Are expensive tenon saws worth it?

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MikeG.

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.......The pull stroke makes it much easier to keep the blade straight..........

I'd be careful of stating that as fact. It's absolutely a matter of opinion. Not one I share, as it happens.

....... Despite what various WW Youtube "gurus" say, saw-sharpening is a skilled business to get right; and looks to be bluddy tedious.......

Tedious? Maybe, but it's only 4 or 5 minutes. Skilled? Not highly. It's pretty simple, and hard to get wrong unless your eyesight is poor. Besides, woodwork is supposed to be skilled. Learning skills is what it is all about. This is just another one of the many skills or techniques involved.
 

rwillett

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This is a difficult question to answer. Just as you have found that there are hundreds on the market, you'll probably get a hundred different opinions here.
In your position l would go for a hardpoint tenon saw in the 10 to 20 quid range. It will never need sharpening and when does you throw it away and move on.
You mention 300mm high. I assume you mean wide, which is going quite a tall order with a 300mm, say, saw. How will you hold it? Do you have a bench hook?
Brian

Thanks for the reply.

I'm looking on eBay now for a cheap saw to try and learn how to sharpen. I want a cheap brass backed one with all the teeth so I at least have a fighting chance of success. I think I will get a cheap disposable one as well, just so I have something I can use whilst I am learning.

The problem is that I have to learn so many new things, and sometimes before I can acquire a new skill I have to learn something to enable that. I had to learn to do 3d-printing before I could build a CNC machine and learn to use that. I sometimes feel like the cartoon below


Thanks

Rob
 

maznaz

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No opinion myself on the merits of sharpening Vs buying sharp, but have you made a bench hook, and do you have a plane and shooting board? I don't see things square, but finished pieces certainly end up that way.
 

Eshmiel

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I'd be careful of stating that as fact. It's absolutely a matter of opinion. Not one I share, as it happens.



Tedious? Maybe, but it's only 4 or 5 minutes. Skilled? Not highly. It's pretty simple, and hard to get wrong unless your eyesight is poor. Besides, woodwork is supposed to be skilled. Learning skills is what it is all about. This is just another one of the many skills or techniques involved.

Newbies seem to find cutting accurately a much easier task with a Japanese saw than they do with a Western saw. Of course, once the Western saw skills are acquired, both can be used to make accurate cuts. But .... the finer teeth of the Japanese saws often do produce not just a faster cut but a smoother wall. I'm now practices with both varieties and find I have to make far less correction with the chisel and shoulder plane after a Japanese saw cut than I might have to with a Western saw. But perhaps my Western sawing techniques are not as good as I think. :confused:

On the other hand, Western saws can generally be steered whereas a Japanese saw cut, if started wrong, can't really be corrected apart from via starting from scratch - which it may be too late to do if the kerf has gone niggledy-noggle well down the cut.

****
Saw sharpening of a merely blunted saw might be straightforward but if an old saw needs to have the teeth tops filed even and the teeth set, as well as a bit of sharp applied .... well, that's not so straightforward, wouldn't you agree? An old junk shop or car booter saw might well need more fettling than to just it's sharp, too.

Eshmiel
 

rwillett

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I'd be careful of stating that as fact. It's absolutely a matter of opinion. Not one I share, as it happens.



Tedious? Maybe, but it's only 4 or 5 minutes. Skilled? Not highly. It's pretty simple, and hard to get wrong unless your eyesight is poor. Besides, woodwork is supposed to be skilled. Learning skills is what it is all about. This is just another one of the many skills or techniques involved.

Ah well, I almost lost the sight in my right eye last year but have managed to get most of the sight back, I had a almost detached retina from a moutain biking accident that swift (and I mean swift) surgery found and corrected, Opticians at 11:00 and in theatre five hours later).

No opinion myself on the merits of sharpening Vs buying sharp, but have you made a bench hook, and do you have a plane and shooting board? I don't see things square, but finished pieces certainly end up that way.


Errr....

