Introduction: How to Sharpen a Japanese Saw
Japanese pull saws. I love them!
After receiving my Japanese saw as an Instructables prize, and after using it for the past year, I feel it isn't as razor sharp as it was when I first received it.
You can think of a saw in a way where it's basically a holder for a several dozen teeth and every tooth of the saw is a chisel. You can strop the edge of a chisel frequently to keep it razor sharp constantly, or sharpen it and use until it's way too dull to use. Unlike a western saw, the teeth of a Japanese saw are hardened, meaning that they can't they can't be sharpened with a regular steel file and can't be remade completely, and you can't buy really miniature sharpening stones that will fit between the tiny teeth of the saw. So the only way of keeping a Japanese saw sharp is to never let it get dull - not hitting nails or staples - and re-sharpening it once in a while.
In this Instructable, I will show you how to sharpen Japanese pull saws by yourself.
Let's get started!
(Watch the YouTube video: LINK FOR MOBILE VIEWERS!)
Step 1: What You'll Need
Hardware, Materials & Consumables:
Rotary tool cloth wheels, there are many different kinds on eBay, but most cost <$0.25
Polishing compound (Chromium Oxide), $1 of this stuff on eBay will last forever
A vise with soft jaws (in my case, my homemade wooden vise)
A rotary tool or drill
Safety goggles or glasses
You also might want to wear some type of eye protection, since tiny bits of the compound do fly off of the wheel.
Step 2: Secure the Saw in a Vise
Since I can't really tell you in which way a rotary tool spins since it depends if you look at it from the front or from behind, I can only say that if you're able to drill a hole with a regular right-hand drill bit, clamp your pull saw with the teeth pointing to the left - the handle on your left.
If you clamp it the saw backward, the cloth wheel could catch, making a big mess or possibly even breaking a tooth, sending it flying off and possibly even killing a few germs when it lands.
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Step 3: Sharpen!
After appying some of the green compound onto the cloth wheel, move back and forth slowly with the Dremel at its lowest speed, just like you could sharpen any other tool.
I would recommend first experimenting on the teeth that are either the farthest or the closest from the handle, since if you accidentally do something wrong, such as over-sharpening them and removing too much of the tooth or anything else, since these are the teeth that are normally used the least when sawing.
If you don't stop you will slowly grind away the tooth!
I suppose you could also smear some compound onto a small piece of leather and move it from right to left by hand, but I will have to experiment with it more.
Step 4: Remove the Leftover Honing Compound
Some honing compound might get stuck between the teeth, and you want might to remove it unless, that is, you want free dark green paint on your projects!
I find that it can be removed easily with some toilet paper, but I suppose an air compressor could work better if you have one.
After they're all clean, you should be able to feel how sharp it is. PLEASE. DO. NOT. USE. SAW. AS. CHAIR.
Step 5: Use!
Look at what has been waiting for me! Butter! I mean what wood feels like when you use a sharp Japanese saw!
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I read ALL comments, and reply to as many as I can, so make sure to leave your questions, suggestions, tips, tricks, and any other ideas in the comments below! - Thanks!
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