One of the steps of saw sharpening is getting all the tops of the teeth even. If one tooth is taller than the others, it will catch. Shorter teeth will not do anything cutting at all. This job is accomplished by running a file across the tops of the teeth until you have hit them all. Not too hard to do by hand, but a jig helps. Many were sold back in the day, but they are pricey now on ebay. No matter, I will build one. Here is my file and wood of choice.
I cut a section off, and carefully cut a wedge shape about 3/8″ into the maple. The waste was zipped out with a narrow chisel. Now the file will fit inside nicely leaving room for a wedge to firmly hold it in place.
I had a thin piece of walnut that would work perfectly. The only trick is that tapering such a small piece will be difficult. I found that my scrub plane worked really well across the grain. I held it just a little proud of the vice and slowly carved away till I had the desired shape.
To use, simple wedge the file in gently with the walnut, and then run along the top of the saw teeth.
A perfect scrap creation for an everyday woodworking problem. Now to buckle down and actually do all that sharpening. But first
Saw Nut Driver
Most saws use split nuts that standard screwdrivers make a mess of. The slot is very narrow. I have seen people convert old spade bits into split nut drivers. That sounds like a good plan, but requires oodles of grinding and the sacrifice of a bit. Instead, I took a recently reclaimed piece of saw blade and made a driver bit. The blade is thin and hard, but too flexible to make a long driver. Short and stubby should be just fine for this task.
I used a hack saw to cut the part out. It took two blades to finish. I would recommend using some kind of cutoff wheel for anyone looking to make something out of saw blades. At any rate, the bit works like a charm. Some of these nuts were damaged and difficult to turn even with a good flat ground screwdriver. The homemade bit works great.
Now it needs a nice handle. I did a quick run on the lathe and came up with this handle. The tenon had a slit sawn down the length to help seat the metal bit. The brass made everything so tight that I couldn’t pound the bit in as far as I had wanted. Oh well it is very suck now. Not quite centered either, but nothing I can do about it.