Advice required: traditional saws and Japanese saws

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deema

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@CoolNik I’m really sorry to hear of your problems, I hope woodwork helps. Ripping down timber with a long saw is very energetic work. You normally do it on a saw bench, kneeling on the stuff, bent over, working up a real sweat. It’s a really good all round exercise, for a physically fit person. I am physically reasonable fit, and try to avoid manual ripping, it’s not really fun! Perhaps it would be worth considering getting either a table saw or a bandsaw to take all the hard work out of preparing your wood? I would also like to suggest that once cut down to rough size, planning is again a very physical exercise best avoided by most without a love of large biceps. Again a planner thicknesser or a lunch box thicknesser is your best friend. These two machines take all the hard work out of woodwork and allow you to focus on the fun bits of making joints and actually creating a finished piece.
 

CoolNik

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Japanese saws aren't traditional (unless you are Japanese!) but became fashionable about 20 years ago. There's nothing wrong with normal saws and they also are available hard point throwaway, cheaper, cut just as well, but less exotic.
Or trad very cheap 2nd hand - just go for Spear & Jackson and if necessary have them sharpened by a saw doctor, which will be cheaper than throwing them away and buying new.
I did the trad C&G tool box basic contents list here; Carpenters tool box which still looks good to me. If you want a rip I'd go for 28" 4 tpi
I'd ignore the supposed benefits of a thin kerf - as a rule they are thick enough for the purpose and tooth size, e.g. a S&J DT 21tpi saw will have 0.5mm thick blade, any thinner than that is getting a bit silly!

You realise some good points, just a pity they are on this page, not on a saw in my hands!! Please don’t take offens, I am not good at jokes when they are written instead of spoken. To the point and now I can’t help myself! Isn’t one of the first sings of dementia when you laugh at your own jokes? Anyway. I had some Japanese saws from a birthday gift after I had been told by my specialist doctor and my physio, as my friend had been told it was easier to start with Japanese saws than the more common in my world, the “Western”saws. So, other than I received these daws, I used them in a couple of cuts, then received the tool list which was the start of this question. I am now considering asking one or 2 of you folk who have been so kind with advice to locale a couple of saws as set out in the tool list itself. I think I should. Probably also a dovetail or a similar. Let me know what you think of my plam]
 

Awac

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If you get into Western saws, learn to sharpen them, it give a satisfaction that is out of all proportion to the effort. Blackburn tools have some great articles If you decide you want to learn.
In fact before you do anything learn to sharpen everything lol. Buy the book from fine woodworking called “The complete guide to sharpening” by Leonard Lee. Sharp tools make working wood fun, dull tools make people give up.

Western or Japanese? Try them both, welcome to woodworking, you can spend more than you earn, and justify it no problem!
 

D_W

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There's nothing wrong with normal saws and they also are available hard point throwaway, cheaper, cut just as well, but less exotic.

"hard point throwaway western cheaper aren't traditional (unless you are just trolling) but became fashionable about 20 years ago."
 

Jameshow

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If I were in your position I would just use hard point saws....

A bahco 15tpi tenon saw and a rip saw.

Then a veritas dovetail saw....

Job done!

I don't know why the tutor asks for specific saws sounds pedantic!
 

Spectric

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I will admit I was never that good with a handsaw, good enough for some jobs but now with age they become hardwork until I found Japanese saws and they seem to require less effort and I get a better cut because you pull and I think the blade in tension is more logical.
 

D_W

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coolnik - the list that bob's course gives you is a good place to start.

Once you get the basics down (that being using the tools with some regularity and eventually - hopefully soon - sharpening at least the rip saw), the best thing to do is just to get in the shop and use them.

I work mostly by hand unless I'm making something that was designed to be made with power tools (for example, guitars right now, work almost entirely by hand, but there are a couple of things (cavity shapes, etc) that don't have a shape or tolerance that's quite right for hand tools, so I use power tools for those. But not much.

If I can give you one piece of advice, it's that once you begin to become competent with hand tools, you can depart forum advice because very few people use them for anything but small work, but that is not all that you can do with them. If you felt like working wood by hand a couple of hours a day, you could literally build everything in your house in your spare time in a matter of a few years, and do it well.

Working by hand (the heavy part) is a lot like taking a brisk walk. This isn't obvious to the average person who doesn't use hand tools because they're thrashing around using hands, arms, wrists, etc, to work, but the reality with hand tool use (sawing and planing) is that we generally work in relaxed positions at some % less than "all out". Our power comes from leaning, turning, initiating from the shoulder, etc, and arms down are just for directing things and extending.

