Welcome to the Saw Set Collector's Resource, my name is Mark Conley and I have been collecting saw sets for over 20 years now. I am putting up what information I have, with pictures, as a resource for anyone interested in collecting saw sets as a hobby or as a general resource for anyone of interest.  There are presently over 250 pictures of different patented and non-patented saw sets on this site.   This is not intended to be a price list, so if that is why you came, have fun looking at the pictures. Seriously, the price of saw sets is dependent on the scarcity, uniqueness and interest just like every collectable and can make high prices. The vast majority of common ones will sell for no more that $10.00.  This site is dedicated to saw sets only and will not include saw jointers, raker gauges, saw filing jigs or saw vises, however if you want to know what they are go here other saw sharpening equipment.

I am not claiming to have the largest, best or the definitive collection of saw sets, however I have been frustrated for years trying to get information on saw sets.  What information I have is posted on this site, with the most detailed in the Additional Information section below.  Included in the Additional Information Section are the two articles from the 1980's on saw sets by the late Paul Morgan from the EAIA Chronicle and some original investigations into questions and histories of different manufacturers.  

This is a work in progress and will be updated as new pictures, information and time become available. I will gladly put pictures of any saw set that I do not have up on this site with the owner's name. Please bear with me since I do not do this for a living. Please send e-mails to webmaster.

Todd Friberg has published "Patented American Saw Sets". This is an excellent reference and should be purchased by anyone who is interested in saw sets. It lists all Patents pertaining to saw sets from 1812 to 1925 including the patent pictures.  You can purchase a copy of Todd's book from Martin J. Donnelly at Saw Set Book.  The full patent information, including patent diagrams, on individual saw set patents can be found at the U. S. Patent Office at www.uspto.gov.



What is a saw set?

A saw set or sometimes called a sawset, is a tool used to alternately bend the side of a saw blade's tooth left and right. A saw blade which has had the teeth bent is said to have been set.

Set allows the blade to continue through the wood without dragging on the newly cut wood. Softwoods tend to need more set than hardwoods due to the increased fiber length. Many years ago cabinetmakers would adjust the amount of set depending on what type of wood used in their shop much like the change in angle on plane irons. Loggers would also adjust the amount of set depending on whether the wood was frozen or not.

In today's world of throwaway carbide circular saw blades, pre-hung doors and windows and the "trim-less" house, this seems like a rather odd tool. But as late as the 1940's most of the wood cut on a house was cut to length by hand. A sharp saw was very important if the carpenter was to keep the work going smoothly and with as little effort as possible. If anyone of you have tried to cut a 2 x 4 with a sharp saw without any set will be amazed how quickly it will stop cutting. The blade will jam on the side of the blade and stop the saw from cutting into the wood. Taper ground saw blades were a solution to this problem, but did not completely eliminate the need for set.

Oddly, a dull saw with the correct amount of set will cut better than a sharp one without enough set.

The earliest saw sets, going back to Roman times, were pieces of plate iron with slots. Called wrests, they were in use into modern times and some examples are shown on this site. The slot was slid over the tooth and the handle pushed down bending the tooth. Later examples had stop pieces to control the distance traveled and created a more uniform set. Many examples were hand made, some using the ubiquitous file.

As the machine age evolved, the need to set saw teeth faster and better became a problem many people tried to solve. It can be compared with the computer Internet of our age. And just like the computer, gradually the best designs won out. What is left is the ingenuity of a lot of people and some really strange designs. These are the bulk of what people collect today and are what is represented in this web site. It should be noted that not all saw sets patented were actually manufactured commercially. 

The web site is divided into 5 different sections representing each different category of saw set design function and action. Some designs may fit into several categories, so if you do not find what you are looking for in one category, try another and it might be there. Since this is not a total and complete list, please realize that your item may not be included in this resource

If you have a patent date or a patentee's name, go to the Patent List section below.  The Patent List lists all of the patents shown on this site by date, number and name and is interconnected with the rest of the site.  Clicking on the patent number will take you to the picture of the saw set within the body of the website.  

Also included in the Patent List below, are thumbnail pictures of each patented saw set.  If you are not sure what the patentee's name or number is, then review the thumbnails and click on the patent number to go to the larger picture within the site.

I want to thank Ron White, Robert Oehman and other saw set collectors for contributing information and pictures to this web site. 

Click on the pictures below to go to each section


Plier Hammer Band Saw Wrest or Lever Wheel


For a list of all patented saw sets shown on this site by date, name and number with a thumbnail picture patent list

For additional detailed saw set information about makers and patents  additional information

For additional information on setting saws setting saws

Believe it or not a Governmental website - make your own saw set (your tax money at work) make your own


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This website was last updated on December 19, 2010

Check out my other site at www.machineryscans.com for scans of old machinery and other things of interest