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How many of you use a hand saw as your main way of ripping?

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LFS19

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I don’t own a table saw. I own a circular saw, but precise cuts with it are laborious and quite difficult.
So for most of my projects so far, I’ve just had the wood ripped for me at the shop, and chopped it with my mitre saw to dimension.

The ripping issue is quite a thorn in my side. Even the cheapest good quality table saws are way out of my budget, and having investigated old flip saws which go for a cheap price and the possibility of fashioning a make-shift table saw out of my circular saw; and finding both of which ultimately not being a good idea, leaves me with ripping by hand.

I picked up a couple of old Spear and Jackson rip saws from a carboot sale. I also got a saw set, and intend this weekend to sharpen them up. I can rip pretty well with a handsaw and have had a fair bit of practice, though I’ve never done it with a very sharp one; meaning it took forever to make the cuts, and I’ve only done it on projects requiring one or two rips.

I was wondering whether any of you guys use hand saws as your main source of ripping, and how viable an option it is.
My main concern is time taken. As I say I don’t know how much quicker it will be once I’ve sharpened the saws, but the prospect of making say, even a small table, and ripping every part by hand I worry has the potentiallity to take up all of your time.

It seems that this is my only option right now, though, so any encouragement from people that do the same will be most welcomed!
Having looked on YouTube there’s only a very limited amount of woodworkers on there that rip entirely by hand, so how common it is on here I don’t know.

Do any of you do this and is it the immense amount of effort and time I’m building it up to be in my head?

Many thanks!

LG
 

El Barto

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It depends on the size of the piece in question, but I generally rip with a bandsaw or a Japanese saw.

I recently got this one and I have to say it is absolutely brilliant. Very fast and accurate, much more accurate than I could get with a western style saw.

This one is also excellent.
 

Osvaldd

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Im a hobbyist, and I do rip all my timber by hand, coincidently with a vintage Spear and Jackson too. Its tough but satisfying. Just cut well outside the line and finish with a hand plane. Think how much furniture has been made before power tools..
 

AndyT

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I have been through something of the same problem. I did buy a cheap table saw some time ago. I don't like it - it's crude and very noisy and takes up a lot of room and I wouldn't buy one again. But I do use it to rip components to near size, before planing by hand.
I have also experimented with ripping by hand and it's certainly a choice I wouldn't want to be without. It's the only practical choice if the timber is too big and heavy to move round. Or for making deep cuts in thick boards. (I've posted about that.)
My one bit of advice is that you need to be able to support the work properly so that all your effort goes into the cut. For small pieces this means a vice and a solid bench. For big bits, you need to make some trestles or a low sawbench.

If I was starting out now, I'd use a mixture of hand sawing, a band saw and a track saw.
 

sammy.se

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Lidl have a budget Japanese saw on 26th may, for 6 quid I think. Might be worth a shot

Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
 

AJB Temple

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To use a Japanese saw for ripping, a budget one will not do the job. You need a long blade or it becomes hard work and tedious.

I guess a lot depends on how much dimensioning you do and what you are cutting. anything can be ripped by hand, but the compromise is time. Can't hurt to learn to sharpen your saws though.
 

ED65

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I rip only with hand saws as I don't own (and have no plans to own) any power saws. I do mostly work quite small and primarily in softwoods but this won't change as I move to using more hardwoods.

Ripping by hand is perfectly viable if you decide it's perfectly viable. You just need to look at what was done and is still done entirely using hand saws all over the world. It's physically possible for most of us, so barring a physical limitation that would prevent it the mental side of it is the key thing and that's a different story. Just as not everyone who can thickness all their stock by hand can accept the time and labour that it requires, even if they have the time and are capable of the labour.

LFS19":2d5th8a7 said:
My main concern is time taken. As I say I don’t know how much quicker it will be once I’ve sharpened the saws, but the prospect of making say, even a small table, and ripping every part by hand I worry has the potentiallity to take up all of your time.
You're going to get more feedback on this here I'm sure but in the meantime if you search around online you can find blog posts and articles that'll give you a realistic idea of how long rips in thicker, harder woods might take. It can of course be quite significant in thicker and harder stuff, but it's not aaaages if the stock isn't particularly thick and the cuts aren't really long.

With a sharp rip saw you will find ripping a completely different experience to doing it with some blunt old thing. And sharpening rip is a doddle. But I've had a couple of rip panel saws and even freshly sharpened I don't find they cut as fast, or track as well, as my first-fix Predator saw from Spear & Jackson. There are numerous other fans of these saws here. While I haven't had the opportunity to compare to a 'proper' rip saw of 5ppi or so, in direct comparisons with panel saws of similar and the same tooth count as the Predator there's no comparison for me. The modern saw's tooth geometry allows it to cut on both the pull and the push strokes and it cuts very much faster in everything I've tried it on, including some tough hardwoods. Not twice as fast but not far off it.

Now all that said, if I had a circular saw I'd be doing my best to use it as much as possible! Especially for ripping thicker stock and doing any and all particularly long cuts I'd be seeking to overcome the difficulties there as the easiest and most efficient route to getting things done.
 

