Maintenance:It is a good idea to keep a coat of oil or silicon spray on your saw's blade when not in use. This will minimize the chance of rust forming on the blade. The blade is high carbon steel with no rust-inhibiting alloys added.
Handle: The handle on your saw is finished with a wiping varnish for the beauty of a hand-rubbed finish. The handle nuts require a special screwdriver to remove.
Sharpening: The steel in your saw's blade is the best that's available. It is very hard (50-52R) and will stay sharp a long time. Eventually, however, you'll have to sharpen it. You can do this easily yourself with a little practice. We use a 5" double extra slim taper file to file the teeth on the saw. You can do the same if you're skilled at filing. If not, start with a smaller 4" extra slim taper file, which will make it easier to line up the file with the gullet for beginning filers. Files are available from us.
Take a couple of pieces of thin, straight scrap and clamp them in your vise on either side of the blade so that the top of the scrap is flush with the bottom of the gullets on the teeth. Take your file and take one swipe per tooth. Notice the small groove the file leaves in the wood. This is a good gauge to show you how deep you're filing. The teeth are so fine on your saw that no more than one pass per gullet should be necessary. If you use this method consistently, you shouldn't ever have to joint your saw. Of course, Dovetail Saw teeth are sharpened to a rip profile, so you can file all the teeth on the Dovetail Saw from the same side.
You can use a Stanley 42X saw set on our saws. The Stanley set may vary from ours, so experiment on a small area before you do the whole saw. Your saw blade should measure only .024 - .027" when properly set. The slight set is what makes the saw cut and track so well. If done improperly, you'll notice a drastic decrease in performance. You should only have to reset your blade after every other sharpening, not every time. The ultimate test of any setting job is how well the saw cuts. Take some scrap and start a cut. The saw should glide through the wood without jumping around in its kerf. It should not be hard to push, nor should it be roomy in the kerf. If either of these conditions exists, increase or decrease the set accordingly. If the saw tracks away from the line, the side on the saw that is furthest from the line has too much set. A simple remedy is to lightly stone the edge of the offending side with a medium India slip stone. Take one swipe with the stone, and try another cut. Usually only one or two passes with the stone will correct the problem. Don't remove too much, however, or you will have the same problem on the other side until not enough set is left to make a cut. Once you have determined by trial and error that you have just enough set on that particular saw, make a note of where your saw set is adjusted for future reference. You may also send your saw back to Lie-Nielsen for sharpening.