Reply by docholladay

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Posted on Backsaw with strange tab at rear end of cutting edge

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1287 posts in 3086 days

#1 posted 08-04-2011 03:07 AM

I would have to see pictures of your saw to make a guess as to what that is that you mention. I can’t think of a good reason for something like that unless maybe the saw was specially made for purpose of cutting the edges of stopped dados and the tab prevented cutting too far. Otherwise, I have not idea. As for what to look for in used back saws, the first things are straight back and blade. It is always a plus when the handle is in good condition, but it isn’t too difficult to make a new handle when needed. You can download templates for making your own handles from the website. Ideally, you try to find a saw that is sharp, but it also is not that difficult to learn to sharpen them, or you can always have someone sharpen them for you. Depending on the size and purpose of the saw, I have some other preferences. For a Rip tenon saw, I prefer a longer (18”) saw with a heavy blade and back such as the old Disston’s with a steel back. For dovetail and precision cutting, I prefer a smaller (10” or under) with a thin blade that doesn’t make much of a kerf. I also have some middle sized (12”-14”) that in both rip and crosscut and these are kind of in between. Still, I prefer one a little on the heavy side. That way the saw does the work. It isn’t necessary to put much force into the cut. One final type of saw is the big crosscut filed miter box saws. Mine is a massive 28” Millers Falls Langdon made by Disston. I like longer and heavier saws for this for the same reason. All you have to do is move the saw back and forth. I really have no preference for steel or brass backs. Generally, the American manufacturers tended to make saws with steel backs and the english saw makers made them with brass backs, but there are exceptions to this. As for tooth count, most of these types of saws with 12-15 tpi. At this fine of tooth count, generally any saw can still perform pretty well when filed rip, but for crosscutting, you may use a little less set to the teeth and you may not file as much rake into the teeth.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

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