Crosscut Saw Sharpening

For a tool designed to shred and dismember, crosscut saw sharpening requires a surprising amount of finese. Here's a guide to help you get it right.

| November/December 1979

  • 060-crosscut-saw-00-plain-saw-teeth.jpg
    The teeth of a crosscut saw might look something like this.
    ILLUSTRATION: CROSSCUT SAW MANUAL
  • 060-crosscut-saw-01-saw-parts2.jpg
    Diagram shows the parts of a crosscut saw.
    CROSSCUT SAW MANUAL
  • 060-crosscut-saw-05-pointer-teeth.jpg
    Diagram shows bevel and point of a typical cutter tooth.
    CROSSCUT SAW MANUAL
  • 060-crosscut-saw-02-cutter-teeth.jpg
    Diagram shows method of positioning jointer to sharpen cutter teeth.
    CROSSCUT SAW MANUAL
  • 060-crosscut-saw-03-jointer-raker-teeth.jpg
    Diagram shows how to set up a jointer to file raker teeth.
    CROSSCUT SAW MANUAL
  • 060-crosscut-saw-06-combination-saw-tool.jpg
    Gauging rakers with the pin gauge on the combination saw tool.
    CROSSCUT SAW MANUAL
  • 060-crosscut-saw-07-setting-cutter-teeth.jpg
    Diagram show method of setting cutter teeth with a hammer and anvil.
    CROSSCUT SAW MANUAL
  • 060-crosscut-saw-04-raker-teeth.jpg
    Diagram shows method of filing the outer edges of raker teeth, and the difference between swaged and straight raker teeth. 
    CROSSCUT SAW MANUAL
  • 060-crosscut-saw-08-cutter-tool.jpg
    Diagram shows the spider tool.
    CROSSCUT SAW MANUAL

  • 060-crosscut-saw-00-plain-saw-teeth.jpg
  • 060-crosscut-saw-01-saw-parts2.jpg
  • 060-crosscut-saw-05-pointer-teeth.jpg
  • 060-crosscut-saw-02-cutter-teeth.jpg
  • 060-crosscut-saw-03-jointer-raker-teeth.jpg
  • 060-crosscut-saw-06-combination-saw-tool.jpg
  • 060-crosscut-saw-07-setting-cutter-teeth.jpg
  • 060-crosscut-saw-04-raker-teeth.jpg
  • 060-crosscut-saw-08-cutter-tool.jpg

Reprinted from Crosscut Saw Manual by Warren Miller (available for $1.50 from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office).  


Opinions vary among saw filers as to the order of steps followed in crosscut saw sharpening. Guidelines offered by saw companies differ significantly. After examining the reasons for the different orders, I've concluded the following sequence is preferable.

Cleaning: removing rust or pitch.

Hammering: straightening a saw if it has bumps, kinks, or twists in it.



Jointing: the means by which the tips or all the cutter teeth are made to conform to the circle of the saw.

Raker fitting: includes shaping the raker gullet and swaging and sharpening the raker.






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