Questions and answers from the Saw Shop: crosscut saw safety, cordwood saw mounting, and more!


Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works

Skowhegan, ME

You’ve got the tool questions, I’ve got the answers!

1. (question about the dangers of using a crosscut saw)

The many of the dangers using a 1 man or 2 man timber crosscut saw are the same dangers found using anything from an axe to a chainsaw. These dangers include things like having the tree go over the wrong way when felling it, having the tree you’re felling or the log you’re bucking roll, or a loose limb (a widowmaker) drop out of the tree. The only dangers from the crosscut saw specifically are the possibility of breaking the blade by pushing on it (2 man saws only) or coming in contact with the teeth. Still pretty darned safe when you compare it to chainsaw kickback!

2. (question about which way a cordwood saw blade mounts on the arbor)

The teeth on a cordwood saw (aka buzz saw) should rake or lean in the direction it’s rotating. In short, the cordwood saw blade rotation is always toward the operator and away from the power source (engine or tractor).

3. (question, does rust pitting weaken an axe head)

Excessive rust pitting in the eye area of the head can make the head unsafe to use. Any rust pitting on the sides of the eye more than 5-10% of the steel thickness deep means the head should be junked. Also, any axe heads that show signs of distortion of the eye should be trashed as unsafe, as well as any that distort the eye when pressure is applied by a new handle and wedge.

4. (question about linseed oil on steel)

I wouldn’t advise it. Even boiled linseed oil, when applied to steel, never dries and it will leave a nasty, sticky, mess.

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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