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