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The most amazing fretsaw I have ever seen

When watching this student cut out the shapes in this plank of wood, I was wondering where you could buy fretsaw blades 14 inches long, and how much they would cost. The blade broke and the young man had to make another blade.

I have seen the work produced by these saws and they will produce a good cut, obviously the better craftsperson you are the better the result. The frame is bent bamboo. The wire is just steel wire. I have made my own blades, and used them on my small frame saws.
This amazed me because of just how simple, assessable it was, and because it showed me, yet again, what could be made with materials around us. No need to rely on expensive consumables, or the latest highly designed tool. It also showed me that we can make our own tools. That also it is not something that needs years of training to do. 
Do not get me wrong I love a well designed and made tool and I do have a few in my workshop. I also have lots of mass made tools of varying quality. These tools, with a bit of time and knowledge, can be made to work as well as any top line tool.
The Handicraft centre in Gangtok. Set up in 1957 to preserve and teach traditional Sikkimese crafts.
In the shop at the handicraft centre I bought a couple of beautiful hand cut and carved carvings. These are of traditional designs and painted. 

The museum at the centre has the most amazing craft of Sikkim displayed in it. Photography was forbidden, unfortunately, as I would have loved to have shared some of the awe-inspiring artefacts I saw. It is well worth a visit if you are ever in Gangtok.
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Cross cut saw

Today I did my best ever job on sharpening a one-man cross-cut saw. This saw was bought for £5 from a recycling centre. Most of these places now sell stuff that would once have been trashed.

It did take me over three hours to do. The main problem was that the raker teeth were longer, or higher, than the cutting teeth. The cutting teeth are the ones that come to a single point and are set or bent left and right alternately. They cut the fibres and the set means that they are cutting a kerf wider than the saw blade. These teeth are in sets of four on this saw. The raker teeth remove the swarf by chiselling out the fibres cut on the left and right by the cutting teeth. Raker teeth have no set on them.
If the raker teeth are set higher than the cross cut teeth then the saw does not work. You could cut with it but you will take for ever cutting even a 6 inch diameter log. How it got into this state I do not know. Other than the raker teeth being to high, the saw was sharpened correctly.

Above is the swarf, the waste from the saw, and I am pleased with it. If the swarf has little whiskers on it, that means the raker teeth are still too high and are tearing out the wood that the cross cut teeth should be cutting.

The log of wood is a bit of burr lacewood or London plane. The saw had no problem cutting through it and the finish was surprisingly good.

Before I hung the saw up I gave it a good wipe down and applied oil to stop rusting and most importantly I made a blade guard for it. In this day and age we are so use to hardpoint saws that once blunt or damaged we throw them away. Sharpening your own saw immediately gives you another perspective and gives the saw a greater value and respect.