A Japanese Saw Sharpening Vise

Its long overdue that I make a better saw sharpening vise. Jason posted this great diagram of ChoMasaru’s vise quite a while ago when he put one together:


The image quality is not so good, but it looks to be in shaku scale.

Odate has a small diagram of a saw vise in his woodworking tools book, which I had used as the basis for the last one I made, but I was never happy with it.

I started by making a rule with sun (寸) increments (30.3mm) using a piece of kumiko I had laying around.

And then joined up some white oak, wide enough to fit the full length of my 350mm rip saw which tends to see the most sharpening of all my saws.

From the diagram a wooden pattern was made to trace the shape on the edges of the joined white oak.

I started on the inside of the pattern, slaying the waste with a router.

The rest of the inside shaping was with hand planes.

Before starting the shaping on the outside I clamped both pieces together to match drill for the small bolts I used to hold the two pieces together.

I had a newcomer to the shop as well, making a fidget spinner out of wood. The irony of someone getting completely absorbed and spending hours and hours making a small toy meant for people with attention problems was not lost on me. Young people need tools in their hands, not fidget toys. I could do without my tools being dropped on the concrete floor though, best to have a student set of stuff on hand for such occasions . Oh, and a first aid kit for when they cut themselves, which they always do, no matter how carefully you explain the whole “don’t cut into your hand with the chisel” thing.

After drilling for the bolts the rest of the outside profile was cut. I sped things up a bit with a power planer before refining with a low angle block plane.  Too much time lost to repairing a chipped plane blade dropped on the ground, haha.

Fitting the wedge took a while, I started off with an angle too obtuse to stick in there.  Now I just need the little box to lay it up against and collect the filings. Having a good vise for filing makes all the difference in getting nice teeth geometry, and the ChoMasaru pattern is beautiful!

My shop is located at the other end of this rainbow if you want to visit.


One thought on “A Japanese Saw Sharpening Vise”

  1. I just had the final day of high school in my life today, I am not going to miss the fidget spinners. Or the screaming. Or the yelling…or the busywork… Will miss the weight room though.

    I might make a new saw vice, too. The pine board I made mine out of has a weird 2 inch side that keeps drooping over, like this: L but with the little bit at more of an angle. It’s been maybe two years, and this wood was air dried NY pine. I’ve tried planing it flat countless times. Every time it droops back within a day or two.

    Great to see the updates, Gabe!

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