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Rip (Hand) Saw length

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Forum topic by MikeInPenetanguishene posted 10-01-2010 05:04 AM 7004 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MikeInPenetanguishene

57 posts in 2520 days


10-01-2010 05:04 AM

I’m interested in purchasing a hand-saw for dimensioning boards. I was looking at the Wenzloff Panel Saws at LV and noticed they were 20” in length, but many of the older saws, like the Disston #8 (I believe) were 26”.

Is that extra 6” going to make significant difference? I’m about to make a sawing bench, but I’m only 5’6” so it’s not going to be high off the ground and I’m thinking the 20” may be plenty. Any fault to my thinking?

-- Mike Guilbault, Penetanguishene, Ontario


15 replies so far

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ajosephg

1878 posts in 3021 days


#1 posted 10-01-2010 05:15 AM

I just bought Thomas Flynn PAX rip saw, and it is 22 inches. Works great.

-- Joe

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TopamaxSurvivor

17654 posts in 3136 days


#2 posted 10-01-2010 06:26 AM

I have used standard lenght hand saws quite a bit. I’m about your size. I never use the whole blade on a normal stroke. I don’t think I would want it any shorter than 20”. It will probably be fine.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View newbiewoodworker's profile

newbiewoodworker

668 posts in 2287 days


#3 posted 10-01-2010 08:24 PM

Holy crud… A Crosscut hand saw is more than I paid for my Mitre saw… Those things have gotta be made out of nickel and gold… lol..

I think I would want it a few inches higher than that. Maybe 36in? I go with the waist high measurement… It allowes me to work with handsaws when I use them, as well as power tools, without stooping over. I wont give you the height of my bench, since it would probably be to your chest, since Im about 6’... :)

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

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swirt

2117 posts in 2432 days


#4 posted 10-01-2010 08:54 PM

A few things to keep in mind… The old Disstons had blades that often went way back into/beneath the handle
Which made them measure longer than they actually were (unlikely anyone used the saw that far down to use what was beneath the handle.

I am also 5’6” and my sawbench which is 18” tall works well with a 22” saw. I have a couple longer Disstons but they are just a touch long and risk touching the nose of the saw to the ground if I use full extension.

I’m not sure I understand the price of those saws. You can find a good old Disston Rip saw for usually less than $20 at flea markets and garage sales and with a bit of clean up and sharpen, you’ll have one of the best saws ever made. Sure the Wenzloff saw comes sharpened, but after you use it a few times, it won’t be sharp anymore either. I can understand prices for highly precise planes as they can save time tuning (separate from sharpening), but a rip saw is not precision tool. (sorry for the rant)

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

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newbiewoodworker

668 posts in 2287 days


#5 posted 10-01-2010 09:26 PM

What do you know… I have one of them… Ill post an image on here later, just to see if someone can tell me for certain, if OP doesnt mind.. And to think, I was going to throw it out, since its rusted and dull… maybe Ill clean it up… :)

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

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JerrySats

237 posts in 3070 days


#6 posted 10-01-2010 11:17 PM

IIRC From a Ron Herman clinic , if you stand up and place you hand down your side measure from the tips of finger to the floor . You’ll come up with a good starting length . When using a saw bench your length should be even shorter do to being close to the floor . I’m 6’ and 26” would be good length for me not using a bench . A few inches shorter if I were .

Information

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newbiewoodworker

668 posts in 2287 days


#7 posted 10-02-2010 03:05 AM

I looked, its exactly like that, but it says on the button “Warranty Superior” Its also not a panel saw, but rather cross cut.

