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Forum topic by Valkiera posted 03-20-2015 04:56 AM 1576 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Valkiera's profile


9 posts in 1756 days

03-20-2015 04:56 AM


New here and looking to start making some smaller items by hand. I currently carve and scroll saw. And want to make some jewelry boxes and small display shelves, to start with. I’m looking for advice on a rip and crosscut saw, that would mainly be used in 2/4 to 4/4 material, perhaps larger, but not often at this time. I’ve gathered a few other tools to help shape and finish with. Now need a way to make big boards into smaller boards.

It would be nice to start off with something ready to go (new or vintage), as I have never used a good handsaw and have no experience with sharpening, but will learn. Hope to take a class at the Port Townsend School later in the summer.

I’m not afraid to spend a bit, for quality that will last, I just don’t have any idea where to begin. Are there any good vintage shops in the NW? I’m sort of near Seattle, but have no problem traveling down to Portland if need be.

Thanks all !

8 replies so far

View rwe2156's profile


2962 posts in 1505 days

#1 posted 03-20-2015 10:32 AM

Sharpening handsaws is really not that hard, just a little tedious.
You need the appropriate file, a tooth set and a saw vise.

I got my files from Lie Nielsen and my sets from Lee Valley.
I picked up an old saw vice from an antique store but I’m going to build my own that’s wider.

Good idea taking a class. Paul Sellers has a good video on tuning up a hand saw.

For new saws, Lynx or Pax hand saws seem to be good choices.

Check out Traditional Woodworker and Toolsforworkingwood.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View albachippie's profile


772 posts in 3059 days

#2 posted 03-20-2015 10:59 AM

Hi Valkiera, and welcome along.

We have a regular contributor here who writes a great blog on buying and restoring handsaws. Click here and have a look through Brits (Andys') blogs. Brilliant!


-- Garry fae Bonnie Scotland

View mdraft's profile


26 posts in 1400 days

#3 posted 03-20-2015 01:49 PM

Check out Leevalley’s Veritas line of saws. With a bit of tuning they are hard to beat for the money.

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 1985 days

#4 posted 03-20-2015 02:36 PM

You sir have come to the right place. We have several LJ members that make and sell very nice new saws and also a few that restore and sell vintage saws. You can be assured either will be in good shape, sharp, and cut nicely.
Lets see, ErikF and Wally sell new, Sumerfi (Bob) sells lots of good restored saws and Christef (Chris) has been known to sell some restored saws as well. Vintage saws can be a good value as they used high quality materials but new is nice too. I’m sure I’m missing some other LJ’s that sell saws, other people can help fill in and add links for you.

View waho6o9's profile


8207 posts in 2601 days

#5 posted 03-20-2015 03:47 PM

View chrisstef's profile


17423 posts in 3030 days

#6 posted 03-20-2015 04:02 PM

One way to do it is to scour the flea markets, tag sales and antique shops for saws. Look for something in the 8 – 11 ppi range for a crosscut saw. In my opinion a Disston No. 12 is one of the best readily available xcut saws out there. A No. 7 will also treat you right. The 12 is easily spotted with its different style of handle (check out for samples) and the No. 7 with its lambs tongue.

You can dive into the rabbit hole of other makers like Spear and Jackson, Simonds, Atkins and a 100 others as well but most aren’t as easily found as a Disston. Look for a straight plate and a tooth line that doesn’t jump around a whole lot. Missing teeth can be a sign of a brittle plate but also not the end of the world if its shy a tooth or 2. They’ll come back with enough sharpenings.

Cleaning up a saw and handle isn’t terribly difficult to do. Remove the rust with your remover of choice and sand the plate the long way starting at 220 and going to 320 or 400 depending on your taste. If there’s an etch present in the middle of the plate take care around it and stay with no less than 320 if youd like to keep it intact. Same goes for the handle, strip the finish and sand to your hearts delight. After that it may be best to send it out for a sharpening. Filing xcut is a bit more difficult than filing rip especially if you haven’t delved into sharpening yet but, like rwe said, its more tedious than anything else and can be learned by anyone.

You can probably get the saw for $10 – $15, a couple of bucks in sandpaper to clean it up and another $40 – $65 for a sharpening and you’ll have a nicely refurbished saw that will work well for quite some time.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View jmartel's profile


7953 posts in 2174 days

#7 posted 03-20-2015 04:08 PM

Just a heads up, if you decide to go with the Lee Valley molded spine saws, if you buy March 26th-28th they will give you 15% back in gift cards if you spend over $100.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Valkiera's profile


9 posts in 1756 days

#8 posted 03-20-2015 07:17 PM

Wow, thanks folks!

I have been making my way through the saw thread, and will be picking up some tools at flea markets and other sales, once I have a clue what I’m looking at and for.

I have already bought the pair of carcass saws from Lee Valley (just to get me started), along with a couple planes, layout tools, chisels and stones for sharpening. The Paul Sellers video was a great help, I think I could manage to sharpen a saw now and not make things worse. I like the idea of his progressive rip saw filing for rough cutting. I may see if I can find an old saw this weekend just to test/learn on. Who knows I may make a silk purse out of a sows ear with one. I’ll have to pick up a set of files, but that is easy enough to do.

Again, thank you all. Hopefully I can have something for show and tell soon.


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