Leif over at Norse Woodsmith did a recent post on sloped gullets. Strangely enough, I’ve been working on restoring a couple of saws lately, and about the time he posted, I was starting to sharpen one of them, an old Disston No. 7. I finished this morning and decided to take a photo of the result. Unfortunately, I don’t have a macro lens, so I can’t get much better than the following shot, and also unfortunately, I don’t think the angle is very good, because you can’t really see the bottom of the gullets too well:
In any case, take a look at the bottom of the brightly reflected edges, and you’ll see that the rear is higher than the front, especially on that tooth all the way to the left. This shot was taken straight from the saw coming off the file, so you can see some burr here and there. You can also see how difficult it is to judge the height and shape of the teeth here. In this shot, it looks like the teeth set towards the camera (the all-dark ones) are a little bit lower than the ones set away, but in reality, they’re all the same. It really is easier to tell by jointing the teeth and filing until the flats are gone.
I’d mentioned in a comment on Leif’s post that the angle I used for fleam and slope was not that great. On further inspection, it seems to be moderate. The fleam angle is 20 degrees and the slope is about the same. I think a 10-15 degree fleam and slope would be easier to file, and I plan to try it out on the other saw I need to sharpen.
All of this theory is useless if it doesn’t work in practice. Here is a test cut in beech:
It’s about what you would expect from a 6TPI saw that’s 26″ long. The important part is that it belches sawdust profusely when sawing, and with a controlled cut, you don’t get much tearout. And it’s always nice to get a 110+ year old tool working again.