Looking for an ACME saw filer

Discussion in 'Saw Makers Forum' started by bearkatwood, Apr 24, 2018.

  1. bearkatwood

    bearkatwood New Member

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    Hello everyone, my first post here is going to be to see if anyone knows where I might find an ACME saw filer and vise in good working order. I am a saw maker in the Pacific North West of the US. Washington State. I have been making saws for about 4 years and have recently gotten very busy so I would like to upgrade my tooling. If anyone knows where I might find one in good working order I would be very thankful. I look forward to getting to know the people that frequent this saw making forum. Thanks
    Brian Noel
    BearKat Wood

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  2. TraditionalToolworks

    TraditionalToolworks Most Valued Member

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    Hi Brian!

    I've seen them around on ebay and craigslist, but the problem is always shipping. I'd be curious to know how it works, the Foley equipment in general is pretty crude, so it wouldn't be too hard for the Acme to be better. Those vises are sought after because they're wide, I've seen them by themselves in the wild...but haven't really bought much saw stuff in years.

    This forum is not very active, but goes in spurts. Your saws look nice.

    Where are you located though, that could determine if it would be worth shipping something or not. I'm all the way out in California.

    Cheers,
    Alan
     
  3. bearkatwood

    bearkatwood New Member

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    I am located in the Northwest corner of the Northwest on Whidbey Island in Washington. About as far away from everyone else without leaving the country as I can get unfortunately. I had found two vises through Jim Bode, but sadly they didn't have the base or filer attached which is what I would like. I had heard of one selling recently in very good condition for $1,000 that had the automatic filer and base, finding a similar deal would be ideal. Hoping lightning will strike and I will find one. Thanks, nice to meet you Alan.
     
  4. TraditionalToolworks

    TraditionalToolworks Most Valued Member

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    Have you ever thought about making your own filer? Or is it just the nostalgic value you're after?

    I ask because like saw vises it seems like we can build better mouse traps these days, but there isn't a lot of incentive for anyone to do so. I've always felt the Foley stuff was bit Rube Goldbergish...I mean, some of the mechanisms used in the design seem like redneck ingenuity at best. I think my favorite is how the retoother for the 38x serious has a rod that goes under the stamped frame and connects to a flipper switch on the motor...

    Anyway, you're not as far as the east coast, I know the area up there and have been to Bainbridge a few times (couple friends there) and one person I used to work with had property on Lopez that he was trying. I love the San Juans, great area...my sister lives in Renton.

    Do you know Jeff Daugherty at Widby Woodworks and Custom Milling ?
     
  5. bearkatwood

    bearkatwood New Member

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    Don't really know anybody in the area yet, I have only been here about 7 months now.
    I know what you mean about the switch on the toother being an afterthought and jimmy rigged. The ACME from what I can see is the top as far as I can see. Not only is it a nice large saw vise that is very sturdy but it can have a filing attachment that works great attached to it. I have mentioned to the guys at Gramercy that they might want to think about bringing this one back form the de
     
  6. TraditionalToolworks

    TraditionalToolworks Most Valued Member

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    Look up Jeff, his nickname is Redbeard. Good guy to know if you live near him. He does a fair amount of sawmill work. I have known him for a number of years, we used to hang out on a small sawmill forum that is now gone. Anyway, I almost bought some rafters from him for a house I'm building, but time went by and he cut up a number of them into flooring. The beams had come out of the old Duluth Lumber building when it was tore down. Jeff is a good guy to know if you're doing any type of building.

    I know people lust after those heavy vises, but I don't know...I have a couple Disston 3D vises I use side by side if needed, but they are also heavy, large and antiquated. A wood vise with metal jaws is a better mouse trap possibly. Speaking of Gramercy, I tried their saw vise when they came out and didn't really like it. It was a bit short. Ok for most saws I sharpen, but not good for a full size handsaw.

    BTW, I'd like to hear your take on folded vs. slotted backs. I certain am opinionated in that regard, but open to hear what others prefer. Kind of a touchy topic, but I'm willing to try and discuss it. This would be best for another thread.

    Your backs remind me of Andrew Lunn's saws, with less flare. Most of my saws are fairly basic with simple lines. Do you do the scallops with an orbital sander?
     
  7. bearkatwood

    bearkatwood New Member

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    So I have found one, actually two. Thank you all for your help. I found them through auctions with the help of people contacting me. One came with the filer and base, the other was just the vise with a home made base. Thanks for all the help folks, they are out there.
     
  8. Dusty Shed Dweller

    Dusty Shed Dweller Most Valued Member

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    There is a consequence of power saw filers that hasn't been publicised; I have found that they can ruin a saw for future re-sharpening. I'm not sure what is used to do the actual sharpening/tooth shaping but my hazy recollection suggests that a reciprocating file or diamond wheel is typically used. I've never heard of a system that incorporates liquid coolant or pneumatic cooling.

    I've noticed that saws that have been sharpened using a grinding wheel (essentially "gulleting" machinery) have three traits (1) long, very sharp teeth which are nice but ultimately useless because (2) they are typically horribly out of joint with concave toothlines and (3) the temper on the teeth has been disturbed - the teeth are discoloured and can be very hard, too hard for a standard file. I thought that "burning steel" softens it, but it appears that in this case it hardens it (maybe something to do with the cooling rate?).

