In-person course

Saw sharpening and fettling

Sharpening a saw


This is the course for you if you are a woodworker or rural craftsperson and you want to use a saw that just glides through wood with minimum effort and no binding. This is the course for you if you want to really understand the geometry of saw teeth and how they work to cut through wood. This is the course for you if you don't want to be part of the throw-away society by using a saw that must be discarded as it blunts.

Over the course of a day we will teach you the basics of filing a cross-cut saw, explaining the meaning of pitch, fleam, rake and set before you fettle saw blanks made from 6 inch wide recycled industrial band saws. 'Fettling' is more than sharpening. A fettled saw is straight, with sharp teeth lining up both horizontally and vertically. By lunchtime you will have made yourself your own very usable saw you will be keen to try out You’ll try various files, saw vises, and tooth-setting devices. You’ll soon know which of these may be relevant for you. And you’ll definitely understand how the saw sees the wood.

After lunch you can choose amongst these:

-fit and try different handles on your fresh-fettled saw-plate(s) to see which you like
-fettle a rip saw to cut along the grain
-fettle some teeth i.e. probably not all of a saw you have brought along
-try saw smithing for yourself to straighten bent saw plates
-cross cut logs using Great American and other saws

You will leave enthused and inspired about the delights of saw use and the ease of saw maintenance. You’ll understand how to maintain them and know which files, tools, equipment and resources you'll need to keep your own saws singing sweetly !

Our venue is Hill End Outdoor Education Centre OX2 9NJ, just outside Oxford. Hill End has 67 acres of tranquil and beautiful surroundings next to the world famous Wytham Woods used as an outdoor laboratory by Oxford University. Numbers are limited to allow physical distancing and we will follow all guidelines to remain covid-secure.

Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 2 weeks before the course starts. Start dates may be amended on request.

What's included in the price?

All of the tools, equipment and material to allow you to practice on recycled saw plates which you can take away.


David Knight at David Knight Woodland Crafts
Hill End Centre
Eynsham Road, Farmoor

Suitable for

  • Adults
  • Parking provided
  • Suitable for beginners
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