My recent saw sharpening video where I demonstrated the Veritas Saw File Holder has generated a lot of emails with questions about saw tooth geometry.
I find that once I have a saw set, I don’t need to reset it until I have sharpened the saw at least once more. Please Note: Queen Dovetail handle fits all dovetail blades (except the Mini Dovetail blade). I take this as a good sign that lots of people are actually thinking about sharpening their own saws. Like any sharpening related topic there are many, many opinions and solid justification for each of those opinions. I think that really only rake, fleam, and set are the primary elements and pitch a secondary element.
By adding fleam you turn the teeth into little knives that slice the grain instead of chop it like a chisel. When we set the teeth we are bending them away from the saw plate to widen the kerf and allow the saw to run without binding. They all relate to one another and should be considered as a whole to create the best tooth geometry for the task at hand.
If I want it to start easily yet still cut fast I will increase the fleam a bit to make the teeth slice more (like skewing a hand plane). The reality is that set is measured in thousandths of an inch and most of us don’t have the capacity to even measure this.
Don’t over analyze it but rather relish in our ability to be able to finely tune our hand saws.
2·The bar has a precison-milled groove,hardened rails and totally integrated sealed nose. Not only that but the introduction of filing guides like the Veritas and the Rakemaker II by Blackburn Toolworks (a great site to check our for more info on this subject) have people thinking in detail about what tooth geometry is best for their work. Usually any sharpening discussion is to be entered at your own risk and histrionics should be expected with much wailing and beating of the breast.
Pitch, the number of points per inch or PPI, plays a role in determining how deep your gullets are and therefore how efficiently the saw carries saw dust away from the kerf. This is very useful as you can compensate, augment, or offset the positive and negative effects of one element by tweaking another.
Professional saw filers have much more accurate setting techniques and a heck of a lot of muscle memory to aid them.
So while set is a little more touchy feely than rake and fleam, remember that it is also part of the geometry that effect how the saw cuts.


For the average hobbyist, pitch a number in the middle of the above ranges and you will do just fine. Hand sawing is safer, less air pollution, less noise, less breakout, less clean up and often faster than running the power cord and changing the saw blade.
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These little guides open up a level of filing accuracy only previously attempted by saw filing experts. So here is my sidestepping disclaimer: the numbers I detail below are but one option within the mellifluous multiverse of saw tooth geometry. This in turn relates to the speed and the cleanliness of the cut but not nearly as much as the rake and fleam can effect these outcomes. One can actually lean the tooth forward to create a positive rake and a very aggressive cut, but also one that is hard to push and start while leaving the undercut tooth a bit weaker. The wider the kerf the more wood you remove and therefore the more work required to push the saw. I can also reduce the set to create a cleaner cut since a more uniform tooth line won’t present as jagged an edge to the wood.
Now that you know what changing these numbers will do you can tweak them one way or another to create a saw that performs well in a specific situation or over a wider range of applications. Errors will be corrected where discovered, and Lowe's reserves the right to revoke any stated offer and to correct any errors, inaccuracies or omissions including after an order has been submitted. The WickedTM Sharp high-carbon steel blade lade is strong, won't bend or break, and rips through any tree or limb you put it to. I first ordered the saw by itself to try it, and after I received it from SG, I immediately ordered another one (this time with the sheath). As such I think we can set pitch aside for this discussion since it will be rare that we are actually changing this pitch unless you are making a saw from scratch or restoring a really really beat up and well used saw. You will find a positive rake on some Japanese saws but the pulling motion and much harder steel adds in some variables that ameliorate the negative effects of positive rake. As such high fleam saws should be used in softer woods that won’t push back so much on the more fragile teeth.
Likewise the wider the kerf the sloppier the action as the saw plate can now wiggle about in the wider kerf and throw off a precise cut. The rubber over molded grip fits your hand like a glove, and positions your arm for the easiest and most efficient cutting you have ever felt. The more you relax the rake, or increase the angle the tooth slants away from the cut the easier the saw is to push.


The converse to this is a saw tooth with little to no fleam will leave a rougher cut and require more effort to move through the wood.
The beauty is that by altering all 3 of these in concert can produce the perfect experience. Though if I’m being honest usually the adjustments I make in set entail reducing the amount rather than increasing it. Once you solve one of these geometry equations you will find yourself getting more saws and tuning them to specific tasks.
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The slicing action that is inherent with fleam is what makes a well tuned crosscut saw do its job without splintering and tearing across the grain. My recommendation is to set this adjustment to a pitch that is finer than the actual pitch of the saw you are working on. Careful this is a slippery slope and soon you will be talking about witchcraft like sloping gullets and progressive rake and fleam. Made of heavy-duty canvas, it features:Built-in plastic scabbard or easy open-saw access during long trim jobs Additional neoprene pocket for storing bow hanger, hooks, or cell phone Standard belt loop style mounting with additional fully adjustable pack strap to secure pack to harness, backpack or treestand Order ONLINE Today!
These are my humble opinions won through hours of sawing with a fair dose of standing on the backs of giants like Herman, Harrell, Wenzloff, and Smith. This makes starting the cut easier but also it slows down the cut as the teeth have a tendency to lift up and away from the cut. If the kerf gets tight not only will the saw bind, but it can deflect in the kerf as it tries to find a way around the build up dust, thus making your saw not run true. A low rake angle cuts fast but can feel grabbier and also make take more experience to handle. More set can be added and set can be removed but I find it easier to add more than take it away. Often times the setting process is helpful in adjusting a saw that isn’t running true too so the best thing is to skew to the finer set and then make several test cuts altering the set to get the right feel. With each test cut make sure you saw enough to let friction heat up the saw plate causing it to expand. You may think you have it right only to find the saw plate expands in the middle of a cut and starts to bind.



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