Silky shrinkflation

Brock Mayo

TreeHouser
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
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171
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Cottage Grove, OR
Just bought a new silky ibuki saw blade. Being the only person I know that attempts to sharpen my hand saws I took a close look at the brand new teeth. First thing I noticed was what I can only assume is a machining error, every 14 teeth, two teeth have the top angle totally f-ed up. Not a big deal, quick fix, but when I went to swap the old blade, the new one was way thinner! I measured my old ibuki blades at 0.07 inches. New replacement is 0.05 inches. Maybe they’re looking at less drag like running a narrow kerf bar, but I fear this could be another sign that the simulation is coming to an end.
 
While it does reduce the amount of steel in the blade by ~28.5%, at some point buying thinner metal doesn't save money.

For example, locally, 16ga steel costs nearly twice as much per sq ft as 14ga.
 
Maybe they did it to increase flexibility? Sometimes it's useful having a blade you can bend into place.
 
. First thing I noticed was what I can only assume is a machining error, every 14 teeth, two teeth have the top angle totally f-ed up.

I noticed something similar, but I don't remember the details. That's not frigged teeth but special teeth made on purpose. They act as rakers to help clearing the kerf from dust and loose bits/fibers. They don't cut but act as a micro dozer.
Useful in the angled cuts.
 
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Way back my 2nd hand saw was a Stihl/Fiskars before I switched to a Zubat. I snapped the tip off the Stihl at least two times getting bound in the cut just before the return stroke - big flex then snap. Way less flex in the Zubat which of course has never snapped. Flex may not be one's friend in a hand saw.

P.s. with young eyes, a light touch and a fine grinding dremel disc you can restore workable teeth to a damaged hand saw. Just follow the angles and strive not to drive back the cutting tip. Maybe better than retiring a blade.
 
Silky makes a file for doing their (non hardened)saws. I bought one to sharpen my carpentry saw. Works well, but I tend to go cross eyed before I get the blade done. The Zubat(the one I have) can't be reasonably sharpened, but it's worth every penny to just buy a new blade.

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  • #8
Yeah, I was thinking maybe they did those special teeth for chip clearing, but then I took a look at a 1/2 meter long katanaboy and there were no odd angled teeth. I figure if you need chip clearing, you'd need it on a katanaboy? Anyhow, I'll have to look at some other handsaws, it could be part of the plan.
 
I bought this sort of file too because given the price of a Suggoï, I thought that it should be a good idea to spent some time to rejuvenate it.
It's a long and tedious project. The file likes to bind in the shallow space between teeth. I made it reasonably sharp again, but not quite as a new blade (tiny burrs) and it took me way too long for my taste. Last point, the blade held its sharpness only about half the time from a new one. I know, very poor skill and no training, so it can only become better, but no, I won't do it again and I prefer to buy a new blade. .
 
I'd be more willing to file a handsaw if I could also adjust the set. I'd love to ad just a little to my sogoui. Can't help but think it would reduce bind a bit. Still, I'm very impressed with my silky and won't be without one.
 
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  • #12
Nice to hear how others have attempted to sharpen handsaws. Not super fun, but I can make them sharper, just never like new. I get into a rhythm for a while, and then suffer, catching the file on the next tooth, which wrecks the file pretty damn quickly 😀
 
In my experience, the new Silky blades don't tend to bind, even if they haven't set teeth but just a slightly tapered blade. Their nice cutting edges work wonderfully. Things change when the teeth began to dull a little. That isn't much of a wear, but as the taper is so low, the tiny rounding of the tip's teeth is enough to cancel the taper's advantage. The teeth can cut still nicely enough, but the kerf isn't as neat as before and becomes a little bit tighter. I thought to adjust the set to extend the blade's live without worrying about sharpening (lazy man you know). It was a rooky try but I gave up after snapping a few teeth. My take was, as the teeth can be filed, they should bend. No, they aren't in this mood. Best case, with caution, they got a partial crack at their base. A very thin crack, I couldn't see it, but the sound was unmistakable.
 
Hmm, just a bit of time with an orbital sander could go along way. Maybe some day I'll try that. Thankfully that's not soon, my blade is pretty new.
 
Curiosity. Measured my oldish zubat at 0.052 by the handle and 0.040 at the tip. 0.052's kerf is (worn, never sharpened) 0.056 and stays the same for the whole blade.

Would you file the trailing face, leading face or both? Withe the two angle shape this would take the tooth height down. My stihl had a 3rd tiny face at the tooth tip.
 
on the first go i only file the top facet, goes quick. on the second filing i also file the other facets…
 
With the thin special file, you have to deepen the gullet at the same time, not just file the front. That's why I got the file so frequently stuck, but the idea is to keep the same tooth's profile/ dimensions. If you look at the automatic sharpening machines for the band saw blades, they grind only one side of the teeth, but makes a movement to follow the full profile. The teeth end a little bit lower and back, but as new.

For the Suggoï, i found my way : File flat the very tip of the teeth to make them the same high. File the front of the tooth horizontally, then file down vertically (successively for each tooth, same position of the file). Like that, only one side of the file is touching the metal for the main part, so it doesn't bind. Live the back alone because it does nothing for cutting. After all the fronts are done, just a touch on the little bevel at the tips to reduce to nearly zero the tiny flat spots made at the first step.
I didn't found that by myself, I just followed the sharpening technique of the old school foresters by a link showed here years ago.

Two difficult points to ensure by hand:
- Find and keep all the angles right from start to finish.
-Keep all the tips at the same length, or just a few of them will do all the work, leading to a slow cutting and a fast dulling.
 
That's only for the saws that aren't impulse hardened, but the Zubat's hardened. Someone mentioned using a diamond file to sharpen the hardened teeth, but that seems like more work than it's worth to me. If it was me, I'd buy an Arborist Edition Zubat blade. It has bigger teeth to cut faster. It's a bit of money, but they last a good while.
 
I did not know there was an Arborist Edition blade for the Zubat. Just figured it was one type of replacement blade. I’ll hafta look into it.
 
Aggressive teeth come with a tradeoff. They're good for wrecking, but not so good for pruning. My regular Zubat leaves an ugly cut in small stuff. I'm sure the Aborist Edition's even worse.

If I were doing this stuff all the time, I'd probably have the Zubat on my leg, and a folder with medium or small teeth on my saddle.
 
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