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Crosscutting handsaw help required

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Simon Morris

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Hi all,

Fairly new to hand tool woodworking and really struggling to get a square cut with a handsaw. I am using a Japanese Ryobi saw and have tried starting at the front of the cut, the back of the cut. Standing in different positions etc. But my cuts always end up the same - The front and top of the cut look great along my lines, but the bottom of the cut on the far side has always pulled to the left by 1 - 2mm. I don't have this issue when ripping.

Can anyone suggest what i am doing wrong please? Better yet if there is anyone local to me in Merthyr Tydfil that could show me what i am doing wrong in exchange for a cuppa, that would be awesome.

Many thanks

Si
 

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Jacob

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For a novice I'd definitely recommend a conventional western tenon saw (with normal general purpose sharp and set). Why bother with odd exotic fashionable alternatives?
With a normal saw you first cut a shallow slot along the top, then drop the saw down the front line but keeping it in the top slot all the time - to make a triangular cut. The turn the workpiece around and cut down the back line, keeping the blade in the slot again, straightening up as you get to the bottom. The idea is you see where the blade is going at every stage and can guide it a bit. Can you do the same sort of sequence with a pull saw? I don't know.
 

Andrewf

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Practise practise is my recommendation. My father used to make me cut the bread, he reckoned if you could cut nice even slices, you would be good on wood.
 

Beau

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Looks like it's cutting a curve. It could be the set on the saw is off on one side of the saw
 
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Have you tried cutting the front, turning the piece, and then cutting the back?

Untitled.png


Cut up to the blue line, (flip piece over) then up to the red line, and finally down the green.

As your eye is perpendiclar to the line, you're only cutting what you can see. You'll then end up with that triangle piece (the green stage) that is internal, so not important how it looks, but can be cleaned up with a chisel.

I'd also recommend watching wortheffort on youtube. He has a few on sawing straight.
 

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custard

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Simon Morris":2tt2da5o said:
the bottom of the cut on the far side has always pulled to the left by 1 - 2mm
You know, for a beginner with a Japanese saw, that's actually not all that bad!

Japanese saws, by and large, deliver cleaner cuts pretty much straight away, but demand more skill to deliver accurate cuts.

Also, as a beginner, don't expect to cut accurate joints straight from the saw. That'll come but it will take quite a bit more practise. A better strategy for beginners is to remove most of the waste from a joint with a saw, but then use a shoulder plane, a router plane, or a bench plane on a shooting board, to accurately finish the cut.
 

profchris

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With a pull saw I find I need to get my head down nearly to the level of the cut (OK enough above so I can see the line on top). Start on the corner nearest me and cut at an angle until I've cut most of the two lines I can see. Then reverse the workpiece so I'm starting at the opposite corner and join up the cuts (as someone else already posted).

If I run the saw flat along the top line, then I'm certain to wander off one or both of the vertical lines.
 

MikeG.

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Simon Morris":xz2ddlnm said:
........Can anyone suggest what i am doing wrong please?........
You're using the wrong bit of kit. Stand next to me in my workshop with a tenon saw in your hand and I'll have you cutting accurately in 10 minutes. Japanese tools are so, so fashionable, but the saws offer no advantage I can see other than a finer kerf (if that's an advantage). This comes at the cost of being more difficult to control.
 

scooby

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I'd imagine a japanese saw would be more difficult to learn than a traditional handle saw. Although I've never used one, I can imagine its like using a gents saw or coping saw. I dont have a career in fine woodworking, just carpentry/joinery, but after 20 odd years I still dont enjoy those tools due to the handle design.
 

SBJ

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The type of saw is fine. Relax, loosen your grip and let the saw do the work.

Consistent veering to the same side suggests that the set of the saw is out. Have you hit any metal with it? With hardened teeth it's hard to do anything about it but you could try running a hard sharpening stone down the side of the teeth of which the saw veers to, to see if that helps.

