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  1. #1
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    Default Hand saw recommendations

    I'm looking to get a couple of hand saws.

    One of them will be for resawing - I'm looking to buy some 62mm hardwood and make some wider boards by book matching the grain. I don't have a band saw and I an possibly do it on a table saw with a thin kerf blade but want to minimise the amount of material loss. I thought hand resawing is the go.

    The other is for hand making dovetails

    Any recommendations? I'll consider second hand, ebay, sharpening by hand, etc. I'll pay for something good quality that will last a while

    Cheers

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  3. #2
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    For re-sawing you will need a rip saw, for Dovetails you will need a Dovetail saw or some people use a fret saw, I can't offer any advise on brands as all my handsaws are from my father and his father
    and these companies have long gone

  4. #3
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    You can't go wrong with a Lie Nielsen Dovetail saw for dovetails- great performance at a reasonable price IMO. Sweet spot for overall quality, performance and price if looking for a new saw.

    Veritas is also one to consider - significantly cheaper and from all accounts great performance. You just don't get the traditional, and IMO much nicer, asthetic of the LN.

    Otherwise, possibly the cheapest and arguably easiest to use is a Japanese rip-cut Dozuki. The Gyokucho s-372 240mm Dozuki is great and very competitively priced. I found the Japanese saws extremely easy to use and they are great for very delicate narrow dovetails.

    Cheers, Dom

  5. #4
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    My personal belief is that you can achieve pretty much everything with 5 saws; 3 of them are available new from you local hardware store.

    1: Fretsaw. Available from anywhere; prices range from about $5 for a steel framed cheapy to for a precision manufactured lightweight thing of beauty. Used for cutting out the waste from dovetails.
    2: Crosscut saw. Modern hardpoint saws are very difficult to beat for cutting hardwoods across the grain with minimal spelching. Stick to a good brand such as Spear & jackson, Irwin or Bahco. They are cheap enough so when they blunt you just replace them; not that they can be resharpened anyway.
    3: Backsaw (cross cut). Again; a modern hardpoint is difficult to beat for cutting the shoulders from tenons or accurately cutting timber and mouldings to length etc. Stick to the same brands as before.

    4: Rip saw. Pretty much only available now new from specialist (=expensive) saw makers. However; visit the Op Shops, markets and garage sales. You need to be able to identify the difference between ripsaw and crosscut saw teeth; but as a general guide if it is big; has a wooden handle and 5 teeth per inch or less it's a rip. Then buy some saw files and learn how to sharpen it.
    5: Backsaw (rip). Used for cutting tenons and dovetails. Again, do a search for older ones that can be cleaned up; and it's relatively easy to convert a cross-cut backsaw to a rip (he says, blindly omitting that he's never actually done it himself...)

    My big rip is a no-name I found in an op-shop for $2 with a split handle and a fair bit of thick rust; the only further outlay was some elbow grease. My backsaws are a 1980's "Roebuck" for cross cutting and a Slack Sellers from the 50's (I think) for ripping, and I have a couple of Spear & Jackson "Predators" for rough cross cutting along with an old Canadian Disston.

    However; to save you some time and effort in searching why don't you post a "Wanted" add in the Forum Market place? I can think of a couple of members who have hundreds of saws; many of which are available for sale and all of which will be sharpened perfectly.
    A thief stole my anti-depressants. I hope heís happy now.

  6. #5
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    Thank all! Seems like I need old tools, since the table saw can do the rest

    Just a sanity check - is resawing long boards by hand feasible, or really stupid? Should I just do it on a tablesaw?

  7. #6
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    Resawing by hand requires either a rip panel saw or, better, a frame saw. You can purchase a frame saw kit here: https://www.fine-tools.com/rouboframesaw.html





    Frankly, I prefer a bandsaw You can do this on a tablesaw - 62mm thick is not much to do. Just take it in sections rather than all at once if you have a lower powered tablesaw.

