Handsaw opinions

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by ShipWreck posted 05-02-2012 11:16 AM 912 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 3722 days

05-02-2012 11:16 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I have been doing a bit of research on handsaws lately and stumbled upon this article by “THE INDEPENDENT HAND TOOL REPORT” featuring David Savage. Alot of his views are inline with what most experts already agree with, but his opinions on what handsaws to own….... seem to go against the grain from most of the experts. I tend to agree with his philosophy, but I am not very knowledgeable with handsaws.

I am hoping some of you would read his article and provide your own opinions for a person who might want to start a basic saw lineup.

V/R…........ John

3 replies so far

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2750 days

#1 posted 05-02-2012 12:07 PM

Ship, he’s certainly opinionated, one question I couldn’t find an answer to is how old is that posting ?
Some of his thoughts, liike the old distons don’t cut as well as the new saws..well…and some of the “new”product comments like flatness of plane soles don’t jive with other reviews I’ve seen..
Oh well..


-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View jdmaher's profile


427 posts in 2549 days

#2 posted 05-02-2012 12:43 PM

Well, I believe his gist is that you need saws for three purposes:

1. Rough sizing (any big box handsaw)

2. Dovetailing (e.g., Lie-Nielsen)

3. Joinery (a carcase saw)

(Plus, he admits to using a coping saw and a hacksaw.)

I believe it depends on how you want to work, but I won’t say he’s wrong.

If one wants to do ALL handwork, panel saws are useful for rough sizing and old saws or new expensive ones are more generally recommended. Me, I got a chop saw and a Unisaw.

Dovetailing saw can handle most small work (and I agree on Lie-Nielse).

Mortise and tenon work I do both by machine and by hand. For handwork, a tenon saw (bigger blade) might be more useful than a carcase saw (which is kinda like a slightly over-sized dovetail saw).

I, too, need a coping saw to cut the waste out of deovetails (when I do them by hand). And I also sometimes cut metal, so i need a hacksaw.

I very much agree that one should minimize the number of tools you acquire and use. Don’t buy a bunch a things, just the best you can afford of what you actually need to use right now. (It’s amazing how it all accumulates over the years. I gotta get rid of some of this stuff!)

So the question becomes, what do you want to do? Specifically? Right now? With that input, you can get lots of good advice right here.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2968 days

#3 posted 05-02-2012 01:51 PM

It will really just end up being personal preference. I have 6 main saws I use:

Long rip frame saw
Short crosscut frame saw
Turning saw (bow saw)
Fret saw (with jeweler’s blades)
Flush cutting japanese saw
Hardware store Japanese style saw for everything else.
I also have several little cheap Zona razor saws for delicate stuff and cutting dovetails but they are too small and cheap to really count.

All of these together don’t cost as much as one set of the “recommended” premium backsaw and dovetail saws. I don’t feel deprived at all.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics