Foley Hand Saw

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I have been wanting to try the art of saw making for quite some time now. I have slowly been buying, cleaning and fixing some tools to become a saw maker. I have built a kerfing plane, frame saw, bow saw and want to try hand saws and backsaws. I have sharpened several saws, and have done that successfully on several occasions, so here is where the hand saw journey begins. I was able to procure a few new old stock Foley hand saw plates (above), saw nuts, and handles. I have two handle types, one drilled and one not drilled for replacement handles. I have recently cleaned my Foley Saw Filer, and have been wanting to test it. It has a part that was homemade by some previous owner, and I wanted to see how their repair was. My retoother is a bit dirty but can be used, so I decided to try to tooth a plate to make a crosscut saw. The plates are Foley Premium Professional 504, I measured it as being 26” long,  .042” thick at the toothlike, and being taper ground on the back, from .033” at the toe, .037 at the centre of the back, and .042” where the handle connects at the heel of the plate. I wasn’t sure before I checked them if the plates would be taper ground or not, as I was honestly unsure of the quality of the Foley plates. The plates came with a small amount of rust on them, which will easily clean off (above right).  

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To start I had to decide on the tooth profile. The pitch and rake angle must be decided upon first. I decided to go for a rake of twenty degrees and nine PPI. I first cut the teeth with my Foley Saw Retoother. I have used this machine several times and have worked the bugs out of using it. It just needs to be cleaned up a bit, but she works great. I put the saw into the carrier and attached the appropriate ratchet bar, then inserted the carrier into the machine (right), adjusted saw depth in carrier and set the feed pawl. Then you simply (its simpler then it sounds) turn the machine on. Mine presently is run by electric motor, but you can attach a hand crack and manually crank the retoother, which I plan on building a handle for. It punches the teeth fairly quick and they turn out quite nice (below left). The next step was to switch over to my saw filer (below right). I recently cleaned up my Foley saw filer, which a page is being added to the site here about it, and wanted to test it. I set the saw depth using the guides provided, and adjusted the machine as described in the manual. It seems a bit complicated at first, but it is not really that hard to use. I set the machine to first file straight across, to joint the blade using the machine. As it was running it would occasionally jam and not advance the saw to the next tooth for filing. I Found the problem to be a part that was replaced by a previous owner, and if I held the carrier, the jamming was reduced. I will be replacing the part with one that I will build similar to the factory part. 

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After trying out the filing machine, I attached the handle to the saw plate. I simply used the handle and hardware I purchased with the saw plate. I then went on to the final sharpening, which will be done by hand. I clamped the saw into my saw vise (left) and grabbed the appropriate files. I first started basic shaping of the teeth. I decided on a fleam angle of twenty degrees and set my file in my filing guide to the appropriate rake and fleam angles. I filed every second tooth and then turned the saw around and filed the remaining teeth. Once the shaping was complete I was ready to set my teeth. I wanted little set, as I mostly plan on using this saw in dry hardwoods. I set the teeth with a plunger type set very lightly, its easy to add set later, harder to remove it after though. I then lightly jointed the saw, to insure all the teeth are the same height, which they were, so I removed very little material from the teeth. Then I moved on to final sharpening of the teeth which is a similar process to shaping the teeth, but removing less material. I may do a more in depth saw sharpening page in the future, but there is a lot of information already available. 

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So now that the saw was sharpened, it was ready to test. I grabbed some ash scraps I had around and gave it a try. I found it cuts very well, just as well in fact as new higher end saws I have purchased. I have now used it on several items and am very happy with the results, though the handle is a bit clunky feeling for my hand. I cleaned the rust off the end with a rust eraser and it is ready for use. Well, that is it for this instalment, in the next posting I will be the finishing off  the table, which I am just doing the finishing touches on now. Till next time.  


© Shane Larson 2017