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Optimum Saw Handle Designs

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Harbo

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There's been a fair bit of talk on saws recently with Derek and others showing off their new designs and others showing their Ebay finds.
Looking at the photos got me into thinking is there any science in the differing handle designs or is it another thing that as developed/evolved over the years?

I had a look at some of my older saws and one common feature seems to be the palm bulge?
But the handle rake does vary especially in the more modern Hand Saws.
This is very apparent in the pictures Jacob showed of his saws on another thread - on the older ones the grip rake is nearly vertical?
And shown to some extent on my photos of the Tyzack and the much younger Disston.













Sorry about the top two photos - bits got chopped off but its the same saw (Tyzack)


Rod
 

Jacob

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Palm bulge! Never heard of it. Or have I go it? Is it contagious? :shock:
Basically a handle is better than no handle at all. But you could probably still saw with no handle at all. Just don't take handles too seriously or you could turn into a tooly! :shock: :shock:
That next but last one looks a big pineapplebugger.

PS drunken ramblings - I now see it is smaller than the last one, it's the small handle which threw me. :roll:
 

woodpig

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I've not used an Antique saw so I can't comment but they certainly look more ornate than practical.
 

Corneel

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Ok, they are a bit more ornate then absolutely neccessary, but these oldies are highly practical! A lot of thought and experience went into these handles. They are very comfy and give a very good grip on the saw. The oldtimers used their saws day in day out and knew very well what was important.

To the original question. A more vertical hang angle gives a more aggressive saw. It needs sharper teeth, but returns the favor by cutting faster.
 

Harbo

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Woodpig - I am not really meaning the ornate bits, though I do like them, it's the position and angle of the handles I'm interested in.

Corneel - thanks for that, the older saws seemed to be "dressed" higher too i.e. the handles sit higher in relation to the metalwork.

Jacob - Palm Bulge - my term for the widening/thickening of the grip to fit the palm - more pronounced on the Ross&Alexander DT. And the Tyzack saw is only a tiddler - 20"

In a relaxed horizontal position my hand holds items at approximately 10 degrees off vertical, but the DT's above have a rake of about 30 degrees - so already our wrists are accommodating this difference to keep the saw horizontal? But why choose 30 degrees - for appearance or does it give more control?
And for Gentleman's and Japanese saws, as the handles are in line with the blade, a completely different grip is required?
It could be that no real thought has been put into this by the makers (though I personally don't think so) other than to make them feel comfortable.
Or perhaps its just left to our wrists/hands/stance to make the correct sawing action?

Rod
 

Allylearm

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I prefer the Tyzak or Sorby handle, I thought my newer Disstons were thicker in the hand when comparing and not as snug and natural feeling. The plastic type can vary a lot though I do like the Jack or Stanley as it seems more than anything the saw type I use now if I need to use a panel or crosscut as no need to resharpen. I did have Sandvik years ago that was dead simple and had a mock timber holding bit in a very simple D configuration, it was usable as well though I never liked the Dragon motived Sandvik which came in red, which could be more to do with balance as I thought the heel of blade was too thick for me in daily use.

I used Spear & Jackson timber handled at College and never liked them so never purchased any, well to my hand fit anyway.

But in practice it is your hand and fingers and how they fit that determines weapon of choice. My choice may not be everyone cup of tea but they were confortable and ease of use on a long day. I am glad of some new portable tools becoming the fashion or making working life easier that I could discard my hand saws when practicle.
 

baldpate

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Harbo":3vsu05o4 said:
I had a look at some of my older saws and one common feature seems to be the palm bulge?
I noticed that 'palm bulge 'too : but, then, if you hold your hand flat in front of you, fingers and thumb oustretched, then start to curl the fingers and thumb into a 'power' grip, you see that there is a lot more 'mounded' flesh & muscle between the forefinger and thumb, and between the little finger and heel of palm, than there is in the middle of the palm (which is - relatively - free of flesh and muscle). At least, thats what happens with my right hand :). I'm pretty sure that would account for how common this shape is (and how comfortable it feels).

PS: I was just watching a program on TV about Leonardo da Vinci - I bet he knew all that, and more!
 

bugbear

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Harbo":gq6vktxk said:
There's been a fair bit of talk on saws recently with Derek and others showing off their new designs and others showing their Ebay finds.
Looking at the photos got me into thinking is there any science in the differing handle designs or is it another thing that as developed/evolved over the years?

I had a look at some of my older saws and one common feature seems to be the palm bulge?
But the handle rake does vary especially in the more modern Hand Saws.
This is very apparent in the pictures Jacob showed of his saws on another thread - on the older ones the grip rake is nearly vertical?
The angle the handle makes with the blade is normally called the "hang", and is quite important. The height of the handle w.r.t. the teeth line is also important. Both effect how the driving pressure relates to the teeth, which is "quite important".

The handle design really involves two things - the ergonomics of the bit you actually hold, and the decorative flourishes in other areas.

Old saws tend to be extremely comfortable to hold and use, so I tend to the view that successive modifications culminated (fairly rapidly) in excellence.

Whilst a science of ergonomics is a useful thing, empiricism will get you there, even if it takes longer.

The decorative bits are of quite a traditional design, and were presumably desired and selected by the buyers - clearly a handle can be made more cheaply without them.

BugBear
 

matthewwh

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Harbo":1ryyric4 said:
In a relaxed horizontal position my hand holds items at approximately 10 degrees off vertical, but the DT's above have a rake of about 30 degrees - so already our wrists are accommodating this difference to keep the saw horizontal? But why choose 30 degrees - for appearance or does it give more control?
And for Gentleman's and Japanese saws, as the handles are in line with the blade, a completely different grip is required?
Hi Rod,

You would be surprised at how similar the hand and body position is with all three. Imagine you are giving the top of your vice a good telling off and wagging your finger at it. The Japanese saw handle runs along the index finger and right through the palm to the wrist. The gentleman's saw handle nestles in the middle of the palm and the traditional dovetail saw curls down between the fingers.

For all three the position of the hand itself is almost identical.

Tilting the wrist down causes it to stiffen (soldiers are taught to push their thumbs down on top of their fists when marching in order to keep their arms straight) in sawing the same principle gives you a relaxed yet rigid grip that improves your accuracy.
 
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