Saturday, June 25, 2011
This simple saw vise took about 30 minutes to build from scraps. The upper and lower spacers provide clearance for saw handles and backsaw spines. The halves are hinged with squares of leather.
In his videos about sharpening rip and crosscut saws, Tom Lie-Nielsen uses a simple plywood saw vise that he says they use every day in the saw shop. It sits on the screw and guide rails of a bench vise and grips the edge of the saw for filing. I like its simplicity and ease of use for both tiny backsaws and large panel saws.
I made mine 8"x18". That's larger than necessary for joinery backsaws, but accommodates my largest rip saw. It's made from 1/2" plywood and 3/4" pine. Since I have a leg vise on my Roubo workbench rather than a bench vise with guide rods, I added cleats to the sides, 4 1/2" from the bottom edge; they sit on the top of the bench and leg vise chop to support the saw vise when the leg vise is loose. They also work well with my bench-on-bench.
Cutting the sides from 1/2" plywood.
Ripping a pine 1x2 (actual dimensions 3/4"x1 1/2") down the middle for the upper spacers.
Nailing on an upper spacer; the lower spacer is 3/4"x1 1/4". The spacers are also glued on.
A sharp chisel makes a good leather cutter.
Nailing a leather hinge onto the lower spacers.
Nailing on a side cleat.
With the saw vise clamped into the leg vise, chamfering the outside edges and planing the spacers down even. Other than good mating surfaces, there's not much precision required here.
My largest saw clamped up for sharpening. The bottom edge of the handle just sits on the lower spacer, leaving the teeth exposed for filing, but fully gripped by the upper spacer to minimize vibration (i.e. SCREECHING as you run the file across).
My smallest backsaw, a fine LN dovetail saw, going in for sharpening. You can see how the cleats on the sides support the saw vise when the leg vise is loose.
This vise also works well with my bench-on-bench, bringing the sharpening work up to a good height so I don't have to stoop over. Again, the cleats support the saw vise when the twin-screw vise is loose.
Sharpening saws is easy, only takes about 10 minutes and well worth the time, but is a bit close and tedious. A 26"-long saw plate filed at 6 PPI has 156 little teeth, and a 9" backsaw plate at 15 PPI has 135! A decent saw vise is a big help.