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

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Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 2575 days


#8 posted 10-02-2010 03:32 AM

the greater lenght on a saw when you go from 20 -28 inch is some thing thats used
to both for larger boards of wood (timber) but you can allso use it as advance to reduse tearouts

if you saw on a right angle to the board you will get alot of tearout compared to
if you saw in an angle of 45 degree or 30 beside taking a saw with finer teath then
saw in an angle of 15-20 degree and you will see what I mean you need a longer saw
to cut in low angles with out the risk of the saw will jump up and out of the sawgroove

look at the long saws compared to the shorter , the shorter ones has tipicly a finerteeth set

and the long 26-28 inch saws was tipicly something the carpenters had on jobsite were they need
speed more than they needed it to bee beautyfull

take care
Dennis

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canadianchips

2345 posts in 2457 days


#9 posted 10-02-2010 04:42 AM

The length of your arms will have an effect on the length of the saw. You want the motion of your arm comfortable while doing the cut. If you have to extend your arm farther than what is natural just to use the LONG blade you are working against yourself. You will get tired quicker, as well as have sore arms. I like my cutting benches lower to ground. I think my saw bench is 24” high. For ripping boards look for a saw blade with fewer teeth per inch. Hand saws do come in RIP, crosscut and panel blade tooth patterns.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View MikeInPenetanguishene's profile

MikeInPenetanguishene

57 posts in 2520 days


#10 posted 10-02-2010 05:06 AM

Thanks for the info guys. Sounds like the 20” blade length will do me just fine as well as reduce the risk of hitting it when I get my saw bench built.

I’ve heard the argument many times about purchasing an older saw, flea-market/garage sale style, and reconditioning/sharpening it. But I’d like at least my first saw to be a good one so I can use that as reference for later purchases. I get so little time to woodwork as it is, I don’t want to spend a lot of time hunting for tool bargains, learning how to restore them, learning how to sharpen them, etc before I can actually use it. I can learn what I need to know to keep my new saw sharp – but again, buying a good one new will give me a reference as to what a sharp saw is to start with.

-- Mike Guilbault, Penetanguishene, Ontario

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swirt

2117 posts in 2432 days


#11 posted 10-02-2010 05:30 AM

newbiewoodworker, warranted superior often (but not always) means that the saw was made by Disston for marketing under someone else’s name (like Craftsman or some other store name). Either that or Disston just made the saw nuts ;)

Panel saws are typically crosscut in nature. The panel name has more to do with their blade size, but usually they are filed crosscut and often have lesser set and finer teeth. I think the Disston approach was to call anything less than 24” in crosscut configuration a panel saw. Larger than that was a “hand saw” and pretty much anything 28” or larger was filed Rip so it was called a rip saw. Generally the panel saws had totes that were a little smaller (usually one less saw nut than the larger version of the saw).

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

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swirt

2117 posts in 2432 days


#12 posted 10-02-2010 05:36 AM

“But I’d like at least my first saw to be a good one so I can use that as reference for later purchases.”

I understand, but I think if you start with the Wenzloff you won’t need to buy another rip saw…ever. Errr… I know I have three rip saws, but I could be happy with just having one. Of the other two, one has family history and the other was just supposed to be used for parts…. but it ended up cleaning up nice…so I use it more as a beater on more questionable or dirty wood. ;)

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

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newbiewoodworker

668 posts in 2287 days


#13 posted 10-02-2010 07:23 AM

Swirt: thats the same way with the one that I am talking about; Family history: It apparently was my great great grandfathers.

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View MikeInPenetanguishene's profile

MikeInPenetanguishene

57 posts in 2520 days


#14 posted 10-02-2010 01:58 PM

I’ve got a few tools from my dad, hammer, hand-drill, chisels and a few others. I’ve actually got an old Disston from him as well. I haven’t been able to find any info on it though. It’s a K-1 from Disston Canada and theres no info on it even in the Disstonian Institute site. It’s got some rust on it, but once I know more about restoration I’ll clean it up and sharpen it. I’m sure it’ll be a favourite just because of the history.

-- Mike Guilbault, Penetanguishene, Ontario

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ShannonRogers

540 posts in 3248 days


#15 posted 10-04-2010 09:12 PM

The gang has covered all the bases here so I’ll just add my two cents. I’m 6’4” so I like a longer saw and measuring my arm throw (as suggested above) tells me 26” is good but a 28” will work too. That being said I still have 2 panel saws (19 & 20”) that I use quite a lot. I have them sharpening with a higher pitch for cleaner/finer work. The shorter length is also nice for taking the saws on the road and fitting them into a toolbox.

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

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