Decent hand saws for rip/crosscut

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Forum topic by Jon Spelbring posted 02-12-2010 08:02 PM 3217 views 1 time favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jon Spelbring

199 posts in 3676 days

02-12-2010 08:02 PM

I’m trying to decide which way to go on hand saws (not joinery saws – panel saws).

I’ve got a couple of old Distons that I might be able to tune up into users, but I’m not smart enough on handsaws to really know.

I’ve also been looking at:

Lie Nielsen

I’m not certain just how much ripping I’ll be doing, but I’m determined to at least learn good sawing (sawyering?) techniques, and as with all things, crappy tools = crabby woodworker.

So, any Pax or Wenzloff owners want to pitch in? I read a review on the LN on this board, and it looks pretty sweet (my joinery saws are all LN). I know nothing about Pax.

I’m thinking of something in a 20” 8-10 tpi crosscut and a 26” 6-7 tpi rip. Does that sound right?

-- To do is to be

4 replies so far

View ShannonRogers's profile


540 posts in 3210 days

#1 posted 02-12-2010 11:25 PM


This is a mystical topic only for the bold. I have played with the LN saws and some Wenzloff saws while attending Woodworking in America conferences, but no serious amount of work. All of my hand saws are vintage saws either Disstons, Atkins, or Simonds. Like you I was a little confused by all the ephemera of hand saws and not sure I wanted to do all the tuning necessary. Enter Bad Axe Toolworks. Mark Harrell at Bad Axe not only make new backsaws, but he is an expert at restoring old saws. I recently sent a bunch of saws to him and had him tune them up like new. I wrote a review about it on my own blog and you can read it here. Also check out Mark’s facebook page where he has a saw discussion going on that goes into what types of saws will make up your nest. Ultimately you need to spend some time thinking about what type of work you will do to figure out the pitch and geometry of saws you will need most. Good luck and let me know if you have additional questions.

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at

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Jon Spelbring

199 posts in 3676 days

#2 posted 02-18-2010 09:33 PM

Thanks Shannon. I’ve picked up a couple of old Disstons over the past couple of years. I’ll probably contact Mark and see if they’re worth rehabbing. I’d like to have a decent pair of panel saws available, though they probably won’t get used a lot (unlike my ‘joinery’ saws – dovetail, carcase and tenon.

-- To do is to be

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 3550 days

#3 posted 02-18-2010 10:09 PM

Have you considered a Japanese hand saw?

-- 温故知新

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Jon Spelbring

199 posts in 3676 days

#4 posted 02-18-2010 10:39 PM


Yes, in fact I do have a couple of Japanese saws. So far though, I haven’t found any that are quite right (for me) for larger crosscutting/ripping. Plus, I’m kind of getting into western saws, sharpening, etc. As others have pointed out – a very slippery slope. I’m sure that it’s heresy (for both western and Japanese saw people), but my current “go-to” saw for rough cutting (2×4s, etc) is a Marples 12” carpenters pull saw.

-- To do is to be

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