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Has anyone tried hand filing or grinding sawteeth on their knife?

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by URHCS, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. URHCS


    Mar 2, 2006
    I was wondering if anyone had attempted hand filing saw teeth on their knife? I've tried it a couple of times and just screwed up the looks of the knife.
  2. Normark


    Nov 7, 1999


    Why would you want a saw back ??

    Saw backs are basically useless...


  3. tknife

    tknife Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 18, 1999
    If your knife is fully hardened, which most are, you'll have a helluva time putting teeth on it by hand.
  4. bob bowie

    bob bowie

    Jul 24, 2001
    I've added serrations to a blade using a chainsaw file. It's tedious work, but they did come out o.k. .

    As for adding a real working sawback to a knife, I would'nt bother. I think the best an average person could do is a ripping type serration like on the Al Mar Warrior, and those are not very useful on an outdoor knife.
  5. longbow50


    Jul 12, 2002
    They look cool to some, but are basically useless on an outdoors knife. The only knife I've owned that had the sawback type of spine was the USAF pilots survival knife and it wasn't designed for sawing. It was supposed to be used to rip through the skin of an aircraft for emergency evac.
  6. mp510


    Mar 20, 2006
    Nor does it work for sawing.

    Sawbacks are almost always a joke. A good knife really doesn't need things like sawbacks to prove itself.
  7. Macclint


    Apr 7, 2005
    I got to spend some time with a friend of mine, a Knifemaker on this forum, and he showed me how he had filed the teeth into the softend metal of the WSK he built (it was gorgeous) with a triangular file. He said (if I recall correctly) that hand filing took him several days.
  8. Zombie Zeke

    Zombie Zeke

    Nov 26, 2006
    Serrations work wonderfully for there intended purpose which is brutally ripping into things, I wouldn't try putting them on myself but Scott Tanguay does great work with mods like this. Good Luck.
  9. Myal


    Jun 7, 2003
    I made a knife from a saw blade and left the teeth on part of the spine , they work a treat but the knife itself just dont need them really ... but it will cut a 4x2 thru easily enoug ..

    WILLIAM.M Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 14, 2006
    The Chef is correct--Scott Tanguay can put excellent serrations on your knife(but you do not need Sawteeth)

    Serrations work well with Seatbelts,rope,fibrous material--and EMT would need them more often than a Dispatcher for example.

    Sawteeth----are best kept on SAWS:D
  11. B Finnigan

    B Finnigan

    Jan 16, 2006
    Most of the saw teeth I have seen and used on knives have been worthless. So when I built my own survival knife I used a type of tooth pattern that Dan Grey used on some of his knives. It's similar to chainsaw teeth and cuts very aggressive.

    To file them I made a two sided file guide out of 1095 and did not temper it after heat treating. One angle is for the rake and the other is for the pitch.


    The rake is only around 3 degrees because anything more would make the teeth bite too much. This test cut was done before the knife was heat treated on seasoned maple.

    The knife has been used on two camping trips and does saw faster then it chops on some types of wood.

    You could cut the teeth with a Symonds file and alot of patience. It took me three hours to cut them on my knife I forged.

    Dan Gray's survival knife:
  12. URHCS


    Mar 2, 2006
    Hi guys thanks for your responses. My main everyday carry knife is a Victronox Farmer which has an excellent saw blade. And there are times when I would rather saw something in half than whittle or chop through. Also if you were wanting to cut something really hard like an antler I think a knife blade would be rather useless. The knives I have tried this with have been small thin inexpensive fixed blades, a Buck and a Mora. What I had in mind was to come up with a section of the spine that resembles the victronox saw that would allow some fine exact cuts. Bob Bowie I had not thought about a chain saw file, I will have to look into that, thanks! A big chopper with a sawback was not what I was thinking about when I posted this question.. Finnigan, those saw teeth on your blade look like they would be very efficient cutters. Thanks for posting those pictures.
  13. trentu