Rob
 

Ttrees

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Hello
You may wish to look for a panel saw for 300mm wide boards.
The Bahco laminator saw seems to have the smallest kerf of any disposable saw
I have seen, I think it is marketed for laminate flooring, so a saw designed for this purpose would probably be the best bet for this minute.
You can plane down to the knife lines afterwards.

If you want something that will last...
Andy Lovelock made a youtube video called "Sharpening western saws"
It is by far, the most comprehensive on the subject.
I copied everything from that video and got great results.
If you find some saws that need to be reworked, then I suggest getting some wide masking tape sticking it on the plate under the tooth line and marking half inch
lines down the plate.
I found this was necessary for me when needing to joint and re-cut teeth for a fine 13TPI saw.
Much more difficult than a 9 TPI panel saw that got jointed and re-cut without
the lines, although the tape would have helped quite a bit.
The last saw I sharpened was a 12TPI backsaw in good nick and was an absolute breeze, done in 5 mins with no lines on tape necessary.

If you happen to stumble on some plastic handled saws, or have some hardpoint disposables knocking about that you want to re-tooth..
I suggest replacing them with timber as that saw plate can shatter old plastic and could cut deeply into your finger, if doing some heavy sawing that is.

As you say though, better to keep a lookout for teeth not needing work
as saw files aren't too cheap, and some very old saws can have hard spots.

Tom







Good luck
 

thomashenry

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I have the Spear and Jackson tenon saw referenced earlier in the thread.


I've made loads of things with it. You can use it right out of the box, no worries. Depending on how frequently you use it, it could be years and years before you ever need to sharpen it, if ever.
 

MikeG.

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......Andy Lovelock made a youtube video called "Sharpening western saws"
It is by far, the most comprehensive on the subject.....

It's excellent. But "comprehensive" isn't necessarily a good thing for a complete beginner. As with all sorts of skills, a beginner wants enough information to just get going, and not all the tips and nuances needed for every situation he might face in the next 30 years. For a beginner, go to one of the simpler 5 or 10 minute videos, and get going.......and when you've done a few saws, then you go to Andy Lovelock's video.
 

MikeG.

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I have the Spear and Jackson tenon saw referenced earlier in the thread.


I've made loads of things with it. You can use it right out of the box, no worries. Depending on how frequently you use it, it could be years and years before you ever need to sharpen it, if ever.

Blimey. Either you're not using it enough, or you haven't realised that it's a bit blunter than you think (it does creep up on you slowly). I reckon I resharpen my main tenon saw 2 or 3 times a year, and I've got 4 others that share the sawing burden.
 

thetyreman

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my main dovetail saw is an old spear and jackson 13 tpi that cost less than £20, it's good enough for me, it's all about the skill not the saw once it's sharpened, and set up properly.
 

AndyT

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For quite a while, back in the 80s/90s, my only tenon saw was a lightweight, hardpoint job with a plastic handle and a thin, folded steel back. I think it was probably 10" long. I never got on with it.

Then I was lucky enough to be given a Disston D5 from the 1950s. 14" long with a proper, thick brass back.
It was a revelation. I started to understand what it meant when authors of books wrote "let the saw do the work". For the first time, I didn't need to bear down on the saw, I only needed to push it back and forth.

You don't have to buy a Disston - UK made saws from the same time are a very close match. But I do think something with a bit of heft to it makes a huge improvement.
 

Jackbequick

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So many good answers a couple I'd just like to reinforce as well as saying 'is it a tenon saw you actually need?...or a panel saw? ...don't buy a tenon saw which you can flex readily. As well as correct saw file you will need a tooth setting tool...Sharpening saws like 'yoga' or meditation, can be quite refreshing and the results when good, most satisfying.

Japanese tools ...that cutting on the draw stroke is traditional, the way Katana and Wakuzachi were/are used....even the Tanto in Hara Kiri...drew from left to right.

