Resawing with hand saw?

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Forum topic by Viktor posted 02-13-2009 11:54 PM 14367 views 2 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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464 posts in 3419 days

02-13-2009 11:54 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question handsaw resaw milling

I often forced to use boards with standard thickness in my projects, because I don’t have bandsaw to resaw lumber (nor a place to put it). I was contemplating a way to resaw small quantities by hand with reasonable amount of efforts, perhaps aided by a simple jig to guide the blade. Does anyone have any experience/luck with this? I was thinking a bow saw would do the job better because of its relatively thin blade (less waste to turn into dust). After all they did not have bandsaws in 1800s. Any suggestions?

6 replies so far

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3728 days

#1 posted 02-14-2009 12:08 AM

i tried it with a backsaw and it was a disaster. I was trying to turn 4/4 lacewood into 3/8’s material. I ended up doing it on a table saw. It was a bit unnerving and still involved some cutting of the center, but that seemed the way to go for me.

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3649 days

#2 posted 02-14-2009 12:16 AM

you are correct a Bowsaw was indeed used for resawing before the time of the bandsaw.

Japanese woodworkers also use ripping handsaws to resaw wood (can’t find a link right now -but if you’ll google it you’ll see both explanations and photos).

you could probably set some sort of jig/fence that you clamp to your lumber at a certain distance from the edge, and use that as a reference for the saw’s blade that can rest on the face of the jig, and ride along it and through your lumber to be able to resaw… I’d google bowsaw, jig, resaw combinations – I’m sure you’ll find good info out there. or even here.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4100 days

#3 posted 02-14-2009 12:32 AM

You can start it on the tablesaw by cutting from both sides and leaving some in the middle to finish out with the handsaw. The handsaw will follow the kerf cut on both sides of the wood very easily.

You will lose the full width of the tablesaw blade out of the material but it will get you there.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Doug S.'s profile

Doug S.

295 posts in 3708 days

#4 posted 02-14-2009 12:44 AM

I’ve done it the way Todd mentioned then did the rest with a frame saw. Also tried regular handsaws on it but the frame saw worked better. Thankfully I’ve got an BS now that can handle wider stuff. The thing that surprised me was how excrutianingly long it took to saw through the rest of it by hand. If this is something you plan to do much of, I’d say it would be worth the expense to make sure you get a good saw and blade and have it professionally sharpended or learn to do it yourself. I dont think you want to assume even a brand new bow saw blade is sharp enough unless you get it from someone that specializes in Neander tools. That’s going to make a TON of difference.

-- Use the fence Luke

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 3712 days

#5 posted 02-14-2009 06:27 PM

if you check out online video of the woodwright’s shop on PBS,
scroll down and there’s an episode on handcut veneer.

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

View EricS's profile


11 posts in 3539 days

#6 posted 02-14-2009 09:11 PM

As others have already mentioned, a frame saw is what you are looking for. These two links provide good information on resawing with a frame saw and also how to build one.

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