    Mar 2, 2006
    I don't think saw teeth are useless on a wilderness/survival blade. It is all preference by the user. For me I use them for notching stakes, combing cordage fibers from bark strips and other plants, tenderizing meat and grinding fire tinder. Have also used it to saw ice holes in a pinch. It's all how you use the tool. I have a Predator.
  14. URHCS


    Mar 2, 2006
    Hi Trentu, what does a Predator look like? do you make them?
  15. ryk


    Jun 27, 1999
    well, ive been out of the loop for the better part of a decade, so my memory is a bit foggy...

    anyways, i thought i rememberd a whiles back that there was a custom blade maker, specialized in machetes, hawaii-based i think....

    anyways, these were closer to the thin-bladded typical machetes, not the various thick-bladed versions that we see quite a bit of nowadays.

    I think some of those came with a saw back, that supposedly worked fairly well, but then again, its using the full lenght of a machete, and due to the thin steel used in the blade, made it much closer to an actual saw...

    perhaps the name was something like aki? i think i read an article in one of the magazines, but, well, this was at least 5-7 years ago, maybe longer...

    but, yeah, i think thats a special case, i cant see them being too generally useful on most fixed blades.
  16. Buffalohump

    Buffalohump Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 7, 2006
    I was just gonna say, why not just carry a SAK with a saw blade, but I see you're there already...:)

  17. bob bowie

    bob bowie

    Jul 24, 2001
    Ross Aki :).

    Not sure about his knives, but sometimes you'll see knives made by recycling old saw blades or ham knives. These work well because of the thinness of the steel and proper cut of the teeth.
  18. trentu


    Mar 2, 2006
    URHCS, Red Scorpion Six makes them. It was based on the David Beck "Tracker" style knife. Has a wonderful grind on it. It works very well for my outdoor needs and I love it!! I am working out of state so I do not have my pictures.
  19. sunshaker


    Sep 22, 2007
    A saw on a knife back is more than putting teeth on the back of the blade (and arguably isn't much good). The Victorinox saw teeth are made using a "V" profile grinder (it is hard to tell the angle of the "V" on the grinding wheel but it looks like it might be 60 degrees) cut about 45 degrees across the edge in an offset crosshatch pattern (think kind of like a cross hatch file). It is possible to do this with a Triangular file and a file guide (I've thought about it, a Buck 110 with a locking Vic style Saw as a second blade would be sweet).

    Now when you are talking saws you have to keep in mind a couple of other things, first the teeth have to be hard or your saw will dull to quickly to be useful (which means the back of most knife blades are to soft to work as a saw unless they are hardened, but if they are hardened then you can't work them with a file, in either case this means you have to get into heat treating, which is a whole different topic and could be a real pain), second the cross-section of a saw needs to be different than the cross-section of most knives (measure your Vic saws at the edge and the spine and you will see what I mean, this can be fixed by offsetting the teeth, which would be a pain).

    If you want to make your own knife with a saw back you are probably going to have to grind or forge the whole thing yourself, it will most likely need to be a full Scandi Grind, you will spend hours getting the saw right (maybe even days and a few mistakes along the way), you will have to heat treat the blade (if it is carbon you can do it yourself, if it is stainless you will have to send it out), make your own handle and sheath. If you want it bad enough then everything I just said will be an adventure and you will do it.

    If all of that is to much for you, you can go buy a SOG Revolver which is a knife and a saw (though the saw is not on the spine of the knife).
  20. B Finnigan

    B Finnigan

    Jan 16, 2006
    The saw teeth on my survival knife are the widest point since I forged it to have a convex cross section. The teeth do not bind up because thier width decreases as they go to the point. I full quenched the knife vs edge quench like I normally do.

    It would make more sense to make a saw back or have someone make it then to try to put the teeth on an OEM knife.

    I forgot to post the pic of the jig being used to cut the teeth.


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