Bod

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LFS19.
When sharpening a saw, don't put too much set on the teeth to start with.
More can be added, if required, but it's not easy to take any off.
Even the Eclipse instructions for the No.77 Saw Set, contradict themselves by saying the numbers on the anvil do/do not correspond to the saws TPI.
Use the numbers as reference points, starting at 11, try the saw, if it binds, reset at 10 or 8. What ever the saws TPI.
You are looking to achieve a narrow kerf, that the saw plate doesn't rattle around in, and removes less saw dust, which equals less work for you!
Hard dry cabinet grade wood, will take much less kerf, than damp soft wood.

Bod
 

Jacob

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Have done it when I've had to but certainly not my main way!
This vid is good.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFkh35wbSLw
He gets the position exactly right. Knee on the board and saw downwards. I'd do the same along one or across two saw horses, moving the board a few times to avoid cutting the saw horse.
Another position is to sit legs either side of board and hold saw near vertical with both hands, and saw towards your crotch (carefully!)
What he doesn't show is that it's very fast if you put a lot of energy into it and use the full length of the blade. If the blade doesn't have a nib its a good idea to make a felt tip mark 3 to 4 inches from the end so you don't pull it right out and buckle it on the way back in.
PS you need a long 26" saw with 3 to 5 t.p.i. and teeth filed for ripping. Hard point "Predator" mentioned above sounds good too - I've used similar.
I doubt a Japanese saw would give you any advantage, they are just a fashion accessory!
 

John15

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Have you thought of getting a bandsaw. Compared to a table saw they are less expensive, less noisy, less dangerous, and take up less room.
Apart from cutting joints my hand sawing is mainly confined to crosscutting.

John
 

custard

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In the workshop where I trained as a cabinet maker the convention was that for most of the first year you only used hand tools. So we ripped loads of hardwood by hand.

It's fairly hard work, but unless you're infirm in some way it's manageable. Here's the thing though, ripping by hand is far more skilled than most people appreciate, they tend to assume that because it's physically hard that must mean it's just grunt work. I can assure you it's both sweaty and technical at the same time!

When you first start your cut will wander like a drunken sailor, so you'll have to steer well to the safe side of your scribe line and be left with loads of clean up work with the plane. After a few months of doing it every day though you'll get pretty slick at it, so much so that if you have a board that's 1/4" too wide you'll rip off the excess rather than plane it off.
 

powertools

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I have to say that I have a massive respect for those of you who only use hand tools but it is not for me. I cut things almost to size with machines and then finish off with the most appropriate tool for the job.
 

profchris

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My rip saw is 26 inch, £2 from a car boot, and inelegantly sharpened by me. I'd guess that a 4 foot cut in a 1 1/2 inch mahogany board takes less than 10 minutes, including a pause for a breather. That might give you an idea how long you'd spend on a small table.

If you're young and fit, quicker than that!
 

Jacob

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In the vids they all seem to be doing it on the edge of a saw stool which I think makes it slightly difficult to hold down. I always did it bridging over two saw horses - much better supported, though you have to move them a bit to avoid cutting them in half etc. Otherwise the same - saw in right hand and right knee on the board
 

knockknock

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Other than my cordless drill, I only use hand tools. What I do is, always think ahead. What do I have to do to a piece, what is a comfortable size for doing an operation, what pieces need to be the same length or width and work/match them together so exact size doesn't matter.

So back to ripping, most of my ripping is done in the initial break down of the lumber, and my preffered length is 2 to 3 feet. So I layout and mark where all the pieces will come from the lumber. Then I crosscut when possible so the lengths I will be ripping are in my comfort range. So my work flow usually goes crosscut then rip, crosscut then rip. Or for multiple narrow pieces from a wide width, joint an edge then rip, joint an edge then rip. This way I am not doing one movement for long periods of time.

As for holding a board with my knee, never happens, my knees don't like that. I clamp the board(s) to my workmate and saw them.
 

Jacob

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Jacob":2qyyo1rp said:
In the vids they all seem to be doing it on the edge of a saw stool which I think makes it slightly difficult to hold down. I always did it bridging over two saw horses - much better supported, though you have to move them a bit to avoid cutting them in half etc. Otherwise the same - saw in right hand and right knee on the board
And if you were cutting a wide board down the middle, perching it on the edge of a saw stool would be near impossible, it'd have to go across two saw stools.
I wonder if those purpose made ripping saw stools are examples of those many "good ideas" which infect the woodwork media - just not as good an idea as it looks!
PS Just googled hand+rip+saw+bench+stool .
https://www.google.com/search?q=hand+ri ... 19&bih=716
Yes there's millions of them - the good idea virus has struck again! It's much easier over two normal saw stools.
 

LFS19

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El Barto":306tz286 said:
It depends on the size of the piece in question, but I generally rip with a bandsaw or a Japanese saw.

I recently got this one and I have to say it is absolutely brilliant. Very fast and accurate, much more accurate than I could get with a western style saw.

This one is also excellent.
Thanks for the link. I don't own or use and Japanese gear so I'll check those out.
 

LFS19

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Osvaldd":hslm6wro said:
Im a hobbyist, and I do rip all my timber by hand, coincidently with a vintage Spear and Jackson too. Its tough but satisfying. Just cut well outside the line and finish with a hand plane. Think how much furniture has been made before power tools..
Good points! thanks for the post.
 

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