A Day Late And A Dollar Short.

Last year I wrote a post about a useless thingamabob that I made while teaching myself to use my South Bend metal lathe.  At the end of the post I mentioned a super secret project that I was creating.  Well, imagine my shock (not to mention extreme disappointment) when I saw my secret project released in February for sale on Lee Valley's website!  I had been working on the minutiae of this thing for a little less than a year (including the time I spent cursing at myself for not learning the metal lathe faster), and I had planned to release it for sale on my blog in the next month or two.

No, they didn't steal my design (that would be crazy talk... or so I'm told).  They had access to the same tool that inspired me.  The Briggs Patent Saw File Guide!  Fortunately for woodworkers, Lee Valley is an excellent company that obviously put some thought into their redesign of this once lost, ingenious little tool.  If you are on the fence about sharpening your own saws, get one of these things and you will never look back.  I learned to file saws with mine.  I don't use it all the time now, as it actually does train you to hold the file correctly, but I do use it more frequently than some of my other sharpening guides.  The original, like my prototype has an outer ring that rotates to set the rake angle and a swiveling set of arms used to set the fleam.

My Briggs Patent Saw File Guide
Patented in 1919

The File Gets clamped In The Bottom

This tool allows you to choose the rake and fleam you want to use when sharpening your saws.  You dial the angles in on the jig and then clamp it to the end of any triangular file and away you go.  Just keep the wings parallel and level to the line of the saw and you get perfect results every time.  The prototype I was building was more a copy of the original (patented in 1919) whereas Lee Valley did an excellent job giving it a much sexier design and an all aluminum chassis.  I opted for a solid brass body, with a stainless steel thumbscrew and a Lignum Vitae grip (it would have ended up being maple or apple after I ran out of my limited stock of Lignum).

Solid Brass Construction With A Lignum Vitae Handle
You Can See The Rotating Outer Ring For Setting Rake Here, Which
Moves In Concert With The Set Of Wings For Fleam
The Setup On My Prototype Was The Same As The Original

Like a dunce, I didn't race to the engravers to have my markings put on the guides I was making as soon as I had the prototype finished.  I wanted to be able to do everything in my shop which meant waiting and searching for a machine that would allow me to engrave the tubular brass guides.  I tried to do it by hand but it was an utter failure (as can be seen in the photos of my prototype).  Again, fortunately for woodworkers, Lee Valley doesn't have any problem engraving their tools accurately.  I am both excited and saddened by this arrival from Lee Valley and if you don't own one, get one...it'll be worth it, I promise.

Here's How It All Fits Together

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