Things will become obvious to you - sharpening a rip saw is very easy - it's literally a couple of minutes if the saw is in good shape to start, and you'll sharpen a rip saw often (but remember, you're literally just laying the file in the teeth and taking a uniform stroke off of the teeth, maybe two or three - and that's it - just a few minutes). These aren't things that the average person on a forum can feel or get used to or understand if they don't do it, just as I know what a sliding table saw is, and I have pushed wood on one before, but I would be a bad person to give advice about sliding table saws. For whatever reason, when someone talks about working entirely by hand, the group of folks who use them sparingly here and there are full of advice.

Part of the art is in doing the physical part with some ease and not with strain, tight grips or uncomfortable postures, etc. It's a very pleasant way to work.
 

D_W

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It's a routine part of the guru act to hint at occult knowledge! :rolleyes:

I'm sure it's a matter of not having to address 8 different people in a class with different methods.

I've never taught a class, but was quickly informed of that when asking why one instructor here had a very specific required tools list.

It's also not that useful to criticize someone who is actually teaching people to work by hand and not recommending 14 boutique tools that they're selling or promoting. The instructor in this case actually has worked by hand and he's not the least bit pretentious nor cynical. Neither is helpful to someone wanting to learn.
 

Jacob

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It's a routine part of the guru act to hint at occult knowledge! :rolleyes:
Just checked his site and the tuition is free so that's good. He does have a slightly fanciful view of things.
It's essential to look at a variety of sources and one of the most practical is Paul Sellers' - with the least amount of guru BS. He's closest to what UK apprentices would have been taught when woodwork was a big employer and doesn't get too carried away. But nobody is perfect!
 

TRITON

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I will admit I was never that good with a handsaw, good enough for some jobs but now with age they become hardwork until I found Japanese saws and they seem to require less effort and I get a better cut because you pull and I think the blade in tension is more logical.
Im the same. struggled with western push type saws, as in the finer work type, they always stick for me,especially at the start of the cut, though site rough joinery types im ok with.
Soon as i started using Japanese saws it was like a lightbulb had lit up and they became not only easier to use, but also easier to maneuver
 

Jacob

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Im the same. struggled with western push type saws, as in the finer work type, they always stick for me, especially at the start of the cut,......
The trick is to start a cut by pulling the saw back for a stroke or three, from the back of the workpiece, until there's a big enough kerf to take forward strokes.
The bigger the tooth the longer the starter back strokes required - you need 2 or 3 teeth minimum in the kerf to cut forward easily.
You would really notice this with e.g. a 4tpi rip saw - very difficult to start on a forward stroke
 

D_W

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Im the same. struggled with western push type saws, as in the finer work type, they always stick for me,especially at the start of the cut, though site rough joinery types im ok with.
Soon as i started using Japanese saws it was like a lightbulb had lit up and they became not only easier to use, but also easier to maneuver

this is something that would even out - but it's a matter of whether or not you want it to.

Anyone thinking about woodworking by hand entirely (including ripping) will need to work through getting past this (but it just goes away). Jacob provides a method, but there isn't really a specific method - it's a feel thing, and once you're setting up your own saws, you'll bias toward setting them up a little bit aggressive (it's less effort to use a saw that doesn't need you to lean on it)

it sounds like a whole bunch of different things to work through (sharpening fast, sharpening at the right angle - no jigs or anything like that, just a file and handle), getting the hang of sawing. I think if someone works entirely by hand, it's a matter of months.

The body mechanics part of it enters in, too - it all comes together at the same time. That is, when you're sawing and you start or if you're just a site worker doing little with hand tools other than trimming bits here, it may not come together, but when doing a longer duration of hand work, you start generating power differently - from the shoulder, from the hips - no up and down, no squatting, no leaning all the way over, and your hands, wrist, etc, don't really do too much other than steer and extend (but the extending is the easy part).
 

Jameshow

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Just checked his site and the tuition is free so that's good. He does have a slightly fanciful view of things.
It's essential to look at a variety of sources and one of the most practical is Paul Sellers' - with the least amount of guru BS. He's closest to what UK apprentices would have been taught when woodwork was a big employer and doesn't get too carried away. But nobody is perfect!
Give me Paul Sellers any day and that's saying something!!!
 

D_W

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It's essential to look at a variety of sources and one of the most practical is Paul Sellers' - with the least amount of guru BS.

That's comedy gold right there.

That said, I didn't check Bob's site. I only remember him from before he started teaching classes when he was on forums at the time and was actually making things entirely by hand.

Hand tool instruction from people who don't actually do that is pretty worthless.
 

TRITON

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The trick is to start a cut by pulling the saw back for a stroke or three, from the back of the workpiece, until there's a big enough kerf to take forward strokes.
The bigger the tooth the longer the starter back strokes required - you need 2 or 3 teeth minimum in the kerf to cut forward easily.
You would really notice this with e.g. a 4tpi rip saw - very difficult to start on a forward stroke
Really Jacob, Really ???. first pull back to create a kerf. Hells bells, those 20 years doing this stuff and i never knew that.

