December 25, 2012

Daggett "Machine for Sharpening Handsaws"

This is a very different hand saw grinder, patented by Byron G. Daggett, in use at a saw shop in Oregon. It uses an abrasive wheel and does both bevels in one pass. It's amazing to watch.

YouTube of Daggett's hand saw sharpener

Byron G. Daggett 1943 patent

Byron G. Daggett 1959 patent

December 16, 2012

Early Foley Saw Filer

Recently a reader sent photos of a very early Foley filer that came from his great-grandparent's homestead in the American West around 1900.  He believes that it was used to sharpen butcher's saws in the ranch's slaughterhouse.  It will accommodate a saw blade up to 1-5/8 inch wide and uses approximately a 4 inch file.  He disassembled, cleaned, and lubricated the filer, and says it cranks smoothly.  The filer is missing part of the saw vise, but it shouldn't be difficult to make one.  As the last photo shows, the name plate lacks a model or patent number, indicating it's probably the first filer Foley produced.  Link to Google Patents for patent application for this machine.           

December 10, 2012

The Foley Hammer Saw Set

In 1932 Foley was granted US Patent No. 1,851,773 for a trip hammer saw set.   It must not have been a big seller, and appears to be have been expensive to manufacture.  Here is patent information: Directory of American Tool and Machinery Patents

One of them just sold on eBay: Foley HAMMER SAWSET

Here is patent information via Google: Patent 1,851,773

September 3, 2012

Foley Model 61 Filer Sash Spring Replacement

The Model 61 saw filer have 2 coil springs that provide a recoil to what Foley calls the cam shaft assembly.  Apparently this helps maintain the rotary motion. The springs are number 50 on the parts list, and they fit over the vertical slide rods, parts 51 and 52.
These springs can break after 50 years, but replacement is easy.  Remove the motor, motor bracket, and flywheel.  Then take the wing frame off and place it on a workbench.  Remove the set screws at the bottoms of the slide rods.  Turn the wing frame upside down and carefully drive the slide rods out with a punch or other tool that won’t damage the rods.  The tops of the slide rods are knurled for a force fit, and this prevents the rods from being driven through from the top.
The rods are 5/8” and off-the-shelf 7/8” O.D. x 4” springs were a good fit, but they have a couple fewer coils than the originals.  I don’t know the original uncompressed length. 
Fit the springs in position, wipe the rods clean, and slide them back in.  Use a soft face hammer or center punch to drive the rods the last inch.  When they are approximately flush at the top, install the set screws.
While you have the wing frame off, take a look at the slide block on the other side.  It’s exactly square, so if it has visible wear it can be rotated a quarter turn to eliminate the free play.  The slide block is attached with a reverse-thread shoulder screw.  Mine took a little grinding with 400 grit paper to get it to fit.  Put plenty of grease on it.
Speaking of grease, the flywheel is the only major bearing without an oil cup, so put grease on the shaft before reinstalling it.
After getting the filer back together, run it by hand enough times to be sure everything’s working correctly.     

July 14, 2012

LED Lighting for Saw Filers and the Workshop

LED light bulbs are now developed enough to use them in machine lights for saw filers and other task lighting in the workshop.  The advantages of LED bulbs are low electricity consumption, long life, durability, and the ability to be turned on and off many times without shortening their lives.  In addition, LEDs are directional lights, which is what you want for a machine light.  This is why LEDs were used first in flashlights and then in floodlights.
The machine lights that Foley sold as accessories include these:
Fixed light (socket and shade) for the Model 61 and earlier filers
Gooseneck light with Bakelite-type shade 4-3/8” I.D. for earlier Model 387 filers
Gooseneck light with metal shade 3-1/2” I.D. for later Model 387 and SF1000 filers
Many newer houses have recessed lights that use incandescent or halogen floodlight bulbs.  LED bulbs designed for these fixtures are now widely available, and these are ideal for workshop task lighting.  The PAR style bulbs have flat ends, and BR style bulbs have curved ends with a wider beam spread (about 120 degrees).  Both styles come in several diameters, as follows:
PAR16 and BR16 2” diameter
PAR20 and BR20 2-1/2” diameter
PAR30 and BR30 3-3/4” diameter
PAR38 and BR38 4-3/4” diameter (probably too large and heavy for this use)

