Thursday, November 26, 2020

Vise Maintenance, Redux

Happy Thanksgiving to all you woodies out there.

Back in January, I wrote a post about maintaining your vise.  I had cleaned up the half nut and everything else I could access and it seemed to work OK.  But I didn't pull the fixed jaw off the vise.   Since that time, I've had further issues with the Record #53E, where it is difficult to pull the front jaw out or push it in.  So I pulled it off the bench and this time I removed the fixed jaw.

The vise disassembled

The two guide bars slide through holes in the fixed jaw.  They are a not supposed to be a tight fit.  But over the months, sawdust and 3-in-1 oil have combined to clog up what space there is between the bars and the holes in the jaw.

Some gunk partially removed

Over time, I would occasionally put a little 3-in-1 oil on the guide bars to help them slide better.  But I'm thinking that's not the best choice, as sawdust will readily mix with the oil and gum up the works.  If anybody cares to comment, I would be interested in knowing a better lubricant for this application.  What might woodworkers have used years ago?  Today, I thoroughly cleaned up the holes and the guide bars and then waxed the guide bars.

Guide bars getting waxed

While I had it apart, the half nut needed a little cleaning, and that was done with a dental tool and brass wire brush.


Here's a trick I learned somewhere that I love!  This vise is heavy and I'm not getting any younger.  To remove and reinstall the vise, I clamp an L-shaped piece in the jaw so that the longer end can rest on the benchtop.

L-shaped piece clamped in vise

This makes it MUCH easier to handle the vise.  Before reinstalling the vise, clamp the L-shaped piece in the jaws, rest the long leg of the piece on the workbench, and the vise is self-supporting.

Look ma, no bolts

That's it.  The vise is working beautifully now.  I just didn't go far enough back in January.  Lesson learned.  Again, if anybody knows of a better lubricant for the guide bars (as well as the half-nut), please let me know.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Stanley #42 Saw Set, Part 2: Fixing the Casting

Look here for the first post in this series.

This post investigates the relative position of the hammer of the saw set and the saw's teeth.  In the following picture, you can see that the top of the hammer is at about the same height as the top of the saw tooth.

Setting a tooth: note position of hammer on the tooth

Close-up of the above pic

This is how I believe it is supposed to be.  However this saw set had a little problem.  After setting thousands of teeth, a groove was worn in the underside of the casting.  I suspect this is a common problem among old saw sets.

Dental tool pointing to the groove worn into the casting

That groove is in the middle of a flat area that is meant to rest on the teeth while using the saw set.  In the next picture, I've placed a ruler on the flat part (not in the groove) and the top of the hammer is just about even with the top of the ruler.  Think of the top of the ruler as the line representing the tips of the teeth.

Top of hammer at top of ruler (toothline)

But the groove worn into the casting changes things.  In effect, it raises the toothline relative to the hammer, so the hammer sits lower.

With the ruler (representing the toothline) in the groove, ...

... the hammer sits about 1/32" below the top of the ruler

This problem is why, when setting teeth, one should pick up the set rather than dragging it across to the next tooth.

Here's how it was fixed.

Mixed up a little J-B Weld and filled the groove ...

... when it dried, leveled it with chisel, file and/or sandpaper

This worked well, but after setting the teeth on a saw, the groove is reforming.  I guess the J-B Weld is just too soft.

Tooth marks in the filled groove

I had to use some epoxy the other day, so I left some extra to dry on a piece of plastic.  The next day it seemed harder than the J-B Weld.  Perhaps that would've been a better choice.  If anybody reading this has another solution, I'd love to hear about it.

Last thing about the #42 saw set: there is too much room between the saw plate and the saw plate brace (the part contacting the saw plate in next photo).

Saw plate being "clamped" in the saw set

The saw plate does not actually get clamped in the set.  When the hammer engages the saw tooth, the plate is forced at an angle until it contacts the saw plate brace.  I don't know if the angle at which the set bends a tooth takes this into account.

I know the Stanley #42X solves this problem.  In that set, when the handle is squeezed, the saw plate brace moves forward to clamp the plate, then the hammer moves forward to set the tooth.

For now though, I'm happy with how it works.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Stanley #42 Saw Set, Part 1: How It Works

This post will be mostly about how the Stanley #42 saw set works, but I'll also show a little about what I did to clean it up.  I bought it a couple years ago and with the work I've done recently on some old saws, I finally got to try it out.

Stanley #42 Saw Set

9-26 & 12-19-16

Inside the moveable handle

I saw a picture of another #42 and it had "STANLEY No 42" inside the moveable handle.  So it's likely this one should read the same, but anything to the right of the "Y" is not legible.  Shortly after I got the #42, I read that the 42X is a better saw set.  Oh well, it's what I've got, so I'll make the most of it.  Here it is, all taken apart and cleaned up.

