Dull Saw to Sharp Saw – Building a Saw Vise

One of my skills I wanted to develop this year was sharpening handsaws.  Since the availability of new, well-made handsaws is limited, the ones I have acquired are used (via antique stores, ebay, etsy, and Second Chance Saw Works) and date to before 1950.  Currently, I have some of the common Disston models D-23, No. 7, and D-8 with 26″ saw plates and a variety of tooth patterns.  As a reference, Matt Cianci’s post on WKFineTools gives a great overview on saws required for hand woodwork.

Before sharpening saws, one must have a proper saw filing vise.  Gramercy Tools makes a great vise; one can also use a vintage vise or a shop made one.  The plans for a wooden saw vise in Popular Woodworking (June 2010 issue #183 p. 52-53) seemed like a good route for me.  I made mine of 3/4″ thick yellow-poplar.  It was joined with SPAX no. 8 wood screws (not to be confused with Spanx woman’s ‘shapewear’) .

Saw sharpening vise

Now that my saw vise is done, I will begin the more difficult part, filing several of my rip and cross-cut saws.  Here I am ripping a pine board with a Lakeside (Warranted Superior medallion) 5 1/2 ppi saw.  The first that I have filed.

Ripping on saw bench