In addition, LED bulbs that give omnidirectional lighting like the conventional incandescent bulb are now available in wattages equivalent to 60 watts and higher.  This is the A19 style bulb.’s LED bulbs category  has 11,500 items, making selecting LED bulbs very challenging.  To make the job easier, I bought these 2 Ecosmart bulbs at Home Depot and 2 Feit Electric bulbs at Costco.  I looked for the highest wattages and lumens for the lowest price, and also read reviews:
Ecosmart PAR20 daylight (cool color), 8 watts, 50 watt equivalent,  420 lumens, no. ECS 20 CW FL 120, $21.97
Feit Electric BR30 soft white (warm color), 13 watts, 65 watt equivalent, 750 lumens, no. BPCEBR30/DM/LED, $17.89
Ecosmart A19 brilliant white (less warm), 13 watts, 60 watt equivalent, 850 lumens, no. ECS A19 V2 WW 120, $23.97
Feit Electric A19 soft white (warm), 13.5 watts, 60 watt replacement, 850 lumens, no. BPCEA19/OM800/LED, $15.99
My conclusions are that the PAR20 and BR30 bulbs can be used with the Foley machine lights.  The PAR20 I bought is lower wattage, but the bulb’s focused beam makes up for that.  The BR30 provides sufficient light with good distribution of the beam.  I prefer the soft/warm color over the daylight/cool color.  It’s easier to make a cool colored LED, but LED bulbs are now available in a range of colors.
Both A19 bulbs give sufficient light for workshop or home, and the color is a pleasant warm, what we think of as “natural” from an incandescent bulb.  Because they are designed to give light in all directions, I don’t recommend them for fixtures where floodlights could be substituted.  At $15.99 the Feit bulb is a bargain at Costco (I am not a member but went with a friend).  I will probably buy more of these soon.
All these bulbs get hot in operation, and have plastic fins which act as heat sinks.     

Light from PAR20 LED
Light from BR30 LED

Replacement Flywheel Handle for F-61 Saw Filer

The original handle on the Model 61 saw filer is a small steel one that can be uncomfortable to use frequently.  When I cleaned up a filer whose handle was damaged, I searched for a plastic substitute, ideally with a sturdy 3/8 inch stud and an internal bearing or bushing.  Grainger’s does not have one.  Carr Lane makes what they call a revolving handle that looked ideal, but I found something else I could order from Amazon. It’s Custom Accessories’ Heavy Duty Steering Wheel Spinner.  The wheel spinner has a 9mm socket screw that goes through the handle to attach it to a clamp.  The screw head is hidden by a threaded plastic cap.
After removing the flywheel, I drilled out the original handle from the back with a 3/8 inch bit.  I swapped the metric bolt for a 3/8-24 x 2 inch hex bolt.  There is enough room in the handle’s recess for a deep thinwall socket.  I installed the handle with a nut on each side of the flywheel.  Use a good lock washer, Loctite, or locking nut to keep the handle from coming loose.