Cleaned parts

I don't know the proper names for some of the parts, but I'll make an educated guess.  The parts are (in no particular order):

A: the main casting, including fixed handle

B: the moveable handle

C: (or "H" - oops) the hammer, or plunger

D: The anvil

D1: threaded rod for clamping the anvil in place

E: Saw plate brace

F: Anvil adjusting screw

G: Anvil clamp nut and spring (the unlabeled washer is used with these, too)

H: see C (the letter H was a mistake)

I: assembly pins

J: handle spring

The moveable handle is attached to the main casting with the larger of the three pins.  After the handle is pulled, the spring (J) pushes it back to its starting position.

Moveable handle attached to casting with right-most pin

The spring, in position

Part E, the saw plate brace held in place with the two smaller pins

Part E serves two functions.  First, the saw plate rests against it when the saw teeth are being set.

Saw plate held against the saw plate brace during the setting operation

Second, it acts as a "keeper" for the hammer, which sits just above it inside the main casting.  The back end of the hammer has a semi-cylindrical cutout into which the upper (cylindrical) end of the moveable handle fits.

View of the bottom of the hammer with its round cutout

When the handle is squeezed, the moveable handle pivots on the large pin and the upper cylindrical part of the handle pushes the hammer forward.

Dental tool pointing to the hammer, upper part of moveable handle at right

The hammer then squeezes the saw tooth against the anvil, bending the tooth.  The anvil and the hammer have a matching angle where they meet.

Hammer and anvil viewed from above the business end of the #42

Ready to squeeze the handle

Squeeze the handle, hammer moves forward, pressing tooth against anvil

The anvil is vertically adjustable to allow more or less of a tooth to be set.  My understanding is that it is supposed to be just the top 1/3 to 1/2 of a tooth that gets set.  The adjustable anvil allows the user to set this to their liking.

Anvil adjusting screw has a flange (right word?) that engages a slot in the anvil.
Anvil clamping nut (left-most) holds the anvil in place after it has been adjusted.

Adjusting screw and clamp nut removed.
Note the four marks on the anvil for setting its height repeatably.

I didn't get any pictures of it, but the threaded rod extending to the left in the above picture screws into the back of the anvil.  The rod fits through a vertical slot, allowing it to change position vertically as the adjuster screw is turned.

Picture with clean parts (ignore the ruler at right)

Note position of hammer with anvil adjusted up high ...

... versus position of hammer when anvil is lowered

This can allow the user to apply less or more set to a saw, or to set larger versus smaller teeth.  But there is a limit to how small a tooth this can set.  The hammer is about 0.091" wide (about 3/32") where it contacts the saw teeth and that would be too large for setting small teeth.  I can't tell you how small is too small - I'll figure that out when I get more experience with this saw set.

This post is getting long, so next time I'll write about the position of the tops of the teeth relative to the top of the hammer.  I'll also cover how I "fixed" the main casting to have the tooth tops in the proper position.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Sharpening Crosscut Saws

I've been sharpening my saws for several years now.  And while I get the crosscut saws to cut well, I usually get some uneven teeth, so I know the saws can probably perform better.  In this post, I describe how I had more success.  In these first pictures, the saw is held a couple of inches above a piece of white paper and a light (the dark, curved feature at the top of these photos is a lamp) is reflecting off the paper.  This really gets the teeth to show up well.

At first glance, the teeth look fine ...

... but look closer and you see shallow gullets ...

... and one tooth that is way shorter than the rest

There were also some spacing issues - some gullets were wider than others, making the distances from the tooth points irregular.

I've found that, just as with woodworking, a careful, structured approach is what works for me.  Don't rush it and get it right.  First up is to joint the teeth so there is a flat on EVERY tooth.  That means I had to remove enough metal to get down to the level of that short tooth.

My sawtooth jointing file holder

Filing the tops

Unequal size of flats indicates irregularly shaped teeth

So to do the sharpening, I first marked the shallow gullets and did some filing there to get them a little more even with the rest.

Marking the shallow gullets (look at that one second from the left!)

Then I used a paper template for the proper tooth spacing.  It's stuck to the plate with a little double sided tape applicator that my wife uses for scrapbooking.  It applies small dots of adhesive that are perfect for this!

12 tpi template taped to plate

Then I got to sharpening.  In the past, I'd give 2-3 stokes of the file in every other gullet, turn the saw around and use 2-3 strokes in the other gullets.  And I'd always get "cows and calves", even when I just removed the flats.  This time, I made a single stroke with the file and checked the flats.  Then made another single stroke in each gullet and checked the flats.  I worked carefully to sneak up on removing the flats, while keeping the points lined up with the template.

Looks pretty good

And here's the result.  The gullet depth and tooth spacing is not perfect, but it's much better.

Final result looks very good

One last thing here.  Most of what I've read about sharpening crosscut saws says to file every other gullet from one side, then turn the saw around and file the remaining gullets from the other side.  I didn't do that this time.  I saw a video of an old shipwright sharpening a crosscut saw all from one side.  I thought I'd give it a try and it is far more efficient.  With my old method, turning the saw around to switch sides means unclamping and turning my whole saw vise around.  Then I have to change my file to another position in the file holding / alignment jig.  Filing every gullet from the same side speeds up the process immensely.  And I have not noticed any difference in the quality of the filing or of the resulting cut.