Sharpening a Veneer Saw

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Sharpening a Veneer Saw

When your crosscut veneer saw becomes dull, buy a replacement blade. These blades can be sharpened and reset, but believe me, folks, it isn't worth it. I do have a saw set and some very fine files. Had I the eyesight and the patience, I still wouldn't sharpen a saw blade that can be replaced that cheaply. 

Don't throw away that old blade, however; it can be used to convert a veneer saw to a ripsaw. To do this, I mount the blade in a vise with a small stick backing it so that the jaws won't flatten the countersink screw holes. Then with a triangular file I reshape the teeth. 

Notice the teeth of the blade in Illus. V-1. They are crosscut teeth, tilting forward. Now notice the teeth that I have reshaped in Illus. V-2. They are shaped like equilateral triangles, pointing in no particular direction. The teeth will rip veneer very well; they will also crosscut very well. In addition they can be pushed or pulled across the veneer with equal cutting action. 

In reshaping the teeth, it is a good practice to keep your thumb on top of the file, feeling the flat area. The cutting angle of the teeth can then be easily sensed and held in place by the position of the wrist. 

After filing the teeth, form and sharpen the knife-type cutting edge. For this I used a belt sander with a worthless-for wood-belt installed. Even if you don't have a belt sander, a bench stone will work-if you have the time. You want to form a bevel of about 15° on the side of the blade that will be opposite the straight edge. With the saw's blade sharpened thus, the veneer under the straightedge will be prepared for a joint with no need to use a shooting block. (A shooting block is a jig that holds the veneer securely and provides a guide surface to hold a hand plane square and true.) Considering the 15° cutting angle, even the side of the veneer opposite the straightedge will be ready for jointing with only a pass or two of the shooting block. 

Caution: Keep a can of water handy. If you use a belt sander to grind the bevel, dip the blade into the water frequently to keep the blade from turning blue or burning your fingers.

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