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Seems like these pop up every now and then but there doesn't seem to be a dedicated thread to them, so let's start one. Sawmaker's or saw tuner's anvils- lets see your photos. Descriptions, dimensions, makers, uses. Are they more rare than your "average" anvil? I recall seeing a link to a website for a company still making them, anyone remember the link?

Also, njanvilman says he is looking for ones made by Fisher, so perhaps we can help him spot ones for the museum.




So here's what I think is a sawmaker's anvil that I have. Top is 7.5" x 7.5" x 3.5", weight approx. 100#. No markings visible, maker unknown. Face is as hard as any anvil I've ever owned, a (new, quality) file just skids across like glass. I use it as an upsetting block on the floor and as a backing-up mass for odd riveting and setting tennons.
post-6738-0-28922300-1312069230_thumb.jppost-6738-0-11759800-1312069244_thumb.jppost-6738-0-55763100-1312069259_thumb.jp

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It looks like a sawmakers anvil might have been posted by ichudov today. Judson, your anvil is unusual. I suppose it could have been used as a sawmakers. If it is shop made, it is very nice workmanship.

By hearsay, I was told that there were two types of saw repairmen in the horse and buggy days, "saw doctors" and "saw dentists." Some of them were itinerant. The dentist would sharpen saw teeth, so I guess he would need to carry sharp files. The doctor was called on to cold hammer the slightly dished or domed shape into the large circular saws. Apparently, the dish on the old saws would straighten out when they were running at speed. An improper, ununiform dish could cause wobble and an accident. I'm told that the doctor would carry a soapstone or chalk marker and a hammer. After inspecting a misshapen saw blade, he would mark and hit it to bring it to the right shape again. I could be wrong, but I think that modern circular saws of alloy steel no longer have the mild dish shape; they are flat. However, they may still need some hand tensioning, according to Postman, page 489.

I have a feeling that lots of sawmakers' knowledge is arcane. For example, I have a dog head hammer which several people told me was a cutlers' hammer. I did a little research, and I know that it was used to "fine tune" saws, but how? Tensioning, perhaps? I know that the Japanese tension their hand saws with many, many hammer blows.

In any event, though the catalogs may refer to the anvils as sawmakers', the saws were made in a manufacturing mode, and the anvils themselves, were used for cold tensioning.

I stand to be corrected and educated about any of this.

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Frank Turley:

You are correct. A properly used sawmakers anvil was used to straighten and tension circular saw blades. It was not used to make a blade. Blades were made in specialized factories. After manufacture, the sawmill had to specify if it was a right or left blade, HP and RPM of the mill. The blade was then hand hammered before delivery by a highly skilled person. If used properly, the hammer never ever struck the anvil. There was always a blade inbetween the hammer and the anvil. If you have a sawmakers anvil with hammer marks, it was used for other work.

I never heard of "saw dentists", but most sawyers did their own hammering, or someone at the sawmill knew how. When I first got my sawmill, I took my blade to a 75 year old farmer who also had a mill and had done milling his whole life. He tuned up my blade, just by flexing, then hammering just right. It did work better after he was done.

I friend of mine was given a FISHER saw anvil. He was demoing at a fair and an elderly lady asked him if he wanted her late husbands anvil. Of course, he picked it up. It is about 300 lbs, with a perfect top that we estimate is about Rockwell 60+ hard. He was the chief sawyer at a mill for many years, and part of his job was to care for the blades.

I have a DISTON catalog from about 1900 that has a whole chapter on the care and tensioning of saw blades. I will check it out and see if I can scan and post it here.

Fisher also advertised that some of their anvils were for bandsaw blades. Of course this was for those large blades used out West for those large logs. I guess that sometimes small dings in the blades had to be worked out.

FISHER saw anvils were made from about 30 lbs to 600+lbs. in a variety of sizes and shapes. They made mostly rectangular tops, but also some were also square, and they made round top one too. FISHER also made their own saw hammers for sale. I have 4 in the museum.

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Lots of old saw filers in this Western Oregon logging country. Saw "filers" also set teeth as Frank ,is talking about,with a hammer. I watched an old fellow set a saw about 10 years ago with a hammer and it was amazing. He could sharpen an ax with a hammer and not ding the anvil face!!!!

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History channel had a great video of this type of saw blade work being done, I think it was an "How its Made" episode on saw blades Ill try to find a link later.

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Again Vaughans used to carry sawmakers' anvils in inventory until within the last couple of years. I think they might have been dropped from their most recent price list though.

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Here is my 350ish pound Fisher.

post-4446-0-35870000-1312667554_thumb.jppost-4446-0-49310300-1312667595_thumb.jppost-4446-0-81569400-1312667635_thumb.jp


Nice anvil. I have two that are about that size. Be careful moving them around. No horn or heel to grab. Crowbars and pipe rollers for me only.

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sawanvil.jpg

This one's for sale in the Seattle area on CL. Said to have come g\from an Oregon mill and weighs 455#... Asking price $1000

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Nice anvil. I have two that are about that size. Be careful moving them around. No horn or heel to grab. Crowbars and pipe rollers for me only.


The previous owner included a couple of bars that fit into the handling holes for 'walking' in to where I need it.

