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Sharpen a Rip Saw: 2 | Stone and Saw

Updated: Apr 26

I ran out of time last week. The teeth are filed, but I'm not done sharpening.

Stone the sides of the teeth

This step removes any small burrs that might be sticking out past the sides of the teeth. I also takes a little bit of set out of the teeth. I needed both.

It's important to use a durable abrasive here. These saw teeth will absolutely chew through a water stone. So I'm using my grandpa's old Black Arkansas Stone with a little bit of Simple Green as a lubricant.

You may also have noticed that a wrapped the off hand side of the stone with some blue tape. This keeps that edge of the stone from cutting anything other than the teeth.

Scrub the plate

My saw is pretty old and it's covered in small spots of corrosion. There's no way I'm ever getting all that off. But if I can smooth the surface of the plate a little bit, it's worth to make it slide more easily through the wood.

Use a fine hand block and stay away from the etch if you can still see it.

Protect the plate

This is just a little spray on bee's wax furniture polish. Wipe on. Wipe off.

Re-install the handle

Polish the saw nuts. Or don't. Just make sure the handle is secure. And try not strip any threads.


I get the feeling that ripping through 8/4 hard maple is challenging whether your saw is sharp or not.

This saw is definitely sharp. It actually seemed harder to push it through the stock than before. I could feel the teeth cutting through those fibers. Once I put a some paraffin on the plate, and found the right angle of attack, the work went a little more smoothly. Maybe a finer saw would be a better choice for this material... 🧐.

Check your work

Having a sharp saw did NOT make me a better sawyer. The cut wandered all over the place. I'm going to lay some of the blame on the set of the teeth. I can steer a back-saw just fine. But this panel saw was all over the road.

I'll see how it performs on milder stock. If that doesn't resolve the problem, maybe I'll try to hammer some set out the teeth.

Clean up the cut… or maybe not

The next step here is to grab a plane and bring the faces down to my gauge lines. But I don't think my Low Angle Jack is the right choice for this job.

I'll show you how to get set up with a better option in the next post.


Appearing in this video:

Classic Stanley Hand Tools T-Shirt - Dark Grey Heather - L

Time Timer Home MOD - 60 Minute*

Scotch Blue Tape #2090*

Spray Bee's Wax

Grandpa's Arkansas Stones

Wera 335 Slotted Screwdriver - 1.0x5.5x125*

Blue Tinted Paraffin - Shop Made

Items noted with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links. You'll pay the same price and support my work when I receive a small commission from the retailer.

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