    Dovetails require a dovetail saw. As suggested, the LN is excellent, as is the cheaper Veritas. Basically, these are roughly 15 tpi rip and about 9-10" long.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on constructing handtools, handtool reviews, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by yoboseyo View Post
    I don't have a band saw and I an possibly do it on a table saw with a thin kerf blade but want to minimise the amount of material loss.
    Far be it from me to suggest you shouldn't learn a new skill, and if that is part of the objective, then go for it! Learning new skills can be great fun.

    If however your objective is truly to save wood, a full thickness 3 mm table saw kerf will consume far less wood that hand ripping then cleaning up with a plane or sander, at least whilst you are learning (I'm guessing this last part, I have no idea what finish experts can achieve).

    As another data point for you to consider, I've got a 1.5 tpi bandsaw blade, and even it, with it's rather wide set, would come pretty close to the 3 mm table saw kerf once cleaned up (granted it's pretty rough, as I think my bandsaw has issues providing adequate tension).

    I am interested to follow your progress if you do go down the hand saw ripping route. In fact, the June 2019 issue of FWW has an article on resawing by hand. I tried it (first time), and was surprised at how good a result I got following their technique.

    Lance

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by LanceC View Post
    ...... a full thickness 3 mm table saw kerf will consume far less wood that hand ripping then cleaning up with a plane or sander, at least whilst you are learning (I'm guessing this last part, I have no idea what finish experts can achieve).....
    Very wise to add that last caveat, Lance. In fact, a decent handsaw can rip very accurately leaving a kerf of less than 2mm, and require no more cleaning up than the surface left by a tablesaw blade (or less, if you use a thinner-kerf blade, which can flutter and leave very deep marks if you over-feed or twist the work a bit).

    It does take a few essential ingredients to rip deep boards successfully, though: A decent saw, well-sharpened, and an operator with a bit of practice are all essential. The hard-point saws are not much chop for heavy ripping, they do have a sort of 'hybrid' tooth pattern, which means they do neither croscutting nor ripping brilliantly, but they'll get you there if you have the stamina & patience. Most of them are too short for comfortable ripping, a short, choppy stroke gets very tiring, very quickly. A good old saw is far & away the best choice. The best advice I can give a newbie is to look for nicely-shaped wooden handles with domed brass bolts. That's a very crude way of discriminating, but there's a very good chance that saw like that will be pre-WW2 and have a taper-ground, tensioned blade, which makes a big difference in use.

    Frame saws are great for heavy, wide ripping, but are essentially two-man tools - you can use a shorter one on your own, but it's not easy, they do like to wander!

    And let's not pretend hand-sawing is easy - ripping 62mm deep hardwood is hard yakka if you aren't used to it (it's still hard yakka if you are!), no matter how good your saw is. I prefer to do that sort of work with machines where I can, but occasionally, one is forced into getting out the old potato-powered gadgets. In fact, last week I had to break up three giant slabs of radiata that were far too heavy for me to lift on my own, let alone safely push over the band or table saw, so I sharpened up my trusty old 3-5 progressive-pitch Disston 'thumbhole' and went at it. 5 both core bits ripped.jpg

    Took me over an hour to get through those two cuts, both 2M long, one was 170mm deep & the other 150, and I don't mind admitting I'd had quite enough by the time I'd finished. I had to stop & re-sharpen the saw twice, this wood came from a gnarly old tree, and the latewood rings are as hard as glass! However, I got the damn things into manageable sizes & still had all my fingers & both eyes at the end of it...

    For back saws, I can't add much to the advice already given. I'm not a fan of the plastic-handled hard-point backsaws of any breed, they often have crudely-formed teeth (again neither x-cut nor rip, but something betwixt & between), and the high-set handles coupled with ultra-light spines makes them awkward to start & steer, for a beginner. However, they'll get the job done & if you master one of those, you'll be in heaven when you get your hands on a decent saw. If you can find a couple of good oldies, that's a preferable route, imo, but only if you can find someone to sharpen them properly. I'm an advocate for learning to sharpen your own saws, but it's a slow skill to acquire, and you'll have enough of a challenge just learning to use hand saws well, to begin with.

