Hand tool tips and tricks #7: Getting Clean Crosscuts with a Rip Saw

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Blog entry by RGtools posted 02-06-2013 02:08 PM 1981 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: No straightedge needed Part 7 of Hand tool tips and tricks series Part 8: Waste Removal on a Through Mortise. »

I don’t have a dedicated carcase saw filed crosscut. I have one hanging around the shop that I should sharpen and straighten the plate on, I just have not got around to it yet. So for the most part I use my dovetail saw for finishing crosscuts.

There are a few tricks to this.

First, use a knife to lay out your cut lines: It’s more accurate, but more importantly. It severs the fibers of the wood that would normally be torn up by the rip teeth (a crosscut saw acts like the knife). Take a look at what I mean.

On the left you can see my knife line; on the right side of the kerf you can see the fuzz that gets created by the saw. You get smoother cut with a knife.

The second tip is also shown in the first picture: don’t cut all the way through your stock from one direction. This will cause tear-out on the back and bottom of your stock. Instead cut down about an 8th” and turn the stock 90 degrees away from you (the kerf you just made will be on the exit side of your next saw cut). Cut an 8th” down your next knife line and repeat this process on the remaining two sides. The kerfs that you have made will guide you easily and accurately through the rest of the cut.

The results will look like this.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

7 comments so far

View waho6o9's profile


8207 posts in 2604 days

#1 posted 02-06-2013 02:14 PM

That’s awesome RG, thanks.

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3179 days

#2 posted 02-06-2013 02:33 PM


-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View AnthonyReed's profile


9759 posts in 2468 days

#3 posted 02-06-2013 02:49 PM

Braggart. Great tips Ryan. Thank you man.

How are you liking that Blue Spruce? It sure is sweet looking.

-- ~Tony

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3362 days

#4 posted 02-06-2013 05:24 PM

I will try this, it sounds like a good idea. I usually saw most of the way through in one go and then I turn the wood 90’ to get the bottom remaining corner to avoid tearout. It works,m but your method sounds better.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2595 days

#5 posted 02-06-2013 11:19 PM

you can use this method when your cutting with a power saw to, and your to lazy to change the blade when it gets dull. How do I know? I must have read it some wheres, because I’d never use a power saw OR be to lazy to change the blade. :-)

Ryan, you’re on a role with these tips. Super nice job!!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2682 days

#6 posted 02-07-2013 02:36 AM

It’s been a while since I have had braggart thrown my way…I’ll take it :). The blue spruce feels wonderful in the hand. I don’t know how to describe it other than it kind of disappears, I am the knife. Good tools feel like that.

Don…I must have read it somewhere too.

Thanks to everyone who is stopping in. I am really enjoying this particular format and I have quite a few of these I feel like drafting up.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View BenR's profile


340 posts in 2656 days

#7 posted 02-07-2013 06:23 AM

Nice tip

-- Ben in Va

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