Saw Set..

About a year or so ago, I posted about a wenzloff tenon saw I had, and how it had minimal set..  Basically, it had almost zero set, and was binding in the wood something fierce.  At the time, I had concluded that it was probably my fault, and not the saws. I was probably ham-handing the thing, twisting it in the cut, blah blah.  Well, the saw just collected dust. I could cut pretty competently with my LV rip carcass saw, and actually could rip pretty well with my Bad Axe x-cut tenon saw as well. So, for me at least, the wenzloff was a pretty piece of art, but completely un-functional. The worst kind of tool. 


I needed to reset the teeth. I knew I had to do it, it just took me a year or so to grow a pair. I finally realized that if I screwed the saw up badly, it would just continue to do exactly what it had been doing, which was to go unused.

So, first I grabbed my saw set.  For some reason, my dad had an unused stanley saw set that I picked up last time I was in MD.  I gave the directions a quick read, and haphazardly set the depth and TPI setting.

According to my micrometer, we started with about .027 of set.. Although, frankly, it’s a little hard to measure really accurately. The saw plate is .025, so in any case, there is almost no set.

So, I went along and set each tooth to something *more* than what it was before. I’m not really sure what it was, and I didn’t really care. See, I had a trick up my sleeve. I read an article on how Mike Wenzloff uses a vise and paper to evenly set his saws. It’s worth reading, you can find it here.

Actually, reading that article again, it says that Mike puts about .002” of set on his saws, which lines up with my measurements pretty well. Well, I think .002 of set is WAY too little for me. 

So, wrap the blade in some paper (more than Mike suggests in that article because I want more set). Then stick that thing in the vise and crank down.

Anndddd???  I ended up with about .006 of set.  

Maybe that’s too much set, I don’t know. But the saw sure cuts a lot easier for me now. No binding at all.  Maybe I’ll reduce the set a little in the future, but at least I’m happy again.

Now it cuts as pretty as it looks.

– Matt

post-script: I looked on Lie-Nielsens website to see if I could find how much set they employ.. On their thin-plate tenon saw (.02), they claim the set should run between .004 and .006, so I’m right in line with them.