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Tips on Selecting the Right Hand Saws?

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Forum topic by poopiekat posted 799 days ago 1330 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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poopiekat

3552 posts in 2330 days


799 days ago

In my workshop now I have about 10 old handsaws I’ve picked up from various sources, and a couple of them actually work quite well. I’m embarassed to say I usually reach for my cheezy ‘Sandvik’ with the cheep orange plastic handle, from HD. LOL! Most of my aversion to hand saws stems from my apprenticeship days, when I was told to bring in my own 15-point handsaw, a Disston, which never worked worth a darn. Eventually I put it to use around the home on a few projects. It would not cut! It bound up all the time, due to a lack of sufficient ‘set’ on the teeth.
What advice do you have for the first-time saw buyer? TPI, or point, tempered or not, short-or long? Other than hit-or-miss, I wish I had some direction for selecting the right saw or saws for my own use. I want to fine-tune my accumulation, and channel the rest off to a garage sale. What criterion do you use when selecting a saw for typical hardwood production processing? Any advice appreciated!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!


9 replies so far

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jmos

681 posts in 965 days


#1 posted 799 days ago

Great thread Pookiekat! I’m going to watch this thread. I’ve got a dovetail saw and am looking at buying a couple more hand saws, but they seem more confusing than hand planes.

-- John

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Sylvain

536 posts in 1095 days


#2 posted 797 days ago

I had the same question.

It seems there are various parameters

rough/fast or fine/slower cut
cross or rip cut (what about mitre ?)
soft or hard wood (with all the gradation in between)
wet or dry wood

If you don’t consider intermediate values you already “need” (2 exp 4) 16 saws (8 if you only use dry wood)

I thought it would be fine to have a table.
It might be possible to construct one starting from :
http://www.blackburntools.com/articles/saw-tooth-geometry/index.html
fig. 7 pitch effect
fig. 9 breasting
fig 11 rake
fig 14 fleam
fig 22 point slope
fig 25 set

see also the other articles :
http://www.blackburntools.com/articles/index.html

A few weeks ago another LJ has made a post with a lot of links to saw related websites. (have to find it back)

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

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AJLastra

86 posts in 824 days


#3 posted 797 days ago

I have two Paragon saws which are okay. But I dont use Western saws any more. Once I started using Japanese saws, there was no going back. One of the finest cutting saws you will find is sold by Woodcraft. Its a Shinwa Dozuki “Z” saw. And No, I dont work for or own a Woodcraft store! Sells for about $60. Well worth it. If you need a saw to cut tenons, or clean up tenons or you want to cut hand cut dovetails, this saw works well. I have a Japanese Ryoba for ripping and rough cross cut work. I do have an old Disston hanging on the shop wall. It needs to be dusted off…................and put right back on the wall.

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

9563 posts in 1214 days


#4 posted 797 days ago

You’ll need a rip as well as cross cut (x-cut) saw, one each. TPI? Depends on the way you work, but [EDIT] lower TPI count = speed, [END EDIT] at the expense of cleanliness of cut. If you rough-dimension with hand saw (ie: clean up afterwards with jointer or planes, etc), quick and dirty does this trick. It’s what you want.

And staying only with panel saws, I’ve been all over the place with length. I read somewhere that with your arm extended, with thumb in the handle, the right sized saw will extend back into the armpit nice and snug. That means 26” saws are all too long for me. Right or wrong? Don’t know, so I’ll be watching this thread for input, too. I’ve got longer and shorter saws, kinda prefer shorter ones so maybe there’s something to it.

Tempered? Skew back? Don’t know on either one, will be watching. Set? In moderation; you’ll now it when there’s too much (I have one like that, and it’s a bear to push through stuff).

Good thread, PK!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

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poopiekat

3552 posts in 2330 days


#5 posted 797 days ago

Left to my own devices, I will buy one of each brand and stick with one or two that I prefer over the rest. This is true of planes, beer, chocolate, hardwood lumber species, and pizza. How else would I know that I prefer my ‘Footprint #4, and a Rapier #400 as my favorite bench planes? Cuz, heck, I own at 25 other #4s, these two just hit it off with me. So I’ll bring home a bunch of used saws, and most are bad, but a few gems have emerged from the pile. I know this is the most haphazard way to select a go-to saw, but even if I owned ALL the high-end saws, I’d still be out buying $3 handsaws by the armload just the same. Even if all my planes were bronze LNs, I’d still be dragging home every forlorn-looking plane that can be had for $15 or less. Such is the fever.
Thanks for all the cool responses!
Smitty: I was always under the impression that less teeth = more speed. Mostly, my overzealous brain kills my overworked arm. A good man knows his limitations!!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Mosquito's profile

Mosquito

4500 posts in 888 days


#6 posted 797 days ago

Smitty, was that a typo for “more teeth = speed” Isn’t lower TPI for a faster cut, and fewer for a finer cut?
Or did I miss something… [edit] fixed now[end edit]

don’t feel embarrassed about your HD saw… I use a Menards purchased Irwin saw for my panel saw, and a Stanley back saw as an alternative.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN -- Stanley #45 Evangelist - www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

9563 posts in 1214 days


#7 posted 797 days ago

Oh, crap. Typo. I’ll Edit above… (I’m a noob at saws compared to so many on this site…)

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

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poopiekat

3552 posts in 2330 days


#8 posted 797 days ago

Sylvain: Thanks for the excellent resource links!! I think I’d like to try hand-filing one of my old barn-finds!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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Sylvain

536 posts in 1095 days


#9 posted 796 days ago

I found back the references from Don W:
http://lumberjocks.com/donwilwol/blog/25390

It seems any old saws which have not been overly tempered can be retoothed and filed to suit your needs.
then other criteria are:
- is it well balanced (position, inclination of the handle)
- is the handle comfortable (or can be made so)

According to what is available on the web, a perfect tooth geometry is not necessary and in fact not desirable. With a perfectly regular geometry te saw would vibrate in some circumstances while with the tiny irregularities due to hand filing it is less probable to excite one of the saw frequencies. One of the resources say something like :we are not looking for perfect teeth but for perfect cut. (this is also true for band saws see : http://woodgears.ca/bandsaw/squeal.html)

See also the blog of Paul Sellers :
correcting the teeth of a new saw with visible improvement:
http://paulsellers.com/2012/04/two-cherries-germany-and-robert-larson-california/

- a few missing teeth is not important in :
http://paulsellers.com/2012/05/success-immeasurable/

- some saw files are much better than others
http://paulsellers.com/2012/04/another-day-in-the-life-of-nl/
http://paulsellers.com/2012/04/nicholson-files-and-home-depot-blow-it-again/
http://paulsellers.com/2012/05/saw-files-revisited-bahco-raises-the-bar/
http://paulsellers.com/2012/05/assorted-saw-files/

- set
http://paulsellers.com/2012/02/of-saws-i-reflect-on/
- paper thin set
http://www.popularwoodworking.com/article/get-a-consistent-set-on-your-saw-with-paper

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

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