    Plenty of very competent folks swear by Japanese saws, and one of these is certainly worth considering for dovetailing work if you are starting out. You can get a very good Japanese-style saw for far less than a good new 'boutiqque' western style backsaw. I didn't try one 'til I was far too rusted on to push saws, & just couldn't take to them, but if you haven't yet developed any prejudices, you may find they are the bees' knees.

    Just plunge in & make a start with something - virtually everyone ends up with a quite different set of saws 10 years down the track, even when they start out with "the best". Saws come in such a bewildering array of sizes, weights, handle angles and tooth pitches for a very good reason - we all have different preferences. You won't know what you really like until you have a bit of experience, and try a few different saws....

    Cheers,
    IW

  10. #9
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    Default

    What range of TPIs are acceptable for rip saws and crosscut saws?

    Is it possible to change the tooth angle when sharpening a saw to make it better for ripping/crosscutting?

  11. #10
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    Handsaws for crosscutting have PPI in the range 7 - 12. For ripping the range is 4 - 6. There are exceptions outside these figures, but not common. The tooth can be changed during the shaping stage of sharpening, but remember the rip tooth is sharpened straight across, while the crosscut tooth has a bevel (or fleam).

    There are many aspects of saw sharpening but I find this link useful (but very long):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-_MF2Mnxwc

    Regards
    Paul
    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

  12. #11
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    Here is a link to fairly reasonable description of saw filing and setting; there are many more out there. https://woodandshop.com/how-to-sharp...r-woodworking/
    A thief stole my anti-depressants. I hope heís happy now.

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by yoboseyo View Post
    What range of TPIs are acceptable for rip saws and crosscut saws?......
    TPIs of saws range from <1 per inch to 32 or more per inch, and they are all 'acceptable', it just depends on what you intend to attack with it.

    There is a rough rule of thumb that says you need a minimum of 4 or 5 teeth in the cut, i.e., the tips of that many teeth are contacting wood at any point of the stroke. If you have fewer teeth contacting the wood, the weight of the saw & any pressure from the sawyer causes them to bite too hard and they will at best cut with a hard, jagged action, or at worst catch and split the piece you are sawing.

    So why not just use a 32tpi saw for everything? Simply because fine teeth have fine gullets (the gap between each pair of tooth points), finer gullets carry less sawdust, so on a long stroke, they fill up & prevent the teeth from cutting freely. Inexperienced sawyers usually respond by leaning harder on the saw, which helps until the sawdust compacts and slows the cutting even more, and forcing a cut contributes to binding. Experienced sawyers just find a coarser-pitched saw.

    An obvious corollary is that the saw you are using should be at least long enough that all teeth exit the cut, either on the forward or back stroke, so that the teeth can drop their quota of sawdust before going back for more. In practice, this is not usually a problem, because another consideration is to select a saw that gives you a decent, comfortable stroke as opposed to a short, choppy stroke. This is more important with handsaws, which tend to be used for much longer sessions at a time than backsaws, but even with backsaws, you'll find that length matters. (It certainly applies to the plastic-handled, hard-point 'multipurpose' thingies that cover the walls of hardware stores nowadays, most are just 500mm which is not at all nice to use for more than a minute or two, and at best they are 600, which is just acceptable for average arms).

    I doubt anyone ever consciously measures a piece of wood they are about to saw. You don't need to use saws for very long before the selection of tpi & length becomes intuitive.

    Quote Originally Posted by yoboseyo View Post
    ......Is it possible to change the tooth angle when sharpening a saw to make it better for ripping/crosscutting?.....
    Of course! You are the bloke with the file, you can file your teeth to any rake or fleam angle you choose - you can file off all of the teeth and cut in a set of entirely different ones if you wish (provided it's not a 'hard-point' saw, in which case you'll have to cut off the impulse-hardened teeth first).

