Cutting Perfectly Straight Using Hand Saw

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by jasonburr posted 01-15-2014 11:49 AM 2144 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jasonburr's profile


25 posts in 1771 days

01-15-2014 11:49 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hey gang. I am very new to woodworking and an trying to make a crosscut saw hook to help with cutting straight. I am trying to make the saw kerf exactly straight so that I can drop my saw in it to lead crosscuts. I have used a marking knife and pared away to make a wall to ride along. How do I make a perfectly straight cut? I am using a brand new veritas crosscut carcass saw, so I don’t think that is it. It is just a lack of experience.

6 replies so far

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3534 days

#1 posted 01-15-2014 01:38 PM

If you’re making a straight line with your knife line and then paring on the waste side of the line, you should be getting a straight cut. As you saw, does the kerf drift to one side or the other all the time or is it sometimes to the right and sometimes to the left? If the kerf consistently goes to one side, its possible that there is too much set on one side of the saw. If its not that, I suggest you check out some videos on line to check your technique or find someone close enough to you so you can visit and get some training. Sawing does take a certain amount of practice, especially crosscut (at least for me).

Edited to add: Check out a Youtube video by Christopher Tribe. He actually has a video entitled “How to Saw Straight”.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View 12strings's profile


434 posts in 2560 days

#2 posted 01-15-2014 03:39 PM

Sikrap has good suggestions for learning to make free-hand cuts…but I have also seen people, when they want to make a mitre box or bench hook, or something like that, use guide boards to help them make the cut:

1. Mark your line.
2. Clamp one piece of STRAIGHT scrap right next to the line and check it for 90 deg.
3. Place saw pressed to this board.
4. Place a second piece of straight scrap pressed against the saw plate, then clamp it down to the bench hook.
5. Hopefully, the saw has just enough wiggle room to still move and make the cut.

If you really wanted it tight, you could start the cut very slightly first just to get the saws teeth down in the wood, then the 2 pieces could close tighter over the saw plate itself without leaving room for the set of the teeth.

People will also use this method (at least with one guide board, not two) when hand-cutting dados, or sliding dovetail grooves, to keep their saw on a straight line.

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

View jasonburr's profile


25 posts in 1771 days

#3 posted 01-16-2014 07:42 PM

Thanks 12strings. Thanks for all of your help. Based on your advice, I have cut a perfectly square kerf in the fence for the hook. Here are pics. The middle kerf was my first attempt before posting here. The left cut is perfect, but it is too close to the first cut and the piece between is not stable. The right kerf is dead on.

I cutoff 2 pieces of lumber, jointed them until they were square and then clamped on to the fence. I trued it up with my combo square, added by saw and clamped the other piece to the fence on the other side of the saw. Worked like a champ. I also waxed the heck out of the saw.

Thanks for all.

View basswood's profile


261 posts in 1795 days

#4 posted 01-16-2014 09:29 PM

You could use this pulley-guided crosscutting track saw model. ;)


View Brett's profile


661 posts in 2858 days

#5 posted 01-16-2014 11:27 PM

Saw as straight as you can, using any method you want. Then make the cut straight using a hand plane.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View 12strings's profile


434 posts in 2560 days

#6 posted 01-27-2014 01:10 AM

Glad to help…now I need to go and make one of those myself…and kudos for woodworking on the dryer!

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

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