Good brands for a starter set of handsaws?

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Forum topic by HarveyDunn posted 02-09-2014 04:38 PM 1520 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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328 posts in 1758 days

02-09-2014 04:38 PM

I define a “starter set” as a dovetail saw, a rip saw, and a crosscut saw.

Western or Japanese.

I enjoy hand work but I am a bit puny, so I don’t want something that unecessarily taxes my strength and stamina.

And I prefer new to used.

Any recommendations as to sources?

8 replies so far

View Arminius's profile


304 posts in 3831 days

#1 posted 02-09-2014 04:43 PM

The Veritas line from Lee Valley are very good at a very reasonable price. Not the same aesthetic appeal to me as many other more classic, but significantly cheaper.

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328 posts in 1758 days

#2 posted 02-09-2014 04:57 PM

Thanks. Just had a look on the Lee Valley site. These caught my eye. Plently of aesthetic appeal as far as I am concerned!,42884,68511

They say “Weighing just under 1-1/2 lb with 16” blades, these are the largest saws in the Veritas line. Available in 9 tpi rip or 12 tpi crosscut patterns, the blades are made from 0.024” thick high-carbon steel with 0.003” of set per side and a cut depth of nearly 4”. “

In the handsaw world, does that additional heft make sawing easier or harder?

View Arminius's profile


304 posts in 3831 days

#3 posted 02-09-2014 05:31 PM

Depends on what you do. The additional mass of a saw can make it easier to cut, but harder to start. I own those, I quite like them, but I don’t use them as much as carcass saws (I own a crosscut Veritas, L-N rip). Most of the time, the lighter and smaller ones are a better fit for the joint I am trying to make.

View BubbaIBA's profile


387 posts in 2404 days

#4 posted 02-10-2014 03:15 PM

I have a saw Jones (OK it is a tool Jones but that is another post) and the best bang for the buck are the Veritas line of saws.

My favorite dovetail saw for small dovetails is the Gramercy Tools 9” Dovetail Saw . It is much lighter than most other makes of dovetail saws. I also have a near full collection of Bad Axe saws and if you can wait for Mark to build ‘em they are all good.

The Veritas saws work as well as any, cost much less but there is also a pleasure and enjoyment in using a custom made saw such as a Bad Axe .

Bottom line I will reach for the Veritas saws almost as often as the Bad Axe, Gramercy, LN, or any of my older restored saws.

If I were just starting out I would order a set of Veritas saws: a standard 14 TPI dovetail for $69 USD and the pair of Carcass saws (rip and Xcut) for $139 USD. That’s a working set of saws for less than a single 10” Bad Axe Dovetail saw. If you are feeling flush add a Veritas Large Rip Tenon saw for $119 USD and you would have a full set of saws for almost any project. Then later add some high end saws just for the visual pleasure if you feel the need, they will not work any better but they sure are pretty.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2998 days

#5 posted 02-11-2014 05:21 AM

If minimizing effort is high on your list, I’d have to say Japanese style saws are going to have to be in the picture.
I have a set of Veritas dovetail saws and they are pretty and work well. But if I’m feeling puny or have a large amount of cutting to do, then I grab my Jorgensen Pony Japanese pull saw, or if I’m doing dovetails or anything where I need a little more rigidity I’ll grab my Dozuki “back” saw..

The Stanley “Sharp Tooth” shouldn’t be ignored either. They are ugly, and cheap. They come with a really sharp Japanese triple grind tooth design that really is sharp and the blade is thin so you are not wasting a lot of energy making sawdust. And at $10 to $20 bucks, depends on which size and handle, they are cheap enough to just toss when they get dull. Good thing because I’m not sure you could sharpen these things if you wanted to.

View ScottStewart's profile


119 posts in 2159 days

#6 posted 02-11-2014 03:55 PM

Does anyone have experience with the LN tenon saw? I tried out the Veritas saw over the weekend at a woodworking show and it cut nicely, but I am scared what do you do if the back or blade is bent somehow?

View Arminius's profile


304 posts in 3831 days

#7 posted 02-11-2014 04:42 PM

I think with both the Veritas or the L-N, if they get bent, send them back. Both are great companies that I think would much rather make your tool right again than have you struggle with it because of an imperfect fix.

For the Veritas backs in particular, I am not actually sure that it is possible to bend that material.

View jordanp's profile


1086 posts in 1968 days

#8 posted 02-11-2014 04:58 PM

I can recommend an LJ member that makes really nice hand saws.

I own one of his 12” 11TPI Rip tooth Brass back saw with hand made brass split nuts and a hand carved padouk handle.

Check out his saws they are worth the wait.

-- J. Palmer Woodworks - Rockwall TX -I woke up this morning thinking “man, I really hope someone posted some soul scarring sh*t on LJs today.” -- - Billy

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