Saturday, October 25, 2014

A summary

So, I'm back from Krakow and wife, files, stone and hammer head were waiting for me:

Japanese corner of the kitchen table. From left to right, Just Enough by Azby Brow, the same guy from the genius of japanese carpentry. The latter is really boring while the former is my bible to re build Chile after the zombi invasion. A matcha cup with matcha. New handle for the small saw from Gary. Started and finished today. New file from sakura pink. Hammer from samurai pro tool and stone from 330mate. The guys from samurai tool are really kind. I just got the hammer head, it came in a box:

Look what the box had inside:

This is the new file. They don't lie, it's sharp and hard.

And lastly the small stone. Finally I see differential finish in the soft iron and the steel of my chisels. I feel like a pro.

But, let's focus.

Two weeks ago or so I jointed the teeth of small one. I was waiting for the new file to sharpen it.

The condition was pretty poor. A few spots very rusty and a few teeth broken near the end. The saw is straight, which right now is the most important thing for me, I still don't know how to straighten them.

I filed first the front facet, turned the saw, front facet, back facet, turned the saw, back facet. I gave them just 2 passes each facet. It was on the conservative side of the filing.

Western saws, so goes the myth, are jointed and then sharpened till the flats on top are gone. I am not convinced  yet of doing the same with the japanese.

This is how it looks right now:

If I were to file till the flat is gone, I should go for a few mm more.

Look at this diagram. The lines represent the size of teeth you need to achieve before cutting the third facet.

Seems lots of steel lost to me.

I will give one more pass to the teeth and then will try again to cut the third facet. 

Here's the summary of how I understand saw filling at the moment. 

1. Get some wood and make a japanese saw vice. 
2. Get a sharp and hard feather file. 
3. Make some tea, put a light over the saw vice and sit on the ground. In this position, your eyes are 30cm above the saw teeth. From this angle the japanese saw pattern doesn't look so impossible. 
4. Find the angle of the front face. Use you eyes, the file and your hand to find what angle the file must go. Once you find it, it will be easy. Remember that angle in your hands, you need to repeat it along the whole saw. 
5. Move the file along that angle. Don't cut yet. 
6. While moving the file, bring it to touch the tooth from the top. Don't stop, don't force, don't stress. Don't think of a white elephant. Don't even think of rotating the file. If everything goes well, you will cut a single plane on the facet. Check with the light that the scattering is homogeneous. 
7. One hand on top of the saw (you may want to use gloves) holds the tip of the file, the other hand holds the file. They both move together and they both follow your body. A bit like in aikido, the movement comes from your centre, not form the hands. I'm not trying to new-age-bullshit with this, it's just physics: you need to be stable. 
8. File along one side. Don't stop till finished. Once finished, you thank me for that tea that's waiting next to you. 
9. Turn the saw and file the same facet you filed before. The front facet I start by the side next to the handle, while the back facet I start by the end of the saw. I don't know if there is a particular reason for this. 
10. Repeat 8 and 9 on the back facet. 
11. File the third facet without touching other teeth and always at the same angle. It's easier said than done. I safe edge on the file helps you. A piece of metal or wood between the teeth too. 
12. Leave the vice, give a small touch with a small diamond stone (fine) on the back of the teeth. Done.
13. Cut some wood. 

If and when everything goes well, you should look like this



  1. Ha! I love it! Great stuff......and now that you know the mailman isn't stealing your sharpening stones..... I am thinking of some gifts for you!

    The whole western saw filing tradition thing...... We dumb everything down, to be as simple as possible, because you *know* that some dumbs**t is gonna come back with a ruined saw and say "but you said to use a.....! Now my tool is ruined! I'm gonna sue you!!". Sometimes I feel that we are a nation of psychopathic children, with litigious tendencies... Sigh....

    The standard advice serves to maintain consistency, but wouldn't be necessary, once you know what you are doing. Only file enough to get the job done. Any more than that is wasteful.

    Looking very nice!


    1. huhu! stones!

      I'm already looking at other stones of this guy, 330mate. They are small and cheap. Like small tasters, perfect to take as samples of what to look for in Chilean mountains.