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Forum topic by Charlie posted 09-14-2013 02:00 PM 1120 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1100 posts in 1710 days

09-14-2013 02:00 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

OK so I am kinda diggin’ getting into more hand tools, but I have questions about hand saws.

First of all, how many? Which ones?
I have the following western saws (I’m not counting the japanese pulls saws here)
Back saw 11PPI (10TPI) – it’s an older craftsman, but… it works
Simonds 62 5-1/2 PPI (5 TPI) – ripper
Disston 8 PPI (7 TPI)
Disston 10 PPI (9TPI) – pretty shot, but can either be a practice saw for sharpening or I’ll shorten it. Plate is about 1/2 used up.

I’m not sure how much ripping I’ll ever do with that Simonds, but I’m comfortable having 1 big rip saw.

The other saws are where I have questions. Whick ones would you sharpen crosscut and which as rip?
I watched Paul Sellers and he is advocating sharpening pretty much everything as a rip tooth and I get the feeling he does it that way because it’s simpler. I would think the back saw would be filed as a rip tooth as it might see tenon cutting duty and would need to both crosscut and rip in that case. The Disstons (in my case) I can really see as mostly crosscut saws. They’re longer than the back saw (obviously) and I could see myself grabbing one of them to do a crosscut and probably never a rip as I have the Simonds.

I don’t see myself collecting a lot of different hand saws, but I could see adding a nice dovetail saw in there somewhere at some point.

Concerning sharpening and saw files:
While I’m not thrilled with the prospect of needing several different files at $6 to $8 each (in that range) it looks like I need at least 3 or 4 to cover the saws I have.

For the Simonds 5-1/2 PPI it looks like I need either a 7 regular or 7 slim depending on whose chart you’re reading.
For the Disston 10 PPI and backsaw at 11 PPI it looks like I can use a 6 Dbl Extra Slim
The Disston 8 PPI looks like either a 7 extra slim or a 6 slim

My current thoughts are to get the following saw files :
7 …regular or slim. Don’t know. It’s a bit confusing..
6 slim
6 xx slim

and I need a saw set. .... sigh ....

Sound like I’m headed in the right direction? 3 files, maybe 4, and a saw set?

Simonds and back saw filed rip and the Disstons filed crosscut?

2 replies so far

View Tim's profile


3032 posts in 1385 days

#1 posted 09-14-2013 07:17 PM

It’s good to have a full size crosscut and a rip saw because they really do cut a bit differently, but it isn’t critical. The worst is trying to rip with a crosscut. Crosscutting with a rip is just a bit less clean and harder than with a crosscut. I would leave all the saws you have the same rip or crosscut and pick up another one crosscut if you can find it. If not, pick one to file crosscut.

There’s guidelines for how many of the saw’s teeth you want in the cut, but I don’t recall exactly. The range of TPI you have will cover you fine though.

In the end it depends on what you want to do. Do a lot of crosscutting? Get a full size dedicated crosscut. Travel or move with tools in a tool chest or tote? Get one or more shorter panel saws. Do more hardwood vs softwoods? Tune your saws to the wood you use most or get a set of each. Make a lot of furniture? Then you need more backsaws like a carcass saw or two (cross and rip), tenon saw or two, dovetail saw or two, and maybe a sash saw. Plus maybe a miter box and saw.

If you add up all the combinations of cross and rip and hard vs soft wood and the different saw types you can get up to 30 saws quickly, but you can get by with a lot less.

Which saw files to get isn’t super critical for a beginner, go with either chart depending on what’s available. You just want the saw tooth to go just less than half way up the saw file so you can rotate it two more times and have fresh faces. And unfortunately they don’t last that long depending on how much work the saw needs so if you have to cover shipping, get a few extra.

View bedrockandsawman24's profile


7 posts in 904 days

#2 posted 05-08-2014 12:29 AM

The simonds is a big ripper for sure! Meant for huge timber style cuts. I do a lot if this work and have been looking for this particular saw. Is their anyway you would part with it? I am a student and hobbyist and it’s definitely on my list of saws to buy for my type of work. Thank you , zeke

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