I Should Have Sawn This Coming

The complexity of the world around us is staggering.  It’s not enough that we must be capable of acknowledging and recognizing the incalculably vast differences between butterflies and locomotives. No, we have to distinguish between components of each of them, and of all the other animate and inanimate objects that permeate our lives.

For reasons far too abstruse to explain here, I found myself wandering the dark, dank corridors of the internet the other day, skulking around looking for special, but not self-evident, truths. I found pieces, tucked neatly in specialty bodegas reserved for the privileged few.

As I probed the shelves and peered inside the bins, I uncovered a hidden language, the lexicon of saws, about which I had heretofore heard and read only snippets. I’m referring here to cutting devices.  My God, the complexity of saws and their sharpening is stunning! I knew some of the terminology associated with saws. I knew saws have teeth.  But I did not know all the other terms associated with saws.  I’ll record just a few of them here:

  • Gullet: The empty spaces, or valleys, between the teeth of a saw
  • Point: The tip of a saw tooth
  • Point Line: An imaginary line drawn between the tip of a saw’s teeth
  • Baseline: An imaginary line drawn between the base of a saw’s teeth
  • Toe: The end of the saw most distant from the handle
  • Heel: The end of the saw closest to the handle
  • Plate: The blade, into which teeth are cut
  • Front: The edge of the plate with the teeth
  • Back: The edge of the plate opposite the teeth
  • Pitch: The number of teeth per inch or points per inch
  • Breasting: The degree to which the front of the saw is curved, which is greatest in saws intended for heavy and coarse work; backsaws are not breasted
  • Kerf: The width of a saw’s cut, defined by the degree of “set” of the teeth
  • Set: The degree to which alternating teeth of a saw are bent out to one side or the other (flush-cut saws have set only on one side of the plate)
  • Rake: The angle the front of the tooth makes with a line drawn perpendicular to the point line, and lying in the plane of the saw plate
  • Fleam: The angle the front of the tooth makes with a line drawn perpendicular to the plane of the saw plate
  • Slope: The angle the tip of the tooth creates with the side of the saw plate

There’s more, of course.  And it’s far easier to understand these terms with illustrations, which I chose not to steal and post here.  If you’re interested, here are some of the places I found these fascinating tidbits:

If I’m going to acquire all the knowledge there is to acquire, I’m going to have to learn faster than I’ve been learning.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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One Response to I Should Have Sawn This Coming

  1. Mel says:

    Nice to know you’re staying on the cutting edge!

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