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davem62

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hi all,l would like to start practicing the above joints and wondered if there is a hand saw that would do both adequately or do you need 1 of each, if so what would you buy, new or second hand of fleabay, what are the makes to look out for , also is it worth looking at the japanese saws from mathew at wh.
 

Jacob

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Most people start with a single tenon saw 12" blade and something like 10tpi with a cross cut tooth set. This will do both and I'd stick with that until you can do things reasonably well. Dozens of them on ebay, or new ones fairly cheap. Makes don't matter much (saws are simple things) but sharpening does, so take it to a saw doctor when you get it, if it isn't obviously sharp.
Later you could consider DT saws and other more specialised items, but you need to get your hand in first.
Don't go near a Jap saw - these are for tool enthusiasts not for beginners.

If you want a new one (less of a gamble!) then Matthew's Atkinson-Walker would be a good starter but similar quality second-hand ones are two a penny on ebay.
You'd still need to get it sharpened. I wouldn't attempt this yourself on a new saw, have a go on a few old bangers first.

If you just want to get stuck in there are many like the B&Q Stanley Fatmax for only £10 or so - very cheap and cuts really well.[/url] They are re-sharpenable, in spite of appearances.
 

Dave D

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I wonder what saws Japanese beginners use.
 

Pete Maddex

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Obviously the wrong ones :wink:

Either a cross cut western saw or a japanese saw.
What ever you use practice practice practice, its the only was to get good at something.
Pete
 

dunbarhamlin

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Pete Maddex":24hzmaq7 said:
Either a cross cut western saw ...
Eh?
Rip cut better for tennon cheeks and for dovetail tails and pins (i.e. all of the main cuts.) Only shoulders warrant a cross cut if determined to join straight off of the saw instead of cutting close and paring to the line - and even then a fine rip cut to a knifed line will be clean enough.
 

Jacob

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dunbarhamlin":8n8hvf4e said:
Pete Maddex":8n8hvf4e said:
Either a cross cut western saw ...
Eh?
Rip cut better for tennon cheeks and for dovetail tails and pins (i.e. all of the main cuts.) Only shoulders warrant a cross cut if determined to join straight off of the saw instead of cutting close and paring to the line - and even then a fine rip cut to a knifed line will be clean enough.
Well yes but our OP sounds like a beginner and IMHO a general purpose traditional tenon saw is a safe bet. Too many options can be confusing.

Dave D":8n8hvf4e said:
I wonder what saws Japanese beginners use.
Why don't you find out and tell us. Shouldn't be difficult. :roll:
 

Paul Chapman

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Jacob":3o44qyfk said:
Too many options can be confusing.
In cutting dovetails and tenons the majority of cuts are along the grain, so a rip cut dovetail or tenon saw would be best - nothing confusing about that.

Cheers :wink:

Paul
 

woodbloke

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Jacob":1ii5lmup said:
Well yes but our OP sounds like a beginner and IMHO a general purpose traditional tenon saw is a safe bet. Too many options can be confusing.
There is something in what Jacob says. It the OP is indeed a newcomer, then a general purpose cross cut tenon will do the job adequately...it's only when you progress a little further do you realize that things might be done better with a rip tooth configuration (if cutting along the grain) and a cross -cut tooth (if going across it)
Thinking about it, when we started, did we have different saws? I certainly didn't - Rob
 

davem62

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hi all,would like think that i'm a competant diyer fitting numerous kitchens and bathrooms,so like to think fairly skilled using my hands and tools but would now like to get more into skilled joinery if that sounds right
 

Jacob

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That's good then - just get stuck in!
It's much more about doing it rather than tooly talk. Have you got a tenon saw? If so, just use that. Getting a "better" saw probably wouldn't make any difference at first, if ever.
 

Harbo

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I for one would go for cross cut but with 14 or 15 TPI .

And as for Japanese, the ones WH sell are excellent - I have never had any problems using them.
They cut on the pull stroke rather than the western style push.
I also have a small 160mm one which cost me about £10 from Axminster - I use it all the time and a good cheap way to try them out if you have any doubts?

Unless you know of a good local saw doctor or are capable of saw sharpening yourself - I would give the Bay a miss.
Bargains to be had no doubt but they are generally very blunt?

Rod
 

woodbrains

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Hi.

If you really want to have an enjoyable time woodworking, then why not invest in something that will do the job properly. You will not cut fine dovetails with predictabiliy and enjoyment with a 12 inch tenon saw, even if you are a seasoned pro. A raw beginner will fail and become disheartened. Get the right saws for the job and you will not be hamstrung from the off and then you can really learn how to do things properly. The most significant reason why most woodworking novices give up, thinking they can't do things the way they see others do, is because they do not buy suitable tools which will never do good work for them. Good tools are an investment, but once purchased will last a lifetime, which is better economically than buying dross and tossing them, to inevitably buy the right one later, or worse just never bothering again. You have to realise that much of the advice given in these forums is from people who do not want to spend any money and convince themselves that buying cheap is all that is needed and things which cost a little more are not necessary. Beware of this advice as taking it will inevitably mean you will not get your tools sharp or your joinery crisp. I would recommend a 10 inch Western dovetail rip saw which will do fine dovetails and small tenons. The shoulders can be cut with the same to a knife line, though eventually you will want to get a matching crosscut to make these shoulders finer. Add the equivalent tenon saws when you want to do larger tenons and halving joints. Obviously, if you are going to start with tenons and move to dovetails later, then reverse the order. Once you have got one or two fine tools, then maybe you will want to get some good used saws, as you will then know what you are looking for and what charactreristics you need when re-sharpening, which isn't too difficult to learn and a necessary skill to aquire as your saws will need re-sharpening from time to time. You will never regret buying good tools but you definitely will poor ones.