:rolleyes::LOL::LOL::LOL:

OF COURSE i BLOODY KNOW THAT :LOL: :LOL: :LOL:

I just can't get on with them, even my fancy pants 20 tpi or whatever it is dovetail saw. Give me Japanese every time.
 

D_W

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Really Jacob, Really ???. first pull back to create a kerf. Hells bells, those 20 years doing this stuff and i never knew that.

:rolleyes::LOL::LOL::LOL:

OF COURSE i BLOODY KNOW THAT :LOL: :LOL: :LOL:

I just can't get on with them, even my fancy pants 20 tpi or whatever it is dovetail saw. Give me Japanese every time.

20tpi is too small (a modeling saw). Even worse are the softer saws with fat plates and 20TPI (my son has a gents saw cut with 20TPI - i gave it to him when he was about 4 so that he could cut things in the shop. He can't cut himself or anything else fast enough to do anything.
 

TRITON

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20tpi is too small (a modeling saw). Even worse are the softer saws with fat plates and 20TPI (my son has a gents saw cut with 20TPI - i gave it to him when he was about 4 so that he could cut things in the shop. He can't cut himself or anything else fast enough to do anything.
This is one of the best saws ive used and over the years ive been through about 5 of them
19tpi. It is in fact tthe main saw i use for dovetails, which for me ive found best.

Veritas also make a 20tpi dovetail saw

To be honest I dont know exactly what the western dovetail saw i have is tpi wise, but its pretty fine. probably about 17tpi which is why i said "Or whatever it is"
A gents saw can be 22tpi
Modelling saw 30-40tpi
A fine razor saw can be 42tpi

So 20tpi isnt too small. Maybe for you in your experience, but a good quality Japanese saw = 19tpi, a veritas = 20tpi, thats good enough for me.
 

CoolNik

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I'm sure it's a matter of not having to address 8 different people in a class with different methods.

I've never taught a class, but was quickly informed of that when asking why one instructor here had a very specific required tools list.

It's also not that useful to criticize someone who is actually teaching people to work by hand and not recommending 14 boutique tools that they're selling or promoting. The instructor in this case actually has worked by hand and he's not the least bit pretentious nor cynical. Neither is helpful to someone wanting to learn.
Thank you for your comments. I am new to all this. I have no skin in it any particular corner, I was just looking for some advice and assistance, so I thank you for “grounding” the conversation. Now, I need to know if anyone has a few saws that will fit the requirements and is willing to sell them to me! Cheers Robyn
 

CoolNik

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coolnik - the list that bob's course gives you is a good place to start.

Once you get the basics down (that being using the tools with some regularity and eventually - hopefully soon - sharpening at least the rip saw), the best thing to do is just to get in the shop and use them.

I work mostly by hand unless I'm making something that was designed to be made with power tools (for example, guitars right now, work almost entirely by hand, but there are a couple of things (cavity shapes, etc) that don't have a shape or tolerance that's quite right for hand tools, so I use power tools for those. But not much.

If I can give you one piece of advice, it's that once you begin to become competent with hand tools, you can depart forum advice because very few people use them for anything but small work, but that is not all that you can do with them. If you felt like working wood by hand a couple of hours a day, you could literally build everything in your house in your spare time in a matter of a few years, and do it well.

Working by hand (the heavy part) is a lot like taking a brisk walk. This isn't obvious to the average person who doesn't use hand tools because they're thrashing around using hands, arms, wrists, etc, to work, but the reality with hand tool use (sawing and planing) is that we generally work in relaxed positions at some % less than "all out". Our power comes from leaning, turning, initiating from the shoulder, etc, and arms down are just for directing things and extending.

Things will become obvious to you - sharpening a rip saw is very easy - it's literally a couple of minutes if the saw is in good shape to start, and you'll sharpen a rip saw often (but remember, you're literally just laying the file in the teeth and taking a uniform stroke off of the teeth, maybe two or three - and that's it - just a few minutes). These aren't things that the average person on a forum can feel or get used to or understand if they don't do it, just as I know what a sliding table saw is, and I have pushed wood on one before, but I would be a bad person to give advice about sliding table saws. For whatever reason, when someone talks about working entirely by hand, the group of folks who use them sparingly here and there are full of advice.

Part of the art is in doing the physical part with some ease and not with strain, tight grips or uncomfortable postures, etc. It's a very pleasant way to work.
Thanks for your comments about the physical side of hand tool work. I think that the reason my physio recommended it is because of the overall workout to the muscles and therefore the nerves. It’s the nerves that don’t work for me, trying the hand tools out might mean that for me, progress is slow, a little painful but hopefully helpful to my overall physical And mental health. My understanding is that Bob works exclusively by hand, which I think Paul Sellers also does. I just found Mr. Sellors to be a bit difficult to follow, at the early stage. It might be different when I have the basics under my belt! Cheers Robyn
 

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