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Hehehehe I figured since I saw someone posting the one I have for sale Ill show the other 2 I have as well. I am only selling the round one because I really cant foresee using that one and its taking up a decent chunk of space in my tent. The one on the right is the one I mainly use right now, though I did use the other briefly and probably will again soon as I can get at it more easily.

post-11447-0-16049300-1312697049_thumb.j

post-11447-0-94766700-1312697062_thumb.j

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post-2980-0-57333700-1313013385_thumb.jp post-2980-0-96462300-1313013400_thumb.jp post-2980-0-30236400-1313013420_thumb.jp


The first one is the most common saw makers anvil you will find, this one has no makers name or make on it.
the next two are of a home made anvil and hammering table that I use, works very well
Jeff

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Hehehehe I figured since I saw someone posting the one I have for sale Ill show the other 2 I have as well. I am only selling the round one because I really cant foresee using that one and its taking up a decent chunk of space in my tent. The one on the right is the one I mainly use right now, though I did use the other briefly and probably will again soon as I can get at it more easily.

Well how about a better pic than the one I "stole" from your ad?

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Good stuff Jeff- Do you tune saws? Care to share the how and why of those home made rigs?

Most of the saw mills around here have gone to big band saws, but there are still a few big circular saw mills around, someone must be taking care of the blades somehow. Are they just brazing on new carbides these days? I knew an old timer who was a sharpening expert, while chatting with him one day he outlined pretty much the same info that Frank mentioned above. He said that they would put a "dish" in circular saw blades. Reasoning was that as the saw spun up to speed the outer diameter would stretch, so the outer diameter of a pre dished blade would stretch out the dish into an even plane and the blade would run true. No dish equals warp/wobble in the cutting edge of the blade. Kudos to Frank for sharing that info first, but as he said he and I both have heresy evidence. Anyone out there ever actually hammered a saw blade on an anvil?

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Yes I tune Blades, I sould say that I have no formal training on the subject. I read everything I could find and started on my own blades, Yes I had a some set backs.
You are right on the money they need Dish to run, But you need to know if the mill is Right or Left hand and the speed the mandrel turns. A Thin high speed saw will need more tension than a thick low speed saw. I am thinking of doing A blue print on the subject and have started taking pictures of the hammers, straight-edge's and Tension gauge I have.

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I am thinking of doing A blue print on the subject and have started taking pictures of the hammers, straight-edge's and Tension gauge I have.

Please do, it would be interesting to read about.

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This is my first time posting so pardon me if I accidentally screw up a thread...

I work at the Coushatta, Louisiana location of Idaho Timber Company as a Circular Saw Filer.
This is more of a clarification than a disagreement on leveling round saws. A small diameter saw (19") with a somewhat thin kerf of say, .0110 plate thickness definitely needs tension in order to stand up straight in a cut. If the saw is too loose it will heat up and dish out one way or another causing problems for the rest of the saws on the arbor, depending on the machine you're running. A larger saw (24" diameter) with a thicker kerf will need to be tighter or stiffer and have less "fall out". What I call fall out is when you lay a saw flat on your anvil, put a gauge from gullet to gullet across the middle of the saw and lift up on one of the edges of the saw where your gauge is sitting, the saw "should" fall out all the way across evenly and on both sides. I believe this is what Jeff was referring to saying a saw needs a dish in order to run correctly. Centrifugal force causes a saw to stretch when it starts spinning, so when running a higher rpm, you would need more fall out than on a low rpm.

The problem I have is getting the tension the same on all of the saws I work on. I don't have any tension gauges so I have to eyeball the drop from the gullet to the eye and roll tension in or out as needed.

Hope I helped explain this a little. I would love to hear any constructive criticism if there are any filers out there.

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Some people get all the good jobs........ I think I follow most of the argument. (which worries me slightly, what have I become?) Doi you have, or could you take any pictures to help explain dishing and tension?

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This is my first time posting...

 

And what an excellent first post it was!

 

Welcome aboard, hoss.

 

Have you ever worked on the truly big circular blades like they used back in the day, or are those pretty much phased out by now?

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We use large (60") diameter carbide tipped cold saws for cutting steel and work. This are lower RPM than the blades for wood but they too are tuned by a local shop that also repairs the teeth. We usually get a refurbished batch of blades once a week.

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The best way I can think of to explain a bad dish in a saw is to think of a satellite dish. When a saw is heated to the point of bending, and a cant runs through it, the saw is going to dish away from the largest part of the cant. At this point, most if not all of the tension making that saw stand straight up and down is now in the lower section of the saw (tight in the eye), causing the outside to bend almost as if the metal is trying to curl up. Tension is a mysterious thing...

I will try to get a picture of this somehow, it would definitely make more sense.

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This is my first time posting so pardon me if I accidentally screw up a thread...

I work at the Coushatta, Louisiana location of Idaho Timber Company as a Circular Saw Filer.
This is more of a clarification than a disagreement on leveling round saws. A small diameter saw (19") with a somewhat thin kerf of say, .0110 plate thickness definitely needs tension in order to stand up straight in a cut. If the saw is too loose it will heat up and dish out one way or another causing problems for the rest of the saws on the arbor, depending on the machine you're running. A larger saw (24" diameter) with a thicker kerf will need to be tighter or stiffer and have less "fall out". What I call fall out is when you lay a saw flat on your anvil, put a gauge from gullet to gullet across the middle of the saw and lift up on one of the edges of the saw where your gauge is sitting, the saw "should" fall out all the way across evenly and on both sides. I believe this is what Jeff was referring to saying a saw needs a dish in order to run correctly. Centrifugal force causes a saw to stretch when it starts spinning, so when running a higher rpm, you would need more fall out than on a low rpm.

The problem I have is getting the tension the same on all of the saws I work on. I don't have any tension gauges so I have to eyeball the drop from the gullet to the eye and roll tension in or out as needed.

Hope I helped explain this a little. I would love to hear any constructive criticism if there are any filers out there.

Did you mean .110? .0110 seems unlikely to me. 

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