Mike.
 

Jacob

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woodbrains":2lm4c1lh said:
....You will not cut fine dovetails with predictabiliy and enjoyment with a 12 inch tenon saw, even if you are a seasoned pro.
Hmm not entirely true. Slightly less sharp edges perhaps
A raw beginner will fail and become disheartened.
Can fail and become disheartened even if they have the best saws in the world - it's not the tool it's the practice. At the start it won't make a lot of difference either way as long as they are sharp.
....The most significant reason why most woodworking novices give up, thinking they can't do things the way they see others do, is because they do not buy suitable tools which will never do good work for them.
Most successful crafts people, and other performers in most areas (music, sport, you name it), begin their careers with total tat - it's how it is , it's always been that way. Shouldn't put anybody off.
I think a lot of people will be discouraged by being told that their tools are no good and then will be disheartened by finding that new tools don't immediately make a big difference. It's not about the tools - it's about using them and putting the time in. Most people give up on most things when they haven't put the time in.
By all means buy good tools if you can afford it but they won't do you a lot of good at the beginning - it's all down to practice.
BTW the best DT saws you can buy are the old Spear & Jackson, Footprint etc which still appear on ebay dirt cheap.
I've just had a look and saw new Footprints at £50 +. Still a lot of new stock around. Maybe the old ones are getting scarce?
 

woodbrains

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Hi,

If the best sportsmen, musicians etc. could make their original tat work they would not buy better versions later. BTW lousy corners on a dovetail is a poor joint, so get a good saw and cut sharp corners. Practice is important, but you can practice 'till hell freezes over and you will never cut good joints with poor tools. So what are you learning whilst you are practicing with your lousy saw? Oh yes, you should have bought the right one in the first place. Trust me on this; you will only get disheartened if you use poor tools so don't put yourself through the misery. Good tools are easily obtainable these days and are not as expensive as you might think. A good dovetail saw for a day or so's pay is worth the effort. Incidentally, I think those Footprint saws are actually Atkinson Walkers re badged. They are not bad, but need fettling. How do we know how to fettle one 'till we have experienced the qualities of a good saw in the first place. I would not take any advice from anyone who does not even know what a sharp tool is like because they are too afraid of buying the necessary to sharpen them. Incidentally, you cannot re-sharpen induction hardened saw blades unless you completely gring off the teeth back to the plate behind, which is completely not worth doing, they are cheap and throw away for a reason. A good saw file will cost about the same as one so it would be pointless. (No pun intended) Nor can you cut decent dovetails with these, so give them a miss. There isn't a fine craftsman around that hasn't come to the realisation that it is a waste of time trying to do good work with not so good tools. The benefit of forums is to save yourself the pain and miss the steep learning curve that the best craftsmen took and part of that curve was the waste of time and money they went through trialling lots of tools before they found the ones that actually work.

Mike.
 

Jacob

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woodbrains":1l9290r6 said:
Hi,

If the best sportsmen, musicians etc. could make their original tat work ....
Very often they could make their tat work, which motivates them to go on and improve, which eventually will mean getting better kit.
Conversely there will be many who have had access to the best kit available and still couldn't do it.
In both cases it's a question of putting the time in and being committed, ideally with the right bit of help in the background.
With woodwork tools sharpening is number one, the quality of the tool being a long way behind. In use, a sharp but rubbish quality chisel is streets ahead of a blunt but top quality equivalent. Sharpen them both equally and in use the difference is very small. Ditto saws. Ditto planes perhaps, though some are best avoided!
I think the emphasis on tool quality in these forums could be misleading for a beginner, and the emphasis on complicated sharpening procedures could put them off for life!
 

Modernist

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If I was going to recommend a tenon saw to start it might be better to be a bit finer than 10pt, especially if it was going to be used for dovetails.

I can still remember the difficulty trying to cut tenon cheeks with a cross cut saw at school. It would wander off at the slightest provocation and was very slow. A rip is a different animal here.
 

Jacob

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Modernist":3i2v5hly said:
If I was going to recommend a tenon saw to start it might be better to be a bit finer than 10pt, especially if it was going to be used for dovetails.
It'd be OK on 1/2" and above perhaps? That Atkinson Walker is 13tpi which could justa bout do thin 3/8" sides
I can still remember the difficulty trying to cut tenon cheeks with a cross cut saw at school. It would wander off at the slightest provocation and was very slow. A rip is a different animal here.
When I was at school a rip back- saw would have been wasted on me!
PS come to think, I've done lots of DTs and tenons with a cross-cut back saw. In fact I haven't got one. My 2 DT saws are both cross cut. I must try one one day!
 

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