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Friday, January 25, 2013

New Veritas file guide

Lee Valley/Veritas has put out another great tool. The new saw filing guide. A few of us were waiting for its release after hearing about it on the Sawmill Creek Forum. President, Rob Lee was kind enough to let us know the part number so we could order it by phone before it found its way to the web site.
Up until now, I have freehanded all of my saws. I never felt comfortable with file handles. They just never seemed to give me a good feel for the file. Going without a handle means that your fingers ache. My saws are all good users, but I also know that they can be better. When I saw this guide, I knew that it was exactly what I needed (wanted).
I ordered mine on Tuesday morning, and found it within a box of goodies that was waiting on the front stoop when I came home from work today (more about that box later). Upon opening the package, I was greeted by the usual high level of Lee Valley craftsmanship.
I've had a saw laying around that needed some fresh teeth, so that is my test saw. I was impressed with the first push of the file. In fact, I was so impressed, that I stopped half way through to write this!
Installed on the tip of the file, the markings for setting the rake angle are clear and easy to set with the brass screw. In this case, a rather aggressive zero rake.

Setting the fleam angle is just as easy. Turn the "fence" and lock the screw. Five degrees of fleam seems to be what the saw originally had, so I'm going to run with it.

Glam shot. This should have been the first picture, loaded out of order and it's a PITA to change (seriously, I run into all sorts of trouble when I try and change it)

File with the guide installed and set. A set screw locks the guide onto the tip of the file.

Set the saw in the vise, and start filing! The idea behind the guide is that you hold the fence level to the floor, and keep the edge parallel to the saw plate. The guide acts as a handle on the front of the file. With your thumb and forefinger on the flat of the guide, you have lots of control. It becomes incredibly easy to guide the file exactly as you want. Within a minute I was filing teeth that were way more consistent than anything I had done in the past.
Does this tool have any shortcomings? None that I can really think of. Maybe a letter telling me where I had put my allen wrenches would have been nice. However, that would mean that someone at LV is stalking me and sneaking into my house (and unless she's single and cute, I don't need a stalker).
I'll admit that I misinterpreted the function of the tool when I saw the first picture. In my head, it would have fit on the handle end of the file. That's just the way I pictured it. I may cut the tang off a file and give that a try just to see.
So, if you like to sharpen your own saws (or want to learn), there are a lot worse ways to spend $40. This guide doesn't take all of the skill out of the sharpening process. What it does is help you to be more consistent. Holding the tip of the file is a lot easier on your fingers, as an added bonus.
If I was going to put a letter grade on this little guy, I could give it an honest A+.


  1. So are you an accomplice of Rob Lee's? Just kidding; good review it told me what I needed to know. See ya on the Creek.

  2. Nice review.... So adjusting the "fence" controls left and right movement as you run your file. Does the rake angle (first photo) control rotating the file? I assume yes.

  3. Nope...not an accomplice, just a happy customer.
    Andrew-the fence assures that you can control the angle across the tooth line, yes. That is the part that I've had the least trouble with by freehanding. The rotating ring controls the rake angle, and that is the part that I think most of us probably struggle with.
    The saw that I tested on needs a full work-up, so I will likely revisit the guide as I finish up the saw.

  4. The better control and consistency of rake angle is what sold me.