June 24, 2012

Adding a Switch Box to Model 61 & Older Saw Filers

Adding a front-mounted switch box will make your Model 61 and earlier filer easier and safer to operate.  The 1725 rpm motors used on saw filers have a tiny space for a toggle switch and wiring.  This space is usually too small for a new switch and power cord.  However, many motors also have a front knockout sized for ½ inch electrical fittings.  This makes it possible to attach a full-sized electrical box with plenty of room for wiring and your choice of a switch.  The required parts listed below are readily available:
Rectangular steel box with ½ inch knockouts
½ inch box spacer
Blank cover
16 or 14 gauge stranded insulated wire rated for 110-120 volts
Crimp style terminals
Toggle switch of sufficient amperage
Grounding screw
16 or 14 gauge 3 wire power cord with oil resistant cover (the cord from an old power strip or surge protector may be ideal and cheap)  
The steps are:
1. Be certain that you have all required knowledge and skills necessary; otherwise use an electrician.  In addition, I recommend that your filer be connected to a GFCI receptacle or breaker at all times.  Disconnect the power cord.
2. Drill the center of the blank cover for the switch you selected.  Install the switch in the cover.
3. Pry out the knockout on the motor and remove the side cover which holds the old switch.  Disconnect the switch and remove the old wiring and power cord, noting which terminals are hot and neutral.  Many of the nuts are an odd size, 11/32 inch, so a nut driver this size helps (Sears has them).
3. Remove the nuts from the box spacer and screw it into the motor’s knockout.  Do not over-tighten.  If your motor lacks female threads, use the nut furnished with the box spacer.
4. Turning to the new box, punch out the rear center knockout and a side knockout for the power cord.  Install the grounding screw and a clamp for the power cord.
5. Use the stranded insulated wire and ring terminals to make connections from the switch to the motor.  The power cord black wire connects to the switch.  Another black wire goes from switch to the motor’s hot terminal.  The power cord white wire goes to the motor’s neutral terminal.  The power cord’s green wire goes to the ground screw in the box, with another green ground wire going the motor housing (not shown in photos).  All connections should be made with ring terminals of the correct size for wire and terminal posts.
6. After double checking everything, assemble the cover to the box, making sure no bare connections are touching each other or a ground.  Replace the original cover on the side of the motor.  Ideally this hole should be plugged.  Notice the plug on the left side of the box I used (the box was already on hand).        

May 4, 2012

How to Buy User-Quality Classic Hand Saws

Link to article
Most readers of this blog probably know how to find old saws, but other guys may not.  I wrote this after reading another article on the subject that I came across on WoodNet.  Like my other articles, I suggest seeing what others have to say about any tool related topic.  Then find what works for you.

March 23, 2012

The simplest improvement you can make to any Foley saw filer

You clamp a saw in the saw carrier in its approximate position.  Then you loosen a clamp to adjust the saw, the clamp falls down, and you swear.  Make the saw carrier clamps spring loaded and they will stay up by themselves (bottom photo).  Use your cuss words for something else.  Use a 3/8" diameter spring, cut it to about 1/4" to 3/8" long, slip a 1/4" flat washer and the spring over the carriage bolt as shown in the top photo.  The washer keeps the spring from slipping through the slot.  If the spring and washer create too much friction, shorten the spring a little or use a brass washer.  

March 20, 2012

Sources for taper saw files

As most of you know, finding good quality taper saw files is a challenge.  If taper saw files are still made in the US, I am not aware of it, but those were top quality.  New old stock American and Canadian made files do show up on eBay and at flea markets, and sometimes can be purchased with saw filers.  Some of the US file manufacturers were Nicholson (including Black Diamond and Arcade), Simonds, Johnson, Heller Brothers, Lenox, Disston, Atkins, Lutz, K&F, and Delta.  These makers also packaged saws for store brands and wholesalers like Sears, Wards, Western Auto, Keen Kutter, and Belknap.  Grobet made taper saw files in Canada.  

The complete 1976 Simonds file catalog is available in 2 parts on this site.  Taper saw files are in the American pattern section.

Some sources for new files are:
Any local hardware store.  I am in mine several times a month and did not realize they had a few US made 6" double extra slims until recently, so I bought them all.

Indoor and outdoor flea markets can also be good sources for US made files of all kinds.  There are usually several files in almost every toolbox I check, and taper saw files show up regularly.  Even with toolbox knocks and a bit of rust, they are well worth the $1 or $2 each I have paid.  Also, if you have an antique tool club near you, join and attend meetings, as other members are good sources for files.