Good tools today can be very useful...some saws cut in both directions. If you don't force your tenon saw..or any saw, but hold it with 'firm flexibility' to let it cut under its own weight then clean when finished or getting 'gummy' you will get great service...If the saw buckles during use it's either poor quality, too thin, being forced into the work or not clearing the cut (the saw (tooth) set determines the clearance). Tenon saws are made for small work and for use in mitre-ing. They are not panel saws, have (usually) small teeth suited to their purpose. Buy a cheap saw or two and practice a few teeth at a time....examine your work and angles against a well sharpened saw. You'll lose the fear...I felt it too in the beginning.
 

Stanleymonkey

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Welcome to the forum.

Get one of these for around £10, whatever happens it will serve you well for a long time.

Make some different cuts with it and see what you think of the comfort and ease of cut, accuracy and quality. Gives you a baseline I reckon. Be honest about your own ability and see if its a good enough place to start. eg Has 12 teeth per inch - you might look for something with more teeth for finer cuts.

Hope this is helpful - good luck
 

Blackswanwood

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I think Phil is right.

My wife bought me a Skelton Tenon Saw for a big birthday. It's a thing of beauty and because the handle is custom made to your hand size is very comfortable to use. I could cut a straight line with my previous Axminster one and I can cut a straight line with my Skelton one. I can cut a straight line because I've practiced and built up muscle memory.
 

furnace

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Hi,

This is my first post. I have lurked for a while and seen some 'interesting' threads as well as some very informative ones. I will keep away from the 'interesting' ones for a while :)

Anyway, I'm getting more involved in woodworking as I've moved from London to North Yorkshire and have the time and scope to do more, I also now have a garage which is mine, all mine!

My knowledge of wood working is limited to what I learnt at school (which was very little), but I'm having to do more and more, so I need to start to learn. As part of a separate piece of work, I have just printed and built a CNC machine and am using that, originally that was aimed at a narrow market of foam cutting. See here for my trials and tribulations (New build in Clapham, North Yorkshire, UK).

After I built the CNC machine, I got a number of requests to do free sign engraving, so have done a number of "No Dogs" signs for the park and similar. I've glued two planks of wood together to make the sign high enough, flattened the surface and carved the letters out using a 2mm router bit. I spray paint the letters and then do a small 0.1mm pass over the surface to remove the excess paint, cut to size, varnish and then give them to people. This is NOT a commercial venture and is helping people out.

Anyway, as I am doing more woodworking, I thought I'd try and learn more about the tools and how to use them correctly and hopefully avoid burning the garage down, or losing a finger, or leg or killing myself. All of which are likely with my lack of motor skills. :)

Whilst many of you probably never even think about simple things such as cutting a piece of wood square, this is a major piece of work to me as I never, ever seen to get it right. It's never clean and almost never at right angles and never vertical and never wholly straight. Apart from that, it's pretty perfect :)

So I wondered about getting a tenon saw and using that, but then I looked around and discovered that there are as more tenon saws than I ever thought possible. There are even Japanese tenon saws that look like nothing I've ever seen. There are different lengths, different teeth per inch (why not metric?), different handles, brass backs, plastic backs, wooden handles, open handles and the views range from rubbish to brilliant for every saw. Apparently most tenon saws need to be sharpened before use according to a highly respected poster on here. That actually made me gulp, I have no idea how to sharpen a saw and am genuinely scared to even consider it. I then saw the price range of the mass market (£10-£30) and then saw that people recommended Veritas saws, so had a look at them and thought, Wow! They are expensive.

So my simple question is, can somebody recommend a decent (tenon?) saw for making straight cuts across wood 300mm (ish) high, that makes straight cuts, is easy to use, doesn't require sharpening and is safe for a muppet such as myself to get the hang of and use. I'm drowning under data and need to get some air. Oh, and are the Veritas saws worth it? I happen to have an antique centre down the road which seems to have a lot of older tools in, never bothered before, but are they worth looking at?

Many thanks

Rob
A sharp, well-set saw makes sawing much easier and is not expensive or difficult to achieve. As mentioned previously, Paul Sellers has long advocated learning the pretty minimal skills need to sharpen saws and the satisfaction that comes with it.
Give it a try and see.
 

MikeG.

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Tenon saws don't flex readily. They've got a stiff spine. Therefore I don't understand the assertion/ instruction/ claim.
 
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