Talk to me about essential hand saws!

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bohngy

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(not bragging, but...) I've been lucky enough to have been given a load of saws... to include; a mitre box saw, gent's saws, numerous tenon saws, panel saws - you name it! They're all cracking quality - Disston, Tyzack, S&J, and suchlike, but they ALL need restoring and i've way too many.

I'm downsizing workshop, so looking to rationalise the saw footprint. Which has left me wondering which saws and tpi configurations are considered essential? I don't want to limit myself, but space is going to be an issue.

I'm going from a machine shop to something akin to a shed, so I've got to be selective. I'll still have a 10" table saw, for now, but will keep a rip saw, for when i'm feeling energetic!
I'd really welcome your opinions on what i need/should keep. thanks
 

Bod

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What are you planning on making?
Recommendations for model making will be different to oak framing.

Bod
 

thetyreman

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can you sharpen them? and set the teeth?

I like to have a 3-5 tpi agressive rip saw, 7 tpi and 10 tpi panel saw, the 10 tpi is just fine enough for rough cross cutting.

I use a japanese ryobi as well but more for the cross cut than anything for when I need a very clean cut often on a bench hook.
 

bohngy

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Good question Bod, I make small items of furniture and do occasional restoration work. I err on the side of fine work(I'd like to think it's fine!), boxes cabinetry, rather than framing etc.
 

bohngy

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thetyreman":23a2ajck said:
can you sharpen them? and set the teeth?
That's going to be a real challenge, I'm not going to lie! I thought I could learn/practice on the less good saws, but maybe I should sell on the finer toothed tenon saws and buy some Japanese pull saws!... I often use a Dozuku for fine crosscut work, and for fret slot cutting, when I made a few acoustic guitars a while ago. It gave a wonderful cut, but I would like saws I can learn to sharpen.

Sounds like I could get by with a rip, 2 panels and a tenon saw.
 

bohngy

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Thanks, Mike, at different TPI, for the control/cut quality?
It's going to take me a while before I can sharpen a 18-20TPI saw, at this size, maybe a Japanese saw will be the better option for me.
I'd better see what TPI the crosscut saws are.
 

IWW

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Any saw might be "essential" to someone for some procedure. We vary in our preference of saw for the same job, depending on who we learnt from or what we've become accustomed to. My favourite dovetailing saw is loved by some, hated by others. If you make a narrow-ish range of things, you can get by very happily with a small selection of saws, but if you tackle anything from a large piece of complex furniture to fine boxes you'll think a wider range is necessary.

So answering such a question is rather like responding to "How long is a piece of string?" I wish I did know which saws were essential so I could reduce my own saw collection, amassed over about 60 years of woodworking. The number of saws I have is very hard to justify to anyone else, and I frequently tell myself "I must rationalise!" So I pull out a few that haven't been used in a while and put them aside to sell off or give away. Invariably, within a week or less, I'll find myself retrieving them because they are 'just right' for some job in hand. :roll:

So the best advice I can offer is to rationalise your storage. I've got 4 hand saws, two panel saws, and at least 15 back saws in reasonably regular use. They won't all fit in my main tool cupboard, so I have a small extra cupboard that accommodates two hand saws and about 6 back saws [edit: Seven, actually - I just counted them in the pic). The good thing about saws is that they are skinny so you can persuade quite a few to live in a small space. It's a bit cramped in there, but each saw is accessible:

Cheers,
 

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Orraloon

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As said they dont take up a lot of room when hung in a saw till so dont be in too much of a hurry offloading them. Over time you will get to know the ones you need and like to use.
Regards
John
 

profchris

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bohngy":sz01v8ra said:
I often use a Dozuku for fine crosscut work, and for fret slot cutting, when I made a few acoustic guitars a while ago. It gave a wonderful cut, but I would like saws I can learn to sharpen.

Sounds like I could get by with a rip, 2 panels and a tenon saw.
Not if you're going to make guitars again! Then you'll want at least two tenon saws, a longer coarser one for cross cutting larger boards close to final length, and a shorter finer one for delicate work (this could also be your fret cutting saw).

I use three backsaws (short, medium and long, getting coarser with length) plus a razor saw, and two pull saws (one with a depth stop for final cutting fret slots to width) and each gets a fair bit of use in a build. I could cut back to just three of these, but it would make the job a little slower and less easy.

I'd have guessed that making boxes etc would want a similar range. I suspect that if you cut back too far, you'll end up buying more!
 

That would work

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Yes, a rip, and the two panels should be one with around 7tpi for heavy crosscutting and one 10tpi both sharpened as crosscut (fleam). I've used this combination for ever and it covers most things. With tenon saws I use an 8" dovetail, a 10" and a 14" all sharpened in a rip pattern (no need to sharpen in a crosscut pattern for over about 10tpi) then one or two gents saws and you've got the lot.
 

AndyT

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Don't focus too closely on your current wish to make boxes. What will you use when you need to mend the garden fence, or build a compost bin?

It's good to have some second quality saws for cutting up reclaimed timber which might have hidden nails. (Though I think it was Charles Hayward who wrote that the best saw for that job was someone else's!)

And one little hint from my own experience - if you glue a stout dowel/ bit of broom handle into a block of wood and screw it to the wall so the dowel slopes up a bit, you can get up to ten handsaws on in a very small space.
 

D_W

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6 point rip, 9 or 10 point crosscut and then whatever tenon saws you like.

If you start doing a lot of work by hand and have the urge for me (e.g., coarser faster saws), time and effort will guide you to when you need t buy something else.

There's a whole lot in a 6 point saw filed right that's not often present in 4 1/2 point rip saws not filed right. I like a slightly coarser rip saw, but you mention you're doing some case work - if the plywood is good quality and more wood than glue, you can use your crosscut saw to saw it (no kidding) and planing without any problem.

at any rate, I'd rather have an aggressively filed 6 point rip saw than one that's too relaxed at 4 1/2, so that's something you can focus on learning. expect if you start using rip saws a lot, you'll sharpen them very often and only a little at a time. And that's a good thing. Crosscut saws don't notify you as quickly that they're getting dull.

If you plan to do some work in cheaper softer woods (construction lumber), you will prefer having two different rip saws - less for difference in TPI and more how they're set up.
 

thetyreman

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I find my dovetail saw is the one I use the most a spear and jackson 13 tpi, it's good for most tenons as well... one with 20tpi would be fine enough for all cross cutting as well as doing fine dovetails, remember that's it's all about technique not how many tools you have, it's how you use them, I have a 32 tpi razor saw that gets used about three times a year but when I need it there's nothing else like it.
 

thetyreman

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bohngy":2l86r8sj said:
thetyreman":2l86r8sj said:
can you sharpen them? and set the teeth?
That's going to be a real challenge, I'm not going to lie! I thought I could learn/practice on the less good saws, but maybe I should sell on the finer toothed tenon saws and buy some Japanese pull saws!... I often use a Dozuku for fine crosscut work, and for fret slot cutting, when I made a few acoustic guitars a while ago. It gave a wonderful cut, but I would like saws I can learn to sharpen.

Sounds like I could get by with a rip, 2 panels and a tenon saw.
it shouldn't be too hard to sharpen don't be intimidated, look up paul sellers sharpening saws on youtube, really good free videos.
 

bohngy

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Right! Thanks you so much for all your advice. I'm going to lay them all out in the garden tomorrow and see how many I have! I'll post a picture, so you can see how lucky I am to have these saws, but how much work I have to to, to refurbish them!

Thanks again!
 
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