Make or Buy a Hand Saw Vise for Sharpening
A hand saw vise for sharpening holds the steel saw plate of your hand saw while you sharpen your wood hand saws. A saw vise must hold the saw plate firmly, and clamp firmly to a workbench or other work surface, without much movement. I’ll talk about both making a hand saw vise and buying a hand saw vise:
If you are able, it is a great idea to build your own wooden saw vise. Here is a nice video by Shannon Rogers on building a traditional saw vise by hand:
Here’s another good free tutorial for building a saw vise: Lee Valley’s free saw vise tutorial
Buying a metal saw vise is another great option, especially if you want to just jump into saw sharpening, and aren’t as interested in building a saw sharpening vise. Metal hand saw sharpening vises aren’t as wide as vises that you can make out of wood, but they can be conveniently clamped to a lot of different surfaces, and they are nice to look at.
On one of my personal metal saw vises I attached blue painter’s tape and drew guide lines to assist with sawing at the appropriate fleam angle (see above). The metal saw vises clamp firmly onto a horizontal board or bench.
Some woodworking students that have taken classes at my school have purchased the The Gramercy Tools 14″ Saw Vise, and like it, but at
$170 (update: now $250) I would personally just stick with finding antique saw sharpening vises. The Gramercy saw vise is based on the most popular vintage saw vise: the Wentworth No. 2 saw vise. The main differences that you’ll see in antique cast iron saw sharpening vises are:
- The way that they clamp the saw plate between the vise jaws.
- The way they clamp to your workbench (or a board, which then sits in your workbench vise).
- The size of saw plates that they will hold.
The latter consideration makes the biggest difference in price, but that feature really just saves you from having to move your saw as often, which may not be a big deal to you. The more sought after saw vises are about 14-inches wide. The smaller are under 11-inches.
Antique hand saw vises are plentiful on Ebay, and run from $15 to about $70. Before buying a metal hand saw vise, just make sure there aren’t any broken parts to the casting, or it could weaken the saw vise. This could lead to splitting down the road (I’ve experienced this). The most common antique hand saw vises that you will find are Disston hand saw vises and Wentworth hand saw vises. I have used both vises extensively and like them both. Here are some saw vises that are popular: