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Sharpening a handsaw

If you have a hand saw that requires a sharpen, we can help you. The charge per saw is about £8.00+vat, but that is based on condition. If possible it is best to drop them off in person, let me have a look at them for you and we can take it from there. If your saw is in bad condition the charge could be much higher or I might even consider recommending you to a company that could be prepared to remove the teeth and start again should the condition be very poor. I've not accepted saws by post before and would be reluctant to do so, especially when you factor in the courrier charge, it could easily be another £10.00 or £15.00 added to the cost of sharpening.

I'm lucky, I can sharpen my own saws. It's not too difficult, like anything it just takes a bit of practice. My tip would be to purchase a cheap, junk saw with big teeth and practice. With a bit of time, you should be able to sharpen a rip saw and when competent with that, you can try your hand at a cross cutt. Most good woodworking books, pre 1970's usually have a good description somewhere within about how to do it. The video below is a good place to start if you want to see the process in real time (my ony tip, drop the "micro bevel", in my experience it's an extra step that's not worth the time and adds nothing to the sharpness). You'll need some supplies too. In my experience, Workshop Heaven have the best selection of relaible sharpening gear. Buget on spending about £50.00 to £60.00 on sharpening gear.

I feel saw sharpening is a very worthwhile thing to learn, it opens doors to a world of quality tools that could easily be dicarded. Good, old saws can be found for very little. Are there other options though? Well yes, there are a couple worth looking into. First up the modern hardpoint saw. They come in all shapes and sizes, they are nearly always sharpened for cross cutt but can also rip one inch and less pretty well. For the professional arena of woodworking, these are now the dominant form. They are very good value, you can purchase a hardpoint for less than my sharpening service and it'll stay sharper longer too. Just because they are good value does not mean they cut poorly, in fact they cut very well and there is a range from fine to coarse depenting on your work. You'll need to treat the good value harpoint with just as much respect as you would any other tool to get the best out of it. They also score high on working with abrasive materials such as Plywood, MDF, Chipboard and Plastics. Sure, those materials are not much fun to work with but they are going to be with us for a while and they destroy old saws, in fact you'd spend more time sharpening than using if you used them on a modern building site. The down site is the waste, the hard teeth are near impossible to sharpen cheaply. I wish it was possible to buy one handle and then just by saw blades as required.

Cross Cutt Sharpening

Next option is the Japanes pull saw. Very effective tools, I like them well enough and have found no issue in use, I just personally prefer western style saws. Again, you wont go wrong with Workshop Heaven for your Japanese saws. The only cost effective options here are dispossable style saws. But as with other hardened teeth, they last a very long time.

So why did I call this post "Sharpening Saws - The Truth". I did so, in the hope that those starting out might get some balance on what might suit them best. Here are my list of "truths" :)

1) If you find you're on a construction site for much of your time, go for a hardpoint and take care of it. The truth is you'll have to work with abrasive matrials and they'll ruin good old saws.

2) If you're in a workshop you can go whichever way you want. Most modren workshops would rip nearly all matrial with the help of a machine. This is nothing new, it was a common thing in most worshops during the early 20th century. This means cross cutt is the most helpful here.

3) If your work is not for pay then do whatever you want. I would encourage you to take a look at saving some old saws and use them. They are really effective and in a small home workshop they work great, especially when access to machines is difficult or impossible.

4) Buying hard point saws does not mean you conspired with manufacturers and bought into a wastefull culture. Sound like an odd statement to make? Trust me, it does seem to be fasionable to bash the trades these days and it's not uncommon to read all kinds of stuff about how we don't care about things any more. Nothing could be further from the truth!

5) Try a decent hardpoint first, even if you want to restore a saw. It'll be a good barometer for how your getting on.

I have no more "truth" left. However, I have sharpened one clients crosscut handsaw. It'll now be ideal for breaking down planks or cutting joist and studwork. Just the other three to go once my files get here.

Sharpened Saw

Restoration Glass

Although we're not a glazing company, glass forms and integral part of our projects. Selecting an appropriate glass for any job is very important, not only for safety and energy performance but also for aesthetics. You might of noticed when looking at old windows or any type of old glazing that the glass is not "perfect". Near perfect glass is a pretty recent thing, only during the 1960's did "float" glass become widespread thanks to the developments made by Alastair Pilkington and Kenneth Bickerstaff. Before their innovation in production, glass was much more costly to produce as the processes were much more labour intensive. Here's an overview of some of those earlier methods. Early glass would often be described as "Crown Glass", the process of making this glass would require blowing a hollow globe, followed by flattening, reheating then spinning to produce a piece of glass that could be cut to size. The wonderful video from LambertsGlas shows the process brilliantly.

Cylinder Blown Sheet Glass was another method that was used, similar in many respects to Crown Glass but large panes could be made this way. In this method a large cylinder is made the ends are cut off and the glass cools. The glass is then heated, cut and unrolled. The video below from Stockholms Glassworks Skansen is another brilliant demonstration.

There were other processes too, more industrial in nature that sought to make glass more cost effective. None came close to the Pilkington float method. What all these early glass making methods share is some degree of defect that sets them apart from modern methods. These defects add a subtle change in the perspective, a wobble would be a good description, that softens the look and makes it feel much more appropriate for period work. We are able to obtain and use restoration glazing methods when required, and in addition to those authentic methods, some versions of that glass can now be used as safety glass. The photo above is a piece of laminated restoration glass, you can see the amount of "wobble" very clearly. And thankfully, due to the laminated specification it's safe within this context too. One of the issues with old glass is there was no safety glass used in areas where we now consider it to be essential. Thankfully modern innovation can create the appropriate look while at the same time keeping us safe.

If you're planning some heritage joinery work, do think about the type of glazing. Yes costs will be a bit higher and the waiting time for a finish product might be increased but the final piece will be worth the effort, look excellent in a period building and help maintain our rich and diverse built environment.

Refurnished Victorian Shutters

The question "What do you think you could do with these shutters?" or "Do you think you can make these old shutters work?" are some of the hardest questions to answer. For people who own a Georgian, Regency or Victorian home, a set of original smoothly operating shutters are something that naturally most people want. Sadly it's not always too easy to achieve. It is always possible to have fully functioning shutters, but it can be hard work to get there. The sheer amount of time required can kill off the project before it begins. My advise to those who do want the ideal, is to accept a very rough estimate of cost, know that you can afford to spend more if required and then work with us to get the measure of success you want.

Refurbished Old Shutters

Also, don't assume that just because shutters were there that they ever did work properly. Often shutter reveals are to small to of ever proved effective, shutter leafs have often shrunk, twisted, split or all three and ironmongery may never of been up to the task. It's a case of "how long's a piece of string" as to the woe's. However, don't let that deter you, we've successfully been able to have old shutters back and working. In addition there are other ways around the problem. The photos in this blog post show a pragmatic solution to the problem. Fix the shutters and use them as decorative paneling.

Shutter Architrave

Although this sounds a short cut, it's pretty common to find original shutters nailed into the reveals, covered by layers of paint. Suggestive that people got frustrated by them pretty quickly. In the project photoed, we had a series of five windows to set up and a pile of old shutters. The shutters were original to the house but no longer fitted due to the internal walls being dry lined. In addition the dry lining had reduced the depth of the shutter reveals so our only option was to create fixes panels. To do this we made small face frames to set the shutters in with a scratch bead detail. In addition we made new architraves to reflect existing designs within the house. On site it was a case of assembling the whole thing to give the look of authentic shutters. We were happy with the outcome and so was the client who then employed a painter and decorator to bring the whole thing together.

So if you want fully functioning shutters, have deep pockets and an open mind. If you don't, shutters fixed in position work well too.

Bespoke Joinery

In this blog post we'll give an overview of how we put together a price for your joinery, from initial phone call to a proposal for your consideration. Most people start the process with a phone call to our office, 01769 572 134. On the rare occasion we can't get to the phone you'll be put through to a secretary, not an answer machine, who'll take your details and we'll aim to get back to you within the same day. In addition, if you have plans, drawings or photos please email them using the email address on our website. As our joinery is bespoke and individually crafted to suit your situation, an appointment is normally required with one of the Directors, Graham Haydon, Daniel Haydon or Andrew Haydon who will discuss your requirements and take the necessary measurements. Depending on how busy we are a site survey can be done as early as the next day or two weeks from initial inquiry being the very longest time you should expect before a visit.

Joinery Pricing

Once we have the details, we work at providing the best proposal we can. We aim to make that process as fast as possible but are mindful it does take time to make sure the materials we are sourcing are of a the right quality and are as competitively costed as possible. We use modern estimating software for the majority of our work and can provide drawings when required. As with booking a survey you can expect an proposal to be with you as soon as the next day or up to two weeks depending on how busy we are and the complexity of your project. After that point you'll have an proposal sent to you.

Joinery Prices

Joinery Estimate

As you'll see from the example estimate above, we include a photo of the existing item to be replaced or a reference photo of some kind. This really helps any further discussions and avoid problems. Always make sure when reading any proposal you receive, check all details carefully. Truly we don't mean that to be patronizing in any way at all, rather it is mindful that most clients may only order bespoke joinery on a few times and like any craft, joinery has its own jargon. When comparing cost do also make sure that specifications match up. Things like timber, ironmongery, coatings and site fitting can be offered in different ways and above all, never be afraid to ask questions. We'd much rather take the time to discuss the project to ensure everything is totally clear. If your satisfied with the proposal we'll often arrange for another, more detailed survey for making the item, raise a Purchase Order for you to approve and normally a deposit invoice too.

This might seem very boring stuff, but I know from personal experience how hard it is to understand processes and jargon when you've not used a service before.