    In general, there are two kinds of saw teeth, each optimised for cutting either with or across the grain. You can debate the relative merits of 'hybrid' teeth (heavily pushed by at least one manufacturer of very expensive saws), but my own opinion is that it is largely BS. With fine teeth, there is certainly little difference in either speed or quality of cut when using the 'wrong' profile, & my advice is that from 15tpi up, just sharpen any saw as a 'rip' (i.e. each tooth is filed straight across) - it's easier & faster for a beginner, and in most cases they work just as well cross-cutting as ripping.

    Over the years, I've experimented a lot with rake angles, and have come full circle & I now stick pretty closely to profiles that were commonly used in my father's day, when handsaws were still the dominant cutting device on building sites. You can play about and use angles that do better in one wood than another, but it's a complete pita having a dozen saws sharpened for one specific task, and you pretty soon devolve to a profile that does everything well enough for practical purposes. As with any cutting tool, the most important thing is to keep the darn things sharp if you want them to perform well for you.

    A good rake angle for a ripsaw in our part of the world is about 5 degrees. If you mostly saw softer woods, you could reduce that a bit to give the saw more 'bite', & if you only saw Ironbark, you would probably ease back to 7. The teeth of rip saws are often described as 'chisel points' but they'd be better described as a set of mini scrapers. A change in rake angle of just a couple of degrees is very noticeable on a ripsaw, so don't go hog-wild if you want to make your saw cut a bit more aggressively! Bring it up over a couple of sharpenings & use the saw for a while before making any final decisions on what's best.

    Crosscut saws are an entirely different beast. Rake angles have far less effect on the saw's action than fleam angle, because it's the outside of the tooth that's doing the cutting, like a set of mini-knives. In theory, the more negative rake you apply, the better, because it gives the tooth more of a shearing action (think of a skewed shooting-plane blade), and the more fleam, the sharper the knife. So again in theory, the more fleam the better. However, just as with any cutting edge, the material limits what you can do with it. Trial & error over centuries settled on some pretty common angles as the best compromises. These are somewhere between 12 & 15 degrees for rake and 15-20 for fleam.

    The most important thing when sharpening crosscut saws is absolute consistency. A not-so-well-sharpened saw will cut ok, but nowhere near as smoothly as a saw with consistent set & consistent teeth. You can 'stone' an unevenly-set rip saw without affecting its cut much, but be very careful & do it very sparingly on a crosscut! It takes a lot of practice to get really good at sharpening crosscuts, but don't let that put you off trying, because there is nothing more frustrating than a dull saw, and even a poor job of sharpening usually improves matters.

    The only drawback to becoming tolerably competent at sharpening saws is you become too sensitized to dull saws - you'll sharpen your saws much more often.....

    Cheers,
    IW

  14. #13
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    yoboseyo

    Ian has pretty much covered everything. I was unconsciously being pedantic in that I was referring to "handsaws," which technically are saws with a plate 26" long or longer. With Ian's post you have got the full works of any saw that can be "held" by hand and of course includes backsaws and many others.

    I hope you will pick up on his contention that the modern saws are not intended for serious use or perhaps I should say sustained use. Using the full length of a well sharpened 26" hand saw is one of life's delights. Of course there are many other delights in life, which I could mention, but do not wish to be thrown of the Forum.

    Regards
    Paul
    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

  15. #14
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    Can't add much to the experts - but I can throw in a recommendation for a Spear and Jackson resharpenable handsaw, and you can get it from Bunnings. You can get good quality saw files from Jim Davey for when you eventually need to sharpen. I've found it difficult to locate good 2nd hand saws here in Brisbane, Canberra may be different. I do have a couple of $5 and $10 saws I practiced sharpening on and continue to practice on. Sharpening rip saws is not that difficult.

    I've got Veritas and Lie-Nielsen saws, and I may get roasted here, but I prefer the Veritas. They don't look like traditional backsaws (I like the look of the Veritas ) but work well and are half the price of the LN new. But this is like picking between things I really like and things I really, really like. Saws from either company are great and a pleasure to use.

    Also, as Ian said, ripping down Australian hardwoods is no joke. Trying to rip some 50mm spotted gum made me buy a bandsaw.

  16. #15
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    Edit: double post

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