Ripsaw Revelations

There was no way around it–I was not able to continue with the milling without a ripsaw. I rigged the saw vise to the workbench, then threw the blade from the old dogmeat 26″ Disston D-7 that I’d “cleaned up” (a few months ago) into that vise:

My expectations were kind of low. Though waxed and now rust-free, this blade is badly pitted and slightly bent at one place. It had been a chore just to get the stupid handle off. And the 7 TPI-pattern teeth were a horror story–badly deformed, uneven sizes, previously filed to crosscut profile, fairly wide set… you name it. The pic above is after jointing. Here’s a fuzzy close-up that should give you an idea of how crappy the teeth were:

Using a zero-degree rake angle, I worked my way across the saw, taking just one stroke at a time. I had to make four passes to get all of teeth even, so that’s four strokes per tooth. I ended up with this:

I left the set as it was; the filing had eased it a little.

This sharpening session was much easier than my earlier experiences. There were considerable improvements: I have the workbench now, so the vise was much more secure. The location afforded a lot more light; it was much easier to see the tips of the teeth. And it was much more comfortable to work at that height instead of the previous ridiculous situation of sitting on the floor.

I still had my doubts because the saw wasn’t in great shape to begin with. Of course, this was on purpose, because I wasn’t going to mess up one of my good saws on my first try at rip filing. But whenever you get a new toy, you want to play with it, so I put the handle back on, clamped a douglas fir 2×4 to the bench, and tried it out.

Gee-hose-a-phat. That thing split apart the 2×4 like it was nothing at all. Disston ads used to say stuff like “Zing!” And that’s exactly how it felt.

Unbelievable. Hmm. I have two other ripsaws waiting over there… a monster Disston No. 7, and the Winchester that I described a long time ago. Did I mention that those two are straight and have no pitting? Oooooooh.

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