Got files? Ready! Get set! GO!

P1170413 OK. It’s Saturday morning and your saws just came in from the Amazon jungle and so too a Bahco 6″ slim taper file. Here in the UK go here to get them at a fair price, in the USA go Bahco and for the rest of the world go directly to  Bahco’s world locator site here. DSC_0171

You need two saws because you want a ripsaw and a crosscut version too, but the two saws available from S&J are both crosscuts because the bright sparks at Spear & Jackson decided we no longer need ripsaws to be made.

Are S&J any good?

As saws go and at first impression, no, but they are wonderful for you develop skills on without losing sleep on wasted money, wasted energy and wasted time. They are perfect piece of kit for developing your saw sharpening skills. In the past I have asked makers to come up with a saw sharpening kit so that new woodworkers can just practice on an inexpensive piece of milld steel with teeth cut into the plate at the cross and rip-cut patterns they need. Something less intimidating. Well here we have something much better. You will end up with good saws that could be lifetime saws too. When my crosscut saws arrived from S&J (bought via they did cut but they weren’t as sharp as I could sharpen them myself.

I called head of sales management at S&J and told him I had bought the saws and he went into a spiel about how wonderful the saws were and I stopped him to tell him I didn’t want to disappoint him but they were basically just good kits and not well defined at all; that the materials were good quality but that they (S&J) stopped short in what they did with them to make them fully functional. Him starting out with a brag on the 250 years experience in saw making irked me a little more and I suggested, “Then in that case the company should be improving not retrogressing.” Anyway, you do get good steel and a good wooden handle and you can make them work as you can see here in this video presentation.



You can do what I did to get great results from low cost saws comparable to if not better than the best by watching. Make certain when you buy that you do not buy hard point saws as these will not sharpen and you will ruin your file with the first few strokes.

These saws cost £22 including shipping from, but there are other suppliers too.

For sharpening a crosscut hand saw go to our most recent video here.




  1. There is a brand in Germany, FORTIS, which has 20″ hand saws (crosscut) for as little as 10€ (plus shipping), which will get you two saws for sharpening practice for about 23€ (~18£) at amazon. I got a 12″ one and a back saw, both with beech handles and working well enough. I think this may be a perfect option for other German woodworkers.

  2. Hi there from Portugal,
    Bacho files, look like they are made in Portugal but I can not find a place in Portugal to bye!!
    If anyone knows a place please let me know, thanks.
    Augusto Campos
    (YT channel Blog das Madeiras)

        1. Augusto,

          I’m also from Portugal and I bought Tome Feteira’s files directly from their site, but only after some emails with them, because they try to sell only in packs of 10.

          About Bahco, I read once on the internet that they are made in Vila do Conde, but never tried to buy them. Don’t know if it helps.

          Nice blog of yours, by the way.

          Nuno Mendes

      1. I have had the Great Neck saw for a couple of years now and have been quite pleased with it, for the price. It comes in quite usable condition and can be sharpened.

    1. Yes, they sell out very quickly. The best thing to do is place a back order for them.

  3. Hello Paul
    It’s an interesting comparison of S&J then and now. However, the company is not the company it was. As I’m sure you know, it is owned by SNH holdings, a Hong Kong-based company who have relocated much manufacture to China. The garden tools they produce are similarly more a “handy-man” product compared with the quality forged tools of the past that have lasted me 40 years so far and will last another 40+. I haven’t seen their saws but wonder if a fairer comparison would have been with a Pax saw They produce both rip and cross-cut. Although these don’t have the nice handles of by-gone UK manufacturers (or the Lie Nielsen – but the LN is 3 times the price), they are well sharpened (finished by hand I think?) and seem to cut well from my limited experience (I only own one). I wondered, IF there is a market for a more expensive UK-made hand finished rip and cross-cut saw with a decent handle, could you commission Thom. Flinn to make one as Peter Sefton has done with his pear-handled dovetail saw? I’m sure they could produce a really nice saw, as good as manufacturers of old, and still be cheaper than the LN landed in the UK. Cheers Richard

  4. Do you recommend removing the varnish from the new saws? Does it effect the cut or increase the friction in the cut?

  5. Yes. That makes the saw grab and vibrate. Remove it or just use till it wears away and then apply a little wax to the plate and it cuts the at its very best.

  6. I am just getting started into woodworking with just hand tools, and I was/am looking at the P&J saw. The only thing which kept me from purchasing is not knowing if it was any good and if you could really resharpen the saw.. And now you made a video about it.
    Now I know which saws I am going to purchase.. and offcourse try to sharpen them myself.. Thank you for doing the research, and all the other video’s

  7. Paul,
    I have been a follower of your Blog and videos for a while now and see you are making inroads in getting traditional skills re-established which is brilliant. However I think you still have a way to go when the H&S police are against you. I’m sure most people here in the UK will be aware that an apprentice joiner cannot by law use a power tool; bench saw, router, etc. until they are 18 years old. To be fair I can just about see the reason for this. On the plus side this means they have two years to develop their hand tool skills, which is great.

    Imagine the scene: A keen as mustard, honest as the day is long apprentice joiner has bought himself/herself a couple of the S&J saws and has been working away for a few weeks when their tradesman notices the saws are getting a bit blunt and says “Get yourself a couple of saw files and I’ll teach you how to sharpen your saws. They are available at a good price at this website” and gives the apprentice the address of the web site you have given us; and there is the dilemma, when placing their online order our apprentice must declare they are over 18 (scroll down the web page a bit and you’ll see the age restriction). Someone in the file seller’s organisation has decided these are an age restricted product. What is the world coming to? Our poor apprentice can’t use a power saw and can’t honestly in this instance buy the tools they need to sharpen their hand saws.

    As an aside, I have been on construction sites where “Stanley” knives are banned. No knife walls there then. I would not be surprised to learn that someone has banned the sharpening of chisels and planes to more than 80 grit, ….. just in case someone cuts themselves.

  8. Thank you thank you thank you. I’ve been looking for a saw that is not expensive, but has good quality steel and this just the ticket. Lie Nielsen, undeniable quality, but too much. Thomas Flinn, good steel, but handles are too large for me, so I would have to make handles anyway.

  9. I did the same thing some time ago using a STANLEY 1-20-010 saw.
    This is a cheap, sharpable saw with an excellent blade. See my experience here:
    And yes, it has a plastic handle – but it is easy to replace:
    Maybe the STANLEY 1-20-010 saw is easier to get for american woodworkers – at least this is what I would expect from an european perspective…

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