Straightening Bent Saw Backs (video)

Some of you asked how to straighten a bent saw back because the plates bend in  them and cause difficulty in the cut. We put this video together to help on YouTube.



  1. Brilliant! Simply brilliant! I will never forget this. The technique is only gained by truly being those and around those who know these tips. I know this was done and developed by artisans who used the saws day in and day out. I have a question to ask about replacing a saw plate on an old saw. I have a steel backed dovetail saw that I bought off a website. When it arrived it had a rusty plate that corroded and cracked right up to the back. I did not notice this from the pictures but felt the saw was worth saving. I am stuck at the point of trying to remove the plate in tact as to not ruin the back by leaving a corroded piece stuck in it. Any thoughts? thank you always for your time.

  2. Paul Is a slight bend in the plate on a hand saw(from Ebay) Anything to worry about? Is there any way to straighten it?

    1. Usually not. Slight bends matter very little and are easy to take out by counter-bending. But you really don’t need to. Good saws are made from spring steel to counter the otherwise likelihood of kinking in strained cuts through jarring.

  3. What you can do with a vice and a workbench is an absolutely wondrous.
    Thank you for sharing your great wealth of experience with us mere mortals.

  4. Thank you for that video Paul and all behind the scenes!
    Is there a method you can recommend on bend panel saws? I often saw nice old panel saws on the flea market but I hesitate to buy because they are often bend and I don’t know how to fix it.

    Thank you again for your enlightening video Paul!!

    1. Most handsaws including panel saws can be counter-bent quite hard and the bend will come out. This doesn’t work with kinked saws though. I usually don’t bother with buying saws with bad kinks as they are often more work than it’s worth. But that’s just me.

      1. Thank you Paul!
        I too would not buy saws with kinks. My question refered to saws with a bow in it and you answered that question. Thank you. Next time I consider to buy the saw and try to counter-bend it if the price is fair.

  5. Hello Paul,

    It’s interesting you posted this when you did. Just last week I was looking at the prices of the new Crown brass-backed gent saws, considering their value. I don’t have a good back saw yet and was trying to decide if I should save up for one with a proper grip, or if this type of gents saw would be sufficient to get started in practicing simple joinery. What are your thoughts?

    Thank you!

    1. I have used Crown saws alongside E. Garlick and Son and Wm Greaves & Sons and these saws are actually all made by one maker, Thomas Flynn. I really like the Crown saw, partly because of the Rosewood handle, but also because I have used them for two decades. I have talked with Crown hand tools to tell them of the issue and they were very gracious in looking at any issues and I think that they have addressed this to date. The cost such little money over the counter and once touched up, two minutes work, they cut with the very best. Their handles too are about the best though I like Veritas handles as well. So, yes, buy with confidence.

  6. Hi Paul have just cleaned up an old spear and Jackson tennon saw and sharpened as per your YouTube video really pleased with the saw but it seems to consistently pull left any ideas it’s about 15 ppi and have reduced the set with two hammers as shown the teeth are square filed to a rip cut any ideas what I’ve done wrong ?

    1. Use your fingertips and trace them along one side of the plate to feel for how much the teeth protrude and then do the same to the other. try to see if the set is even or whether you tipped the hammer face a little too much one face. If one side seems more set than the other, go back to the hammer s and try to even out. You may need to reset if all set is gone.

  7. Attempted this with a rule on teeth on various teeth on both sides of the saw and could see no difference will try to feel the teeth was contemplating wether it would be possible to make a new anvil for the saw set to produce less set .Are saw sets available that produce less set than 12 ? Thanks for the advice again Paul up until recently I thought hardpoint saws were unbeatable you’ve re educated me !

    1. Yes, Somax 250 saw sets are available in two set sizes, 4-12 tpi and 12-26 tpi. The numbers are the same on both sets but do not represent tpi but amount of set so you can adjust accordingly from a coarse set to a fine set. I recommend buying the one saw set as you don;t generally need the coarser setting saw except for very large saws perhaps.
      In the UK they are available from Axminster and in the US from Lea Valley Veritas and Highland Woodworking

      Best regards,


  8. Paul very informative postings. Thank you for the information.

    What tenon/dovetail saws would you recommend looking for on Ebay? Any comments on the new Veritas dovetail saw with “An over-molded blade and stainless-steel handle-mounting bolt create a solid one-piece blade/spine/mount assembly”?

    1. Pre 1980’s and after the WWII brass back tenon saws 10″, 12″, 14″ with 14-16 tpi Spear & Jackson are very nice saws but they don’t look too good when compared to earlier saws with beautifully shaped handles. I suppose I do favour all of the early makers who left such a massive legacy of fine western tenon/dovetail saws. I don’t know that there was any old maker that made a bad saw and they keep cycling though eBay every day I see them. Just about every one of them is worth £100 plus when compared to what’s being put out today by the big makers. Of course they go for much less than that, less than half usually.

  9. My LN 16″ tenon saw had a prominent curve in the middle of the blade I pressed the blade and it was like pushing paper, I was wondering due to our extreme summer heats was this the cause. I did apply your fix and it did take a lot of the curve out but not completely, I also tried bending in the vice but which helped slightly. Do you recommend that I pull the apart and hammer just that section. If I left it as is it doesn’t pose a problem though. I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

  10. how about S type bends in a tenon saw? how would you straighten that out?

  11. Thanks Paul. I have a Disston No 4 ( 8 inch ) that was made between 1896 to 1917 based on the medallion. It a had a slight wave in the blade but the back was dead straight. The wave caused it bind in the cut. After watching your video I gave it a few taps on the back with a hammer. This took most of the wave out. It now cuts very nicely. Hopefully it should be good for another hundred years or so !

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