, axe handle length, wandering handsaws.


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works

Skowhegan, ME

It’s that time again! I’ve picked the best of the recent questions from visitors to the blog and the website, and now I’m answering!

1. (question about straightening bent knives)

I see it all the time. Every single batch of kitchen knives I get in to sharpen has at least one that someone has tried to use as a screwdriverand bent the dickens out of the point. Of course, a knife can’t be properly sharpened unless it’s straight.

Knives straighten on the anvil, the same way most bent tools I get do, just with a lot more finesse. Most knives that are bent can be straightened, since most knives that would break by being straightened would have broken when they bent. Very good quality stainless steel stand the biggest chance of breaking, since the qualities that make the steel stainless also tend to make it brittle.

2. (question about a 36″ axe handle being too long)

Back in the day, it wasn’t uncommon to see 3 1/2lb poll axes set up for splitting with 28″ long handles (I have one for sale on the website). These days, I’m unaware of anyone who makes replacement handles for the 3+ lb poll axe’s eye size, which is why I try to save these when I can find them. The only other option is to drop down to the 2 1/2lb boy’s axe with its standard 28″ length.

3.(question about a handsaw not cutting straight)

9 times out of 10, uneven set on the teeth is the culprit for a handsaw that pulls to one side. The side with more set in the teeth will be more aggressive than the other, so the saw will pull that way.

Visit me at any of the following locations:

Elm Plaza, Waterville, ME (Mondays)
Tractor Supply, Skowhegan, ME (Tuesday and Wednesday)
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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