Questions and answers from the Saw Shop: cordwood saw nuts, circular saw cracks, and more!


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works

Skowhegan, ME

The answer man is in the house!

1. (question about the direction of the arbor nut threads on a cordwood saw)

Cordwood saw (aka buzz saw) arbor nuts are always left hand thread. The nuts rotate clockwise to loosen, opposite the saw blade’s counterclockwise rotation. This means the nut has a tendency to tighten while running, instead of coming loose with drastic consequences.

2. (question about finding cracks in circular saw blades)

The first step to inspecting a circular saw blade for cracks is a thorough cleaning. You can’t see a crack if it’s covered by rust and/or pitch! In my experience, at good visual going over is adequate for detecting cracks in circular saw blades. You could, in theory, magnaflux the saw, but, in my opinion, that’s overkill.

3. (question about which side of the blade to stand on with a 2 man crosscut saw)

This all depends on your dominant hand. I’m left handed, so I pull 1 man and 2 man crosscut saws past the left side of my body. It really comes down to what the most comfortable position is for the sawyer and also whether there are any obstructions that might prevent safely standing on one side or the other.

4. (question about straightening bent scissors)

It’s critical that scissors blades run true for proper cutting action. Blades on less expensive scissors usually cross to some degree to provide the shearing action, blades on expensive scissors generally don’t cross at all. As a rule, if you can see light between the entire length of the blades, you have a problem.

As with other blades, a scissors blade that was soft enough to bend rather than break has about a 50/50 chance of being straightened with a combination of appropriately sized hammer and anvil without breaking.

5. (question about handsaw snaggletooth)

Snaggletooth is a term I use for handsaws that have been severely misfiled. This can include teeth that has been pushed out of shape, raked unevenly, or alternating tall and short teeth. As a rule, fixing a bad case of snaggletooth involves filing the teeth for some preliminary correction and to get enough depth that they don’t disappear when jointed, jointing the teeth to all the same height, and refiling the teeth for final correction and sharp.

Visit me at any of the following locations:

B&G Treasures, 11 Depot St, Norridgewock, ME (Mondays)

Tractor Supply, Skowhegan, ME (Tuesday)

Somerset Woods turnout, Canaan Rd (Rt 2), Skowhegan,ME (Wednesday)

Arundel Flea Market, Rt 1 & Log Cabin Rd, Arundel, ME (Fridays)

Fryeburg Flea Market (Fryeburg Fairgrounds), Fryeburg, ME
(Sundays, Memorial Day thru end of September)

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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