Setting Crosscut Saws | Paul Sellers

Setting Crosscut Saws | Paul Sellers

December 14, 2019 24 By Luis Garrison


we’re going to talk about how we set a
crosscut handsaw. It’s the same way we set a rip cut handsaw we press the
teeth one from one side and then one from the other so that the teeth are
something like this they’re bent one way then alternately the other all the way
down the length of the saw and this is what we call kerf this is where we
create a slightly wider entrance into the wood than the plate of the saw
itself which is very important because if you don’t have set then the saw
doesn’t cut into the wood it gets bound up as you progress your cut with each
stroke so I wanted first of all to talk about the contrast between a rip cut and
a crosscut saw I’ve got two saws here this one’s a rip cut this one’s a
crosscut what’s the difference well when you buy a saw say on ebay or buy even a
saw from a store it usually will not say crosscut saw or rip cut saw anymore
that was how we sold all saws at one time but today that’s all change now we
have a universal cut we have these but they’re not really Universal
in the sense that they’re designed to rip cut most of them are used for
crosscut but we are defining our saws by a rip
cut or cross cut because for fine work we need to have saws that will do the
task so we’re going to talk a little bit this is a rip cut tooth pattern and I’m
hoping that we can show exactly what we mean by a rip cut pattern it’s got it is
to do with the angles of the teeth but what a rip cut pattern is is that these
are like chisels going across the surface of the wood so when we have a
rip cut pattern this is representing the strands of the wood of the Saw that goes into
the wood this way and it rips down in between the fibers and it severs the
fibers this way we can’t really cross cut so easily especially when the saw
gets big we can’t cross cut quite so easily with the RIP cut saw that said I
sharpen all of my tenon saws for a rip cut pattern because the teeth is so
small they’re more commensurate with the size of the
fibers that I’m cutting so my mark of reference would be somewhere
around 1/8 point saw if it was 8 points or less 8 6-4 I would sharpen those
specifically for either a rip cut or a cross cut pattern I’ll show you that in
a second on my smaller saws I can rip and cross cut with the same tooth
pattern so I sharpen for a rip when I’m making dovetails most of the work is a
rip cut that I use so Tenons most of its a rip cut so let’s take a look at
this one here I’ve made a cross cut pattern to try to show you what the
contrast is on the tooth pattern itself you can see I think this has a bevel on
it this side you should be able to see that from your side a black line and
then I go to the other side and it’s got a black line on this side every other
tooth has this pattern and it’s this that defines which way you bend the
tooth this has a bevel here has a bevel here has a bevel here and a bevel here so
this means that this tooth has to be bent in this direction towards me this
one towards me that means that this one is now going in this direction and this
one is going in this direction and that is absolutely definitive because that
then pushes this very tight this pinnacle point is pushed to the outside
of the saw plate this one is pushed to the outside this one this way and this
one this way by that alternating pattern it means that we create a saw that’s
capably cross-cutting the fibers of the wood and it’s just
glancing the tops of the teeth with this very sharp pinnacle point and it severs
the fibers and that parts one side of the wood to the other very different
than with a rip cut saw so now we want to see which saw teeth we set so I’m
going to show you that by coming in closely on the cross cut
pattern saw to show you exactly how we press these teeth to get them staggered
in the way I just described and that will give you the crosscut saw set it’s
very simple we take a saw set like this put it onto the teeth and we determine
which teeth we have to bend I’ll show you how to do that now
we’re going to set a crosscut saw and there are a few details that we need to
look at when we set the saw into the vise you can hold it freehand of course
you don’t have to use a vise but when we set the saw set to
task we’re looking at the teeth and what I want to see is in this
case the first tooth has a bevel on both sides so I know that when I place the
saw set to the tooth I’m pushing that tooth away from it so the plunger comes
out it hits the disk now you can see numbers on the disk ignore these numbers
for now because all these are is preset distances where the tooth will Bend I’m
using a number 8 for this particular saw it’s got nothing to do with the number
of teeth it’s only to do with the amount of set so I set the plunger or the
hammer against the tooth and I push squeeze this and that bends that tooth I
skip a tooth so now I still have a pinnacle tooth where I’ve got a bevel on
both sides and I can see that bevel I squeeze until the hammer stops and I
skip a tooth and squeeze until the hammer stops and I go all along the saw
from one end to the other skipping every other tooth checking that I am on indeed
on the right type of tooth in this case because it is a crosscut saw not a rip
cut saw it has a bevel on both sides of every tooth that I’m setting and I can
see that bevel so I know I’m pressing against the right tooth now when I’ve
gone all the way to the other end I turn the saw around because I can only use a
saw set in one way and that is to always be pushing the tooth away from me so I’m
going to turn the saw around when I get to the other end and then set the teeth
that are leaning away from me from the opposite direction I’ll flip it around now we’ve gone all
the way along doesn’t matter which end you start from you remember the first
tooth was the one that was bent from this direction towards me so now I’m
going to the second tooth again I can see the double bevel on either side of
the pinnacle point so now I set the set right on to that tooth on the center of
the tooth the center of the point determines where I place the saw set and
now I use the plunger again to push the teeth the alternate teeth in the
opposite direction so on a crosscut saw it’s important that you understand that
you’re pushing the teeth out so that the pinnacle point is on that outer edge
because when you start to use this saw you’ve done it the opposite way
the interior corners will be cutting into the wood and the outside won’t so
it will just tear and rip and you won’t be able to get the saw into the wood
very different than a rip cut saw all the way down this side like this and you’ll
start to feel these teeth you can definitely feel these pinnacle points on
the outside edge so you’ve got these super sharp corners on the outside edge
and that really is the simplicity of saw setting using a saw set like this one
there are several different types and you completed saw setting so now you saw
it ready to use