So this is my first tool test/comparison. I am putting my LN progressive pitch VS. my friends Veritas 14tpi VS. other friends Bad Axe 15tpi.
Before jumping into using the tools, let’s introduce them. First my LN progressive pitch. The saw plate is 9” long, 1 5/8” depth of cut the plate is 0.020” thick with a kerf of 0.026”. The major difference is this saw has 16tpi at the toe and progressively gets more aggressive at the back where it is 9tpi. The saw come’s hand filed and set. Brass saw back with a figured maple handle.
The Veritas saw has 14tpi, 9” worth of teeth with a cutting depth of 1 9/16”. The saw plate is 0.020” thick and leaves a kerf of 0.026”, same as the LN. The website does not say, but I am thinking that the saw is machine filed and set, there are identical markings on each tooth that would suggest this to be the case, but again I am just speculating. As you may already know, the Veritas saw backs are made from stainless steel powder, glass fiber and a polymer resin. If you think it looks cheap, you are wrong, this thing is solid, has some weight to it. It like it. The handle is bubinga.
Bad Axe. This is an interesting saw, as there were some custom things done to this saw by the makers at the request of my friend, I do not have all the specifics. But the saw has a plate 10”, depth of cut is 2”, 15tpi and the saw plate is 0.018” thick. If I were guessing at 0.003” set on each side that leaves a kerf of 0.024”. This is thinner than both the LN and LV. This saw was hand filed and set, and worthy of note, this saw has a canted saw plate. Because when you order one of these saws there are lots of options, from the colour of the nuts, the handle size and species, saw back material, each one is going to be different. This one happens to have black oxide carbon steel (?) back and a mesquite handle. I love the way this looks.
Now to start using the saws. I am using some ¾ cherry for my material in this comparison. First test is the ease of starting a cut. I marked ten lines and made ten test starts with each saw and went down about ¼. When starting a cut I do a little nibble with the toe of the saw (about the first inch worth of teeth). Because the LN has 16tpi at the toe, this saw is very easy to start a kerf with. But I would not say the easiest. I would say the LN and the Bad Axe were pretty even on this. The Veritas was not as easy, not saying it was not easy, just not AS easy. I did find the Veritas had a tendency to catch a little bit, I do not have an explanation for this. I only have suspicions, and I suspect that it just might have a different feel because it is machine filed? After the first two ‘catches’ I made a slight adjust in my grip and I did not catch again.
Next was to see how aggressive/fast each saw was. I made a line 1” down and then made 5 cuts to the line. I counted the number of strokes and then averaged them out. I was quite surprised with the results. LN was 12. Veritas was 8, and Bad Axe was 7.5. Some interesting things to note with this test. The Bad Axe has a canted saw plate, the plate is also thinner and longer, all of this accounts for a fast cut, I was expecting that. What I was not expecting was that the LN was 4 strokes slower than the other two. I think I might have an explanation for this though. The BA and V have a consistent tooth patter over the whole plate, the LN does not. What I found with the LN was that when I was about ¾ through a stroke, the saw would catch and stop, and after a few strokes I found that it always stopped in the same place, at the same tooth (NO, the saw plate is not kinked). Could it have something to do with the teeth becoming TOO aggressive? And thus becoming harder to push through the material? It could be an explanation. It makes sense to me. (I did adjust my grip on a separate piece of wood and made a few cuts to see if I could make a simple adjustment with my grip to get full use, and I found that to get the saw to go past that point I had to put quite a bit more effort into the stroke and it made it quite difficult.) No matter the cause, the effect is simple. ¾ of the teeth being used over the course of 12 strokes easily accounts for the 3-4 extra strokes needed to get to the same point, where the other two saws were getting full strokes.
To be as fair as possible in this test as well…. the Bad Axe and the Veritas a both quite new, and still really sharp. My LN is getting close to three years and I have used it… a LOT! So… I am guessing that I should sharpen it. This small thing is likely a large contributing factor in how slow it cut. I fully believe that if this saw was as sharp as the other two, it would have cut with similar stroke counts.
Once I had done all my test cuts, I looked at the pieces of wood and checked to see if there was any real difference in the appearance. None. I repeat, there was NO noticable difference in the end product. All three saws achived the same result.
Bad Axe. Everything about this saw screams awesome! I love the size, the weight, the handle is comfortable. I can easily say that this is the nicest saw that I have ever used. This comes in at somewhere between $200-300.
LN. I really like the classic brass back and the shape of the handle, it has classic curves and it s really nice figured maple. The progressive pitch does really work, the toe makes starting the cut really easy and it does cut aggressively. (just not mine, as said before, it needs to be sharpened). I paid 135? USD for this saw.
Veritas. With the new technology for the spine, and the dark bubinga handle, I like the way it looks. I really feel that once you have used this saw, and gotten a good feel for it, you can do everything the more expensive saws do. And at $65, you cannot go wrong.
Conclusion: With the BA being around 4x the Veritas, and the LN somewhere in between, you might be thinking that it’s not fair to test the saws from such a huge price range. But I think it is fair. Here’s why, a saw is a saw is a saw, except when it’s not. I am not talking about big box store saws, they suck. I’m talking about your ‘premium’ saws. Saws that were made to be used seriously. Just because the Veritas is less expensive, that does not mean it is not a ‘premium’ saw, it is. I have no qualms about throwing the Veritas against the other makers. It really does belong in this group of saws that are much more expensive.
There was nothing on any of the saws that I did not like. There were some things that I liked more, and those things come with a price tag. So it all comes down to how much you want to spend.
So whats next for me? Well, step one is sharpen my saw!