How to cut old saw blades

    I need to figure out how to cut a saw blade to make a set of knives for a friend. I figure a 90 or 100 year old back saw is good metal. I've burned
up several cutting disks on my Dremel with nor have discernable progress and I stripped the teeth off a hack saw blade in a few minutes. The only other thing I have thought of his finding someone with a water jet to cut them for me but that kind of kills the handmade thing.      Thanks Andrew
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An abrasive cutoff wheel in an angle grinder or on a table saw should work, although it will remove the temper along the cut line. Naturally you should clean all the sawdust out of a table saw before doing this, and shield the motor and bearings.
You can cut straight lines more quickly by scoring them with the disk and bending the metal over an edge, like cutting glass.
Annealing it is best. Then you can saw and file any shape you want. A 100 year old saw is probably water-hardening steel but oil should also work since it's thin.
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Not sure what kind of blades you are using in your dremel, but I have had good luck with the ones that look like fiberglass and abrasive grit, and I have had crummy luck with the ones that just look like abrasive grit only.
A metal cutting blade on a band saw MIGHT work, but I am not really sure about the differences in hardness involved. It would be cool if you could use this though as it would not get the metal as hot during cutting.
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Having use both types, the advantage with the thick ones is that they don't break easily while the thin ones cut a much narrower kerf and don't heat the metal very much. [I use them to cut off bolt heads, screws, etc.]
This is one of those applications where a flex shaft earns its keep since it's easier to guide for long, straight cuts by simply using a 1" board as both a guide and a rest.
For really hard stuff: <http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber1501> <http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?ItemnumberA741>
Yes, I like diamonds for steel...they work better.
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I didn't have any of the fiberglass ones until you mentioned it and they seem to work great. It's a bit odd that the all grit ones just grind away, although I did notice that the Hardware store had several grades of those disks and I just have the ones that came with my Dremel.
Thank you, Andrew Kolb
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I don't know what kind of hacksaw you have. I have cut up many blades using a power Porta Band, a metal cutting band saw, a jig saw. The blades were meant to be sharpened by hand with a file, they just aren't that hard.
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I have cut up many many worn out blades fo a Skill type saw. A circular saw blade. Andrew was refering to a "back saw" blade, an entirely different animal. A circular saw blade MUST be softer metal so it can expand as it comes up to speed. Otherwise it would eventually explode.
A hand saw, however, is very hard, and stiff. Remember when hand saw blades were played with a bow and made beautiful music? Only when teeth are soft enough to be sharpened and set to saw a kerf, or is it a cerf? Spell checker doesn't like either!
A back saw is a hand saw with a stiffening piece of metal on the top to make it even stronger. They are usually used with a miter box to cut molding at angles. I have never thought of cutting up any hand saw.
Paul
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Compared to -what-?
I've got coping, crosscut (carpenter's, 1-man, and 2-man), rip, miter [aka back], dovetail, keyhole, hack, bow, and pull saws ranging from 1 month to 100 years old and none are harder or stiffer than a good Nicholson file.
Would you care to guess what I usually use to sharpen them before using a nail set and a tack hammer to set the teeth?
--
I used to be an anarchist but had to give it up: _far_ too many rules.

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scrawled the following:

None is even _close_ to being hardened, with the exception of induction hardened teeth on some bow saw blades.

You don't have a real saw set? JFC, what's eBay smoking? <http://cgi.ebay.com/ANTIQUE-SAW-SET_W0QQitemZ110310355015QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item110310355015&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparmsr%3A1205%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318 Here ya go: http://tinyurl.com/5zojzn (same as the monstrosity above)
-- When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary. -- Thomas Paine
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'Depends on how old it is. I have a fine-tooth Sandvik crosscut saw from the early '50s that can't be sharpened with a file -- I have to use a slipstone. I also can't set it with my hand-held sawblade set. I have to use a punch and anvil. And my dovetail saw from the 1880s is the same way. It's made of Caststeel and, by my estimate, is around 68 Rc.
I have a book from the '60s or '70s around here somewhere, maybe Weyger's _The Making of Tools_, or maybe it was in a _Fine Woodworking_ book, on making carving tools, that discusses using old saw blades for material. It says to use an abrasive wheel on a tablesaw. I've never tried it.
-- Ed Huntress

<http://cgi.ebay.com/ANTIQUE-SAW-SET_W0QQitemZ110310355015QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item110310355015&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparmsr%3A1205%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318
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Yabut you'd never want to mangle either one just to make a couple of knives.
They're far too valuable as they are! <GRIN>

Rather than using an abrasive wheel in a table saw unnecessarily, I use abrasive wheels in hand-held tools: Dremel/Foredom rotary tools, pneumatic rotary tools, and angle ginders.
Each type provides a higher rotational speed and, often, a thinner kerf.
No, I'm NOT a member of the Rotary Club... <GRIN>

