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Buying Quality Handsaws at Reasonable Cost - where or how?

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Forum topic by JohnMcClure posted 08-29-2017 06:00 PM 702 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JohnMcClure

94 posts in 422 days


08-29-2017 06:00 PM

Topic tags/keywords: saw question

I would like to buy a crosscut saw, rip saw, and dovetail/tenon saw. Lie Nielsen saws are $200+, so no thanks.

Paul Sellers shows how to set and sharpen a saw, and makes me think I should just go to the antique store and get a handful for $10 each. But I’m not certain I’d do a good job, having never owned a properly sharpened handsaw.

Is there a sharpen-able mass-market saw at a reasonable price? Sellers recommends one, but it’s only sold in the UK and is currently unavailable.

If I do go the antique store route, is there anything in particular I should be looking for? Am I likely to find both crosscut and rip, or simply buy two saws and sharpen them differently?
How bad a problem is a bowed plate on a panel saw? Last time I was antiquing I didn’t buy any because they all seemed at least somewhat bowed.
Thanks!


24 replies so far

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CharlesNeil

2069 posts in 3653 days


#1 posted 08-29-2017 06:06 PM

contact Bandit on here,he refurbs saws all the time, I have bought from him, the man knows saws, !!!

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bbasiaga

980 posts in 1777 days


#2 posted 08-29-2017 06:11 PM

I went with the Japanese style for these reasons….I’m not a primarily a hand tool worker, I don’t know enough about saws to trust myself to restore one, and the Japanese style have combo rip/crosscut options that reduce the total number I need. I ended up with a rip/cross combo bladed general purpose blade, and a fine tooth cross cut saw with a spine/back on it. They have done everything I need, and cost less than $100 total.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

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WayneC

13719 posts in 3879 days


#3 posted 08-29-2017 06:13 PM

I suggest posting this question in the Saw Epic Thread .

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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JADobson

887 posts in 1893 days


#4 posted 08-29-2017 07:20 PM

I’ve got Pax panel saws. Lee Valley sells them. Not $200 but not $10 either. I like them. http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=46886&cat=1,42884,63338

Don’t care much for their dovetail saws though (entirely aesthetic, never used one)

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany

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brtech

991 posts in 2705 days


#5 posted 08-29-2017 08:13 PM

The LV tenon/dovetail saws are really excellent and reasonably priced. The handles are comfortable and the balance seems to me (not a saw expert at all) to be just right. You have to be okay with a molded plastic spine, but I think the price/performance is hard to beat.

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Tim

3598 posts in 1744 days


#6 posted 08-30-2017 01:33 PM



If I do go the antique store route, is there anything in particular I should be looking for?

Saws between about 1860 and 1940 are typically better, and you’ll of course find saws more often in the later part of that range. Go for name brand saws like Disston, Atkins, Simmonds, etc over Warranted Superior, though you can find very serviceable warranted superior saws too. The more carefully shaped the handle, typically the higher quality the saw. You can look at the disstonian institute website to get an idea of age from the medallions.

Am I likely to find both crosscut and rip, or simply buy two saws and sharpen them differently

Just depends on what you run into. Switching from one to the other requires filing more metal away, but isn’t tragic. Crosscut is definitely harder to learn to sharpen, so start with a larger tooth rip saw if you can. 6 tpi is much easier to learn to sharpen than 20 tpi. Get some angle templates and make a rake block to stay consistent.

How bad a problem is a bowed plate on a panel saw? Last time I was antiquing I didn t buy any because they all seemed at least somewhat bowed.

Bowed can often be fixed by bending the other way. If it bends too easily and doesn’t spring back then it’s lost it’s temper and isn’t any good. But any well tempered saw can bow or unbowed if bent enough. Then there’s learning to hammer a bow out, which takes some skill.

I also recommend buying at least one well sharpened saw from an LJ to know what it’s like, but also try your hand at it, it’s a fun skill to learn and have.

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rwe2156

2662 posts in 1263 days


#7 posted 08-30-2017 01:38 PM

I’ve got the LV set (XC, 14, 20 Rip). I would say they’re ok. Probably don’t really need two different rip saw, tho.

A lot of cheap saws can be made useable by resetting the teeth and sharpening. I’ve taken $10 gent saws and made them quite useable and I’m no expert on saw sharpening.

Those are good skills to develop, regardless ;-) Paul Sellers has a good video on this.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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bandit571

18196 posts in 2465 days


#8 posted 08-30-2017 01:44 PM

I have a few extras, just costs so much to mail them anywhere. The ones I have that are fully restored and sharpened for crosscut are my users. I do have a couple extra rip saws….the only backsaws I have are either the one I use for joinery, or go in a mitre box. Have a couple extras, but they would need sharpened, as anything over 7-8 ppi is too small for these old eyes.

Not sure where the OP lives…..IF he were close enough for a road trip…..

And pick out what they would like to try out.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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bandit571

18196 posts in 2465 days


#9 posted 08-30-2017 01:47 PM

Those in the til? Mainly older Disston and Atkins made saws.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View JohnMcClure's profile

JohnMcClure

94 posts in 422 days


#10 posted 08-30-2017 04:37 PM

The OP lives near Houston, so a road trip would be pretty difficult I’m afraid!
I guess I’ll hit the antique store next time I’m in town, but a decent sharpened saw would be nice as Tim recommended.

FWIW I do have something interesting I’d be happy to trade for a decent saw or two:

A Langdon/MF style Miter Box with Warranted Superior saw. I found it at a junk shop and it seems to be in pretty decent shape, and in the right hands could probably be restored into something very nice.

Is there anyone around here that would sell a restored saw or saws, or be interested to take this in trade?

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bandit571

18196 posts in 2465 days


#11 posted 08-30-2017 07:11 PM

Do me a favour….go to the post office, and see how much postage it would be to ship 4 saws. A Rip, a crosscut, a 18” backsaw….and maybe a 12” backsaw….unless you’d prefer a Panel saw instead of the 18” backsaw…

Been too long since I shipped any saws….forgot what they charge to ship…

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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jmartel

7401 posts in 1932 days


#12 posted 08-30-2017 07:50 PM

Bandit, if you remove the handles, you might be able to get all those into a game board flat rate box. Under $20 for all 4 anywhere in the US. Not full 26” saws, but shorter ones potentially.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

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JohnMcClure

94 posts in 422 days


#13 posted 08-30-2017 10:18 PM

Bandit, I’d be happy to pay for both directions of shipping if you’re wanting the miter set. I’m not experienced enough with using saws to know if I prefer a panel saw or not, but I’ll happily accept what you’ll offer.

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

18196 posts in 2465 days


#14 posted 08-30-2017 11:37 PM

Don’t really need a second Langdon Mitre box…

Have set aside 4 saws:

6 ppi Rip
8ppi Crosscut
10 ppi Panel saw ( 20” long)
11 ppi Back saw….12”long.

Did a test cut in Maple with each one.

Will try to get a few pictures, tomorrow, if wanted.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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JohnMcClure

94 posts in 422 days


#15 posted 08-30-2017 11:51 PM

Pictures would be great. PM about prices if you prefer. Thanks very much!

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