Questions from the Saw Shop: cracking saw blades, cordwood saw engines, and more!


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works

Skowhegan, ME

And we’re off!

1. (question about keeping saw blades from cracking)

Keeping circular saw blades from cracking is simple. Don’t hit foreign metal, don’t saw dull (overheating), don’t saw without enough set (overheating), don’t saw with pitch buildup (overheating) (seeing a trend here?), don’t feed the saw too fast (overheating). Do these things and it’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever crack a blade (I have an 8″ set of Delta/Simonds Saw and Steel dado blades from the 1940s in stock that are in perfect condition. These saws WILL last if you don’t abuse them.).

2. (question about powering a cordwood saw with a dedicated engine)

It’s most common these days to see cordwood saws (buzz saws) running from tractor PTOs, however, back in the early days, it wasn’t uncommon to see them run from stationary, dedicated, engines (my grandfather ran one from a 20hp Model T flathead 4 and transmission). The problem trying to run one of these from today’s small engines is going to being lack of flywheel/rotating mass. Figure a minimum of 25-30hp and lots of hefty flywheel, not something you’re going to run off a lawnmower engine.

3. (question about how to determine a circular saw blade is damaged)

Missing carbides, chewed up carbides, missing teeth, wobble when running, abnormal whine when running, saw plate no longer flat (check with a straight edge). These are the quickest and easiest ways to spot a damaged blade.

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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