Which saw files do you need?
We have gone through all the sizes of saw files available from Bahco and looked at the ones we have here at the workshop to get a definitive list of saw files needed for sharpening various sizes of saws. The recommendations in red are for the longest of each size, but some aren’t as available online, so others are also included.
You may want to buy at least one with a handle which you can then transfer to the others when you need it. In conclusion you only need two files, or three if you want to sharpen a 16tpi saw as well.
Why is sizing saw files so complicated?
Using too large a file creates a wide bottom to the bottom of the gullet and shortens the height of the teeth. So you must decide which large or small saw you need for your work and find the files you need as a max and min. The right size for a file should be with file sides just over double the length of the tooth face you will be filing. With care, you can reduce the number of files needed to about two or three. The less obvious logic in sizing saw files is that as they decrease in length the files become slimmer and the file teeth become more fine and the small flat faces that form the corners suit the bottom of the gullet.
The reason for using saw files of varying sizes and tooth cut then directly correlates to the sizing index of the saw teeth. For finer saw teeth we need finely defined corners to the file to create equally fine gullet bottoms and fine cuts to the teeth. Coarser files of larger size remove too much steel to fast because they are harder to control in the stroke so the finer the cut of file the better control we have.
File sizing appropriate to the tooth size gives balanced wear on the faces of the file and gives you the equivalent of three larger flat files united by three small ones in one file. Since each corner functions as an independent file and the faces must function equally and therefore wear equally and to the same depth.