Heller Brothers Nucut files box

March 18, 2012

How to find a Foley saw filer on Craigslist

I have decided to open-source the Google search I developed for Craigslist ads.  Put this into the Google search box, changing the date as explained below: tls foley|belsaw 2012-03-14

You will have to change the date to search for ads posted each day.  I start with the current date and work backwards.  "tls" is the Craigslist abbreviation for the Tools category.  This is necessary for the search to work, but if you want to search other categories for other items, just change the abbreviation.  "foley|belsaw" searches for either word in the ad.

I developed this search after trying the Craigslist searches published on the internet, and as far as I can tell you get far better results and the most current ads with it.  The only drawback, other than having to change the date, is that it doesn't pull in ads from some cities.  I have no idea why.  You will have to experiment and see if it's pulling in all cities near you.  If not, just search that Craigslist for "foley|belsaw".

So far I have found 4 Model 61 filers and 3 Model 387 filers, 6 through Craigslist and one at an out-of-state auction.  My first Craigslist filer came from the next state, 2 from the next nearest cities to the north and east, and the rest locally.  One of those I found as I ran the Google search and was surprised to see my city pop up.  It was NOT my goal to buy 7 filers - several were package deals, to get a retoother or setter or just boxes of NOS saw files.  My average price was $31.60 for 13 machines and $1 each for files.

If you are looking for a saw filer, retoother, or setter, they are out there in garages, sheds, and basements.  Be patient, keep looking, and good luck!

If you are selling sharpening equipment, please contact me and I will post your ad with photos free on this site. 

March 17, 2012

February 19, 2012

Learning the Foley Model 61 Saw Filer

Posting has been infrequent as I learn to use the Foley Model 61 filer.  After a difficult start on a couple of 8 and 9 point saws, I realized that it's much easier to learn on saws with big teeth.  That sounds obvious, but neither the manuals nor the Foley SF-1000 filer video say this.  Jointing is also much easier to learn than bevel filing, of course.

So I dug through the saw pile, found a couple of 7-point crosscuts and some rip saws, and started filing.  Soon, I got to the point where I felt I had learned the basics.  After much more practice jointing, I learned additional techniques that are not mentioned in the manual.  Others are mentioned in the manual, but make much more sense after trying them.

I will be posting more details later, but here are some brief suggestions for learning the filer, specifically Model 61:

-Find practice saws, 5 to 7 point, with teeth that are regular and properly shaped.  Eventually you will learn how to handle misshaped, irregular, and broken teeth, but don't try to learn this in the beginning.

-Use American made files, which will take more abuse than foreign files.  Saw files wear on the edges, and may still cut on the sides but not cut on the edge.  If the file gets slightly warm, that edge is dead.  Mark worn edges with a Sharpie.   

-Adjusting the feed rate will be very important when learning.  I had to concentrate on that for the first few weeks, and was writing down how many turns of Screw H were needed for different points.  Now, I hardly think about it.  In general, when jointing, you want to start with a higher feed rate, then back it off as the teeth become regular.  If the feed rate is a little too high the file will hit the back of the tooth too hard, but won’t break it.  If the feed rate is too low the file can hit the point of the tooth and wipe it out.     

-Don’t try to learn on saws with harder steel.  Based on my experience so far, these include almost all Disston No. 16s and some Disston D-12s.  I have not tried Disston D-15s or D-115s, but I expect these would be hard steel as well.  Disston No. 7s, No. 12s, and most other saws file beautifully.  Of course you want to learn on cheap saws, but some of Disston’s private label saws (Warranted Superior medallions) were also made from hard steel like the No. 16s.   

-Currently I’m having a problem filing the heels of Disston D-8s.  Due to the handle location, the heel sits much closer to the end of the carrier, and the feed pawl tends to push the saw down rather than forward.  Eventually I’ll find a solution and post it.