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MikeG.":1mzi0ms6 said:
Simon Morris":1mzi0ms6 said:
........Can anyone suggest what i am doing wrong please?........
You're using the wrong bit of kit. Stand next to me in my workshop with a tenon saw in your hand and I'll have you cutting accurately in 10 minutes. Japanese tools are so, so fashionable, but the saws offer no advantage I can see other than a finer kerf (if that's an advantage). This comes at the cost of being more difficult to control.
Utter nonsense

Neither type of saw is better. They're just different.

The thinner kerf gives a cleaner cut and is easier to use as you're removing less material.

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MikeG.

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transatlantic":2l202att said:
.......The thinner kerf gives a cleaner cut and is easier to use as you're removing less material......
This doesn't relate in any way to the OP's problem, which is controlling the saw. For someone who is new to hand sawing, I stand by my claim that the western saw is easier to master initially.
 

worn thumbs

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Have you checked that the saw isn't twisted?I would normally expect the deviation from the line to be the same on both sides with a flat saw.
 

eezageeza

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Here's another vote for a conventional, backed tenon saw - if you can hold the saw vertically, you'll cut to the line both sides in one pass, though perhaps with bit of practice first!

I've never use a japanese style saw, but imagine they are much harder to hold vertically, accurately, than a conventional tenon saw.
 

sammy.se

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+1 for traditional western tenon saw.
My DT teacher taught me to hold it with my index finger extended along the side of the saw, for better control. That might work for you also.

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scooby

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sammy.se":kdl8lbmt said:
+1 for traditional western tenon saw.
My DT teacher taught me to hold it with my index finger extended along the side of the saw, for better control. That might work for you also.

GallerySammy.com
I think the method is the same with japanese saws but the outstretched finger resides on the handle. I recall seeing someone a YT woodworker doing that.
Think it was Matt Estlea.
 

AJB Temple

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I use Japanese saws a lot (they are great) and a range of tenon saws. Both are fine but the technique is a bit different. Japanese saws only cut on the pull stroke, so it is pretty difficult to start a cut from the front of the workpiece.

When I show people how to use a Japanese saw (people being offspring) generally they use much too much pressure. Let the saw do the work. A decent Japanese saw that you will buy over here, has hard point teeth and will cut quickly and neatly but you mustn't try to force it. If the set is off (fairly unlikely) then you will see it by sighting along the teeth. Just practice. It will come.
 

deema

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If your right handed, what appears to be logical is to position your eyes so that you can see the line your trying to cut to with both eyes. This means that your head is to the left of the saw and as a consequence you will tend to saw on a slant to the right. The opposite is true if your left handed. The way to overcome this is to look directly down the saw with an eye either side of the blade. This will automatically keep your blade vertical and the cut true. To get absolute precision practice is the key once you have got your stance correct.

All saws work the same in that you don’t apply vertical pressure onto the blade and try to force it through the cut. This is why you hear the comment about having a relaxed grip; you can’t apply a downward lever if the saw is just resting in your hand and being guided.

The last thing is stance, if your right handed, left fit forward and right foot back to allow your sawing arm to move without restriction.

If your not sawing through the stuff quickly, there is only one of two issues, either the saw is blunt (Japanese saw you throw away) in which case you need to sharpen it, or your using a saw with too many teeth over inch. Both of which will cause the saw to wander as the teeth are not able to function properly.
 

Simon Morris

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Hi all

Thank you for all your replies. Most I have tried but I will try Transatlantics method this weekend and Mike G I have been coming to the conclusion that I should try a western tendon sawjust to see if the problem persists, oh well, there goes another £100 lol.

I had also thought as mentioned that the blade set could be off as ripping on the other side of the blad is fine. Should one expect cross cutting to be harder?

Also agree I should not yet be aiming for perfect cut along my marking lines. I know I am going to have to park or plane anyway, it’s just feels like a failure that I can’t figure this one out. Taught myself to use planes and chisels but this is bugging me

I will try Transatlantics idea and if no better results I will buy a tennin saw.......may be Japanese though :)

Will post results

Cheers
 
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