The Saw Wright

Today I was a semi-guest as the carpenters at the museum hosted Matt Cianci  and to show them (and me) how he sharpens saws. We had all kinds of fun. 


Matt C
Matt C

We went through the basics; jointing, shaping, sharpening, setting, etc. With many detours en route. 



rake angle
rake angle

Matt thought their shop had the most-heavy-duty easel known to man, but it turned out to be a riving brake. 

matt at the board



I had never used, nor seen in action, a saw wrest. Matt showed us how it’s twisted, not levered to set the teeth. Does two at a time, one this way, one that. 

saw wrest


We saw how you might need several sizes & thicknesses of saw wrests, then Mark Atchison got out this one – tapered in thickness. Nice detail.

mark's wrest

taper in wrest


The next generation dove in & sharpened up a bunch of saws. 


next gen files


Matt says his students don’t often bring saws like these to class…

village saws

I especially like this handle, done by Matteo (sp?) nice work. 

natural handles
crook handle

Mark kept dragging out saws the likes of which Matt rarely sees. The pitsaws didn’t make it into the photos, but this crosscut kept Matt entertained for a while. 

mark & matt

Then these two nearly derailed the whole afternoon. 


18th c handle

Matt says he could read “Kenyon” on this one. I needed more light & magnification. 

kenyon saw

I got to try a few saw vices, and we uncovered a wooden one in our shop that I hope to copy soon. I’ll shoot it next week. Dead simple. I can’t wait to get to work to fiddle with more saw stuff. It was a blast. Matt dropped off a  saw he sharpened for me, as well as a re-hab he did. More later. Thanks to the guys & Matt for a day full of the kind of learning that makes my job fun…


4 thoughts on “The Saw Wright

  1. Those repro saws look amazing, please tell us more about them. What originals are they copied from? They seem to have a very strong German or Dutch feel…I saw one like that but about 5 feet long at a recent auction, I think that was a pit saw
    Cheers Jonathan

  2. Is the tool that Mark is holding in the photo with Mark actually a hay knife? Hard to tell at a distance, but it looks like it’s pretty “pitchy” with an “easy” rake.
    Dennis Laney

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