Lee Valley Tools    Woodworking Newsletter
   Vol. 4, Issue 1
   September 2009
   What Is It?

What Is It?

Swaging is a process used in the metal-forming industry, whereby a piece of metal is manipulated in a controlled manner to alter its original shape, size or angle. "Swage" can be used as a noun, adjective or verb.

This reworking of a part, by hand or machine, creates a new or refined shape through various manufacturing stages. Normally associated with the use of a die (machine) or by hand (swage block), the part can be worked in either a hot or cold state. In woodworking, it was used to sharpen cutting tools, most notably saw blades. Swaging is a much different method from the lever set tools and the hand filing that are associated with smaller hand saws.

Used mainly on larger circular saw and band saw (band mill) blades, the swaging or upset process involves the widening of the saw blade tips to a triangular wedge or other shape. This creates a new cutting edge and gives some set (side clearance), all in one or more application, generally with one tool. This system relies on the use of force to deform the saw tooth, normally by striking the swage tool. Some early swages for this type of application employ two recesses, where one creates the form and the second receptacle gives a rudimentary finish set or clearance.
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