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Darned straight. d8-)

I use those too, and bigger ones on my serious die grinder. And I have cut an old saw blade that way, to make a filet knife. I've also used them to cut my big collection of Sandvik HSS power hacksaw blades. (Don't ask how I got over 100 of them. <g>)
It's very slow and tedious, but it does work. I break some wheels while cutting curves.
-- Ed Huntress
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On Sun, 16 Nov 2008 12:13:07 -0500, "Ed Huntress"

I am a very satisfied user of 1 mm cutoff blades in a 125 mm angle grinder, they last much longer than thicker blades and cut faster. I have a few 3 mm blades left which will probably never be used.
    Alan
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I did, and it works reasonably well. I found an old Sears 8" table saw with a fixed saw arbor and moving table for it. The arbor drive pulley is on the outside, allowing the motor to be mounted well out of the way of abrasive grit. It's belted 1:1 to a 1/4 HP 1725 RPM motor and so far hasn't exploded when the cutting disk binds. One did on the surface grinder.
Usually I leave a wood blade on this saw and cut large thin steel with an abrasive blade in a hand-held circular saw, which is considerably faster but not as precise. My old Linde plasma cutter burns up consumables too quickly for simple jobs.
Michael, Weyger's books have his own version of a home-made metal lathe but he assumes you have a forge and some smithing skill.
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On Sun, 16 Nov 2008 09:24:10 -0500, the infamous "Ed Huntress"

I believe that Sandvik led the way in engineering the induction hardening technique. (Read it somewhere waaaaay back.)
All the cheaper new saws have induction hardened teeth so they can use a cheaper steel in the saw blade and so they're throw-aways. They can't be sharpened conventionally.

Old handsaw blades have been used to make cabinet scrapers for eons. It's good steel. I don't recall every trying to hacksaw any, though. And I've bent my share of cheap handsaws. Once I found eBay, I finally got some nice Disston crosscuts and Atkins ripsaurs.
If anyone is interested, I recently got an ad from the Journal of Light Construction. Their 3-decade archived set of magaziness on DVD is on sale for $29.99 with free shipping right now. Set # CDS113 www.jlcbooks.com/kb or 800-859-3669, mention offer code LBJFG. I subscribed to the mag last year and it's good, but they want double ($40/yr) now. Fuggedaboudit.
-- When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary. -- Thomas Paine
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On Sun, 16 Nov 2008 09:24:10 -0500, "Ed Huntress"
<snip>

<snip>
From what I've seen poking around in old patents and tools, all of the cross-cut saw sets were hit with a hammer or had large levers. I saw some hand-held sets that claimed to set cross-cuts, but I think they were stretching things a bit...
I've got some plans around for building a simple set for cross-cuts that uses a hammer. Actually it is on the web too, look here:
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/fspubs/02232324 /
The US Forest service has several good/interesting publications concerning cross-cut saws. Towards the bottom of the above page, "Warren Miller's Crosscut Saw Manual (7771-2508-MTDC)" is mentioned. It is available in two versions (old and revised) in pdf form. I found it easy enough doing some simple searching, believe it is on the same website.
--
Leon Fisk
Grand Rapids MI/Zone 5b
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On Sat, 15 Nov 2008 14:25:04 GMT, "Andrew"

I don't know that I can help, but my favorite kitchen knives were purchased in the early to mid 70's at Jugtown Pottery in Seagrove, NC. The were reportedly made by octogenarians in Maine from cast off saw mill blades. They take an *amazing* edge easily and hold it well. My wife hates them because the rust, but what the hell, they are likely a simple carbon steel.
I'm guessing that they were produced by a low tech manner.... probably friction sawing and if you have access to a band saw, give me a shout and I'll tell you how to accomplish it on the cheap.
--

Fort Agent 5.00 Build 1160

Grady-White Gulfstream, out of Oak Island, NC.
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wrote:

No bandsaw, but would 8' of sawmill bandsaw blade count? <grin>
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I figure these must be like the large blue max blades - several inches wide.....
I'd consider a hacksaw with a round carbide saw blade.
I'd get an M42 rated blade and cut under water to keep it cool. A Dremel runs rather fast, but a flex cable on it keeps it out of water.
I suspect you are work hardening the metal. Just making it tough to cut.
Look at a tile cutter - water and a diamond or almost - blade.
Martin
Andrew wrote:

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Andrew wrote:

An old back saw of that age would have spring steel for the blade , they are sharpened by hand with slim taper files , so a HSS hacksaw blade should have no trouble cutting it .You need to have the hacksaw blade at an angle to the cut so to get as many teeth of the hacksaw blade cutting at the same time.If you try to use the hack saw blade at right angles to the steel it will break teeth off the blade. Also a finer toothed blade would be good also say 32TPI with some oil for lube .
I use old handsaw blades for scrapers and scraper plane blades and have cut up quite a few over the years I just use a hacksaw.
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