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Smashedfinger

A good file for dovetail saws

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I recently researched the same topic. Paul Sellers did a couple blog entries with file reviews. Recommened against Nicholson, suggested Bahco as his personal choice. I think Lee Valley carries them.

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1 hour ago, wtnhighlander said:

I recently researched the same topic. Paul Sellers did a couple blog entries with file reviews. Recommened against Nicholson, suggested Bahco as his personal choice. I think Lee Valley carries them.

Yes, that's what Lee Valley has. I bought a set and talked to them about it last year. Still haven't gotten around to sharpening the saws...

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I live close enough to L.N. to mail them and have them do it for me. It takes about a week. I was on their website the other day and they now have back saw blades to practice sharpening on. Not cheap, but you get a set of different teeth profiles to practice on. It's definitely a skill worth having. 

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FWIW, Rockler also offers sharpening for blades and saws of all types. It is done by way of a vendor (at least it is at the store I work at- Minnetonka, MN. And I assume it works the same at all other locations) where it takes about a week to get your order back.

For handsaws, pricing is based on the length and tooth count of the saw. 

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Those will work fine.  Saw sharpening is kind of like riding a bicycle.  It's easy once you get a feel for it.  Sharpening a saw is not a long job.   You do need good lighting, and good sight.  If your vision is not the best, use whatever help you need.  Buy a junker saw to practice on to start with, and don't try to take shortcuts. 

Joint first, and use the little flat to judge how much to take off.  Ideally, you want to take half of the jointed flat off the top of a tooth going one way, and the other half after you turn the saw around, and go the other way.

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Saw files come in different sizes, and the size to use depends somewhat on tooth size. Select a file that, when inserted in the gullet, the point of the tooth comes to about 45% of the width of the file. For your saw that could be anything from a needle file to a 5-6 inch extra slim or slim. The idea is to get the best use of your file you do not want to use more than 1/2 of the face or you will wear out the file before you can use all 3 corners. OTOH, Using a file that is too big gives you a very wide gullet, not good for fine teeth. Saw plates are pretty tough and modern files poorly made.

Shop old tool sites and buy NOS files from 50+ years ago and you will get good files. New Nicholson are junk. I used to think highly of Bahco but no longer.  Even with a good file you should not expect more than a few saw rehabs but you can get many quick sharpenings. Paul Sellers has a lot to say on this topic.

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