When I first started in woodwork I was shown how to sharpen my saws within a very makeshift device. It was simply a piece of wood as long as the saw with a kerf cut in to it to about ninety percent of its depth so that the saw could be slotted in place. The whole thing was then just thrown in to a bench vice.
I’ve always felt that this was something which I drastically needed to improve upon but like so many things I’ve never got around to doing it. I can’t pretend to be an expert on saw vices as I’ve never sat and given it any time but I do know that they can be a pretty expensive thing to buy and making a good one nearly always involves fabricating some kind of screw or hinged mechanism which I find unnecessarily complex.
Whilst tidying through one of our barns recently I came across this saw vice and I could see immediately how practical the design was – the jaw is just wedged in to the frame so that it holds the saw tightly as you push it down. After a quick test the other day I realised what a dream it is to use compared to the rudimentary one I was trained on, and being able to rely only on the wedged shape for clamping is the sort of clever simplicity which I enjoy.
With very few tweaks I think this will be my perfect saw vice and it just happened to be sat lying amongst a pile of rubbish, it’s funny how things can just find you.
I’m looking forward to making my own version soon and I’ll also talk more at that time about my equally simple approach to saw sharpening. When I showed this find to my old man to impress him with its uniqueness he just shrugged and said he’d seen loads like it – typical that he never thought to tell me! I’d love to hear about the different quirks of the saw vices you use, have you got a trusty arrangement which you love?