    I've had a look at the manuals for the ACME (by "Max" Engineering) and noticed that there is nothing about sharpening to the joint, which is the critical aspect of sharpening any saw. Sharp teeth is great, but not at the cost of the joint. Ruin the joint, spoil the saw.
     
  9. TraditionalToolworks

    TraditionalToolworks Most Valued Member

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    Dusty,

    I don't come by here very often, so that's why I'm replying to your message that is 5 months old...LOL

    I would be curious about any filer that does change the temper of the steel as it would need to get it incredibly hot in order to anneal it.

    What might happen however is that the tempering of the steel is only on the surface, that could happen depending on how the steel was hardened, and the filer could file past the tempered material leaving the untempered area exposed. I don't know that for fact, but that would seem plausible.

    I'm not fond of Foley or other filers and in fact, nor am I of the retoothers too much. Shane at Skelton Saw manually stamps his teeth with a set of dies on a press of some type, that looks like a great replacement for the Foley retoother I have.
     
  10. Dusty Shed Dweller

    Dusty Shed Dweller Most Valued Member

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    Strangely enough Alan, I was going to post an update on this, will post some photos that are illuminating.

    I recently had to deal with a batch of saws that came from a machine filer and I am convinced that these machine disturb the temper of the saw plate. It may be just a surface effect akin to todays "induction" hardened saws but it's real. The problem I find is that the effect is not consistent - you get sections along the toothline that are super hard, other sections can be very soft or "normal'. Other than really old saws (say pre 1850), most manufacturers had decent enough quality control that patchy tempering isn't an issue - certainly not over a couple of teeth here and there.

    I have a client who sharpens his big (6') cross cuts with an angle grinder and he deliberately dwells on the teeth to discolour them because he swears that the teeth stay sharper for longer in hard, abrasive woods.

    I'm no tempering expert but if you use an abrasive tool to cut steel, and it locally heats above the critical temperature, then cools rapidly I don't see why the heating effect can't be locked in. I think the key is fast cooling (=quenching) - slow cooling results in inversion and annealing. The tips of saw teeth have a very small area/volume so they heat up fast and would also cool fast.

    The bottom line is that saws that have been treated as described murder files - good NOS files - and its hard to make a living when your limited supply of good oldies are ruined on saws that have been brutalised in this manner.

    If I have to deal with a saw with a nice regular teeth, typically with no fleam, a heavy wire edge on the far side and a concave toothline I certainly wouldn't be breaking out valuable NOS files on it. Just jointing it tells you if its going to be a problem. Seriously, I've had to joint some of these saws with a diamond plate, old Nicholson or Wiltshire mill files just skid on them.

    Normally I file new teeth in but I've got a kick press and access to a couple of fly presses so I'm looking to die stamp teeth in the future. I have a shear for trimming up plate which is fine for 1075 up to 0.028" but can't do the job in old plates - they're just too hard.
     
  11. Underthedirt

    Underthedirt Most Valued Member

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    Not wanting to hijack the OP's thread, but I believe Dusty is correct that saws can be work hardened by certain machine sharpening methods.

    I have saws in my collection sharpened by a previous owner who is a professional Saw Dr.

    This particular gentleman uses (as he calls it) a "gulleting wheel" to re cut teeth on hand saws.

    I've seen his set up & his gulleting wheel is a fairly small & high speed "V" shaped grinding wheel on an arbor that he uses to cut teeth into the plate.

    Funnily, nearly every saw that I've got from this fellow are impossible to resharpen & I've often wondered if the plates were "work hardened" by the gulleting wheel.

    Regards

    Mari
     
  12. TraditionalToolworks

    TraditionalToolworks Most Valued Member

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    In some of the older saws, especially the British examples where the steel is old, it's possible that the hardening process was not very good in days of lore...

    That's entirely possible also, but it probably depends on the depth of the temper, the quality of the steel, etc...could even have to do with the age, as old British plates are pretty fragile/brittle, as you guys surely know.

    I'm no tempering expert either, but do know that most steel needs to get up to about 1600-1800 degrees in order to harden, and normally with carbon steel you would quench in oil, but some steel hardens in water, yet others with air.

    Those old plates are hard/brittle and the quality of the steel just wasn't what it is today, IMO. Most all the modern spring steel is light years ahead of the vintage stuff in Britain.

    Mari,

    That sounds similar to a chainsaw sharpener, which uses a wheel to sharpen each tooth, and similar to handsaws, most people who sharpen chainsaws sharpen every other tooth, flip the chain and do the teeth in between on the next pass.

    I guess it could be possible depending on the depth of the temper, but normally tempering requires more heat than a grinding wheel could produce. Even if the steel becomes discolored, it really needs to get to cherry red in order to temper.

    Another thing that could be happening is that let's say the tempering is deep, the grinding wheel takes off the top layer, leaving a freshly tempered surface from what was there previously. The temps are really high which are needed for tempering. Would be a good test to shoot a tooth with an Infrared Thermometer to see what the actual temp is when sharpening..

    Honestly, I believe how Skelton saw is stamping his teeth, one at a time on a press, is the way to go. As a side note, Skelton Saw is making the finest saws made today, IMO. I like the Bontz Toolworks saws as well, but the Skelton saws are, IMO, the finest saws being made today.

    Alan