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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
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Default Best Hand Saw?

Okay folks, here I am again looking for guidance. Because my hands and wrists have been so smashed up so many times I am finding in my later years that I have real trouble using heavier power tools. Over the last couple of months I have rediscovered the joys of using a simple old fashioned manually powered hand saw. Just a small one. So, please provide some reccomendations for small hand saws. I am familiar with "Japanese" saws (pull saws) and have a couple of them up at the main place. I enjoy using them and have found a couple plain old Stanley's from Fleet Farm are nice. I've looked at some fancy REAL Japanese saws and, while they are nice, they are beyond me budget and also beyond my skill level.
So......what do you folks use for small, short, hand saws for basic cross-cutting most of the time?
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 10:56 AM
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Hi Warren


Don't hahahahahahaha LOL I got one from the model making shop that is 1/16" and 64 teeth and it's great for the fine crosscuts The Japanese saws are great too but a bit high in price..I have one or two but the model making saw will out cut them...if I recall it was 8 bucks with a Alum.miter box..but it will only cut a max of 3/4" thick stock..

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Okay folks, here I am again looking for guidance. Because my hands and wrists have been so smashed up so many times I am finding in my later years that I have real trouble using heavier power tools. Over the last couple of months I have rediscovered the joys of using a simple old fashioned manually powered hand saw. Just a small one. So, please provide some reccomendations for small hand saws. I am familiar with "Japanese" saws (pull saws) and have a couple of them up at the main place. I enjoy using them and have found a couple plain old Stanley's from Fleet Farm are nice. I've looked at some fancy REAL Japanese saws and, while they are nice, they are beyond me budget and also beyond my skill level.
So......what do you folks use for small, short, hand saws for basic cross-cutting most of the time?



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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 02:23 PM
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I use the Japanese saws, I found a couple of them at a Home Depot that was closing and got them for something like $4.00 each. Used one so much I about have it worn out.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 04:03 PM
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So......what do you folks use for small, short, hand saws for basic cross-cutting most of the time?
When you say "small, short"... are you saying joinery?

Recently picked up a Veritas 14 tpi dovetail saw, and it's an absolute pleasure to use. They also have the same saw with 20tpi for cutting thin drawer/box stock, and a 16 tpi small crosscut saw which ought to work great for strictly crosscuts. You can see all three here: Veritas® Dovetail & Crosscut Saws - Lee Valley Tools

Pretty good review of my/their dovetail saw here:
Popular Woodworking - Veritas Rethinks the Dovetail Saw

If you need links for sharpening/maintainence, let me know...
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 04:20 PM
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Opening can of worms...

I would ask that you supply a little more information, specifically, what size of workpieces are you expecting to deal with.

This is because you have the choice between panel saws and back saws. For small work at the bench, a pair of medium sized (say 14") tenon saws, one cross cut, one rip, will get you through most joinery and stock prep except dovetails or ultra fine joints. The 14" backsaws are a little to unwieldy. If however you are talking about stock break down at a saw bench, then a panel saw would be more appropriate. There a vintage D-8 or D-23 can be had and fixed up pretty cheaply. Or you can spend a little more and buy new equivalents from Lie-Nielson, PAX, BadAxe and others.

I did a little shopping on eBay and came up with an A.C. Atkins 5-1/2 point rip that after a little filing and re-setting will hog through FAST. And a D-23 (11tpi I think) set for cross cut that does a good job. In both cases, less than $50 each including buying some new files and locating a used saw set. Saw vices you can make. Making yourself a saw bench (not the same as a saw horse, lower and wider, about the height of your knee) really makes handsawing a much easier task.

For my bench work I'm using a no-name 12" backsaw (that I'll probably ditch soon, it really isn't very good no matter how I rework the teeth) and the Veritas dovetail saw. That is a sweet saw for the money but you don't have much depth to the rib so only good for dovetails, small tenons and other light work.

I recently got to play with all the Lie-Nielson saws at a LN handtool event and they are all great. Their panel saws were fantastic, now I know how much more work I need to do on my "antiques".

And other other thought, for small bench work, you can get away with only a rip cut filed saw. They will cross cut just fine however you will end up with a bit more jagged edge. That can be addressed using a marking knife to pre-score the work and by adding a shooting board to the post-saw steps.

Closing can of worms...
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 05:23 PM
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Hey Warren... Rob got it pretty well covered up there for western saws! Sound advise and recommendations. Disston saws can be found just about everywhere. The D8's and 23's have a quality made blade that is easily reworked to whatever specs you might want. anything from 4.5ppi to 12 ppi. The D12 were Disston top of the line saw and if you can find one of these beauties affordably, it is well worth latching onto. Right now, I've 3 D8's in the shop in various stages of restoration. Another option is to pick up on e of the smaller saws out there and have it redone to achieve the results your looking for. A task easily handled by a good saw sharpener, or yourself if your so inclined to learn the craft. Which isn't all that hard to learn...
A good backsaw is a joy to use!! But you are limited by the saw itself. A good one will run you a hundred bucks and up (give or take new) Primarily used for joinery and dovetail working, this may not be your first choice in saws...
As for Japanese pullsaws, I've several and can tell you IMHO, they are just incredible. they do have a bit of a learning curve and the better saws can easily be damaged if your not careful. One of the downsides is that resharpening is a bit more tricky (a skill i've yet to master) and they are generally pretty job specific with the Ryoba pretty much being the general purpose go to type of saw.

both Stanley and Craftsman make a nice 15" saw in fine and coarse point for about 20 buck each. New, they all could serve you very well and when it comes time to sharpen, give it a try...or just take it to the sawer's shop. BUT, keep an eye out for deals on any of the other saws mentioned.

hope this helps..

bill
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 05:25 PM
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I use pull saws all the time. Far better than any other "hand saw" with the exception of a good coping saw. IMHO, these, (pull saws and coping saws), are a must have in your tool usage.

Just my opinion nothing more.

Ken

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-05-2010, 05:35 PM
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Ken...

Have you tried any of the Bridge City tool works pullsaws? Sweet!!
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 08:47 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you again gentlemen, you have provided me a great deal of useful information. My need is for a little saw I can grab when I want to make a quick cut i.e. take a couple inches off the end of a piece of 1"X 4" or cut across a piece of 1X6" oak or ash. I usually have tools that are far better than my skill level simply because they are such a joy to use.
I appreciate your efforts. Thank you.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sourdough View Post
Thank you again gentlemen, you have provided me a great deal of useful information. My need is for a little saw I can grab when I want to make a quick cut i.e. take a couple inches off the end of a piece of 4"X 4" or cut across a piece of 6" oak or ash. I usually have tools that are far better than my skill level simply because they are such a joy to use.
I appreciate your efforts. Thank you.
Sounds then like you want a cross-cut filed panel saw. Or you could just use a "tool box saw". Those are shorter panel saws. Not as efficient as the longer 24-28" saws but easier to store. They sometimes have more aggressive teeth with a wide set to accommodate a thicker saw plate. Their small size makes them a candidate for getting tossed around so they have to be a little more stout.

What is your budget?
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