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Why open handled?

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Anonymous

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Says it in the title really.

Why do LN, Adria etc. saws have open handles whilst most cheaper saws have 'closed' handles? Aesthetics and cost or is there actually a functional reason?
 

AndyBoyd

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My grandad who adviced me on such matters say the open handles fit more sizes of hands than the closed ones many years in the wooden yacht building business. I have both and the open ones just seem snugger and easier to control, plus they look great.

IMO
 

bugbear

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The Lie-Nielsen tenon saw is closed handled.

Historically, smaller saws were open handled, larger ones closed.

BugBear
 

Midnight

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BB are you sure about that..??

We're talking about their Independence saws... right.??
 

Frank D.

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Hi Midnight,
BB's right, the tenon saw is modeled on a Disston and is closed handled. The Independence is the dovetail saw (modeled on a british saw I believe) and that's the one with the open handle.
Frank D.
 

Midnight

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ahhhhhh...... Thanks Frank.. canna say that I've seen their tenon saw; something no doubt I'll be rectifying soon.... :wink:
 

Philly

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Hey Mike
Don't forget that L-N also do straight handled saws too! :twisted:
(just for comparision :wink: )
Collect 'em all with
Philly :lol:
 

Argus

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Personally, I think it's a matter of comfort.

But larger saws do tend to come with closed handles.

I have small hands and find the open type to be more comfortable and I get better control as a result.
Some closed saw handles are just too big for comfort.
 

Alf

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Theory Warning:

Could it be a matter of strength? Open handles aren't as strong, but okay for the gentler cutting tasks of small saws. Closed handles are much tougher to take the slings and arrows of ripping and such? Just a passing thought.

Cheers, Alf
 

Argus

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Alf":86dcn08i said:
Theory Warning:

Could it be a matter of strength? Open handles aren't as strong, but okay for the gentler cutting tasks of small saws. Closed handles are much tougher to take the slings and arrows of ripping and such? Just a passing thought.

Cheers, Alf
Probably.

You don't see them on rip and cross-cuts. And the quality of handles available today, on even good quality new saws, is appaling. Give me old tools any day.
Because of the size problem, I rehandled most of my saws modelled on my favourite handle some years ago.
I did it in Beech (bits left over from my bench top) and if you align the long grain along the slimmest dimension at the junction of the thumb and first finger, it is strong enough for a tennon saw - I've never broken one yet.

But to throw the cat amongst the pigeons I find an even better cut from Japanese saws, which I tend to use most of the time especially for dovetails these days. Western saws with a wide kerf cannot compare.
And these Japansese tools have an even more basic handle - totally open.
 

Alf

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Argus":15eu6sas said:
And the quality of handles available today, on even good quality new saws, is appaling. Give me old tools any day.
Don't get me started... On the strength issue, I have an article on how Spear & Jackson were making their saws in 1937 and they put a dowel down the middle of the grip on their handsaws (closed handle). I wouldn't have thought it was worth the extra effort. :?

Cheers, Alf
 

Chris Knight

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Alf,

S&J were dowelling their handles much more recently than this. I have a couple of backsaws I bought within the last 30 years and they both have dowelled handles.
 
A

Anonymous

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Open handled saws usually have less depth under the blade and only 2 saw nuts. Many open handled saws (i.e. Lie-Nielsen) have less than 2" under the blade. That wouldn't accomodate a closed handle with 3 nuts very well.
 

Alf

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1937 is recent as far as saws go! :lol: I wonder if the quality of the beech they were getting dictated the extra effort? :?

Cheers, Alf
 
A

Anonymous

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I have a couple of closed handled S&J back saws, and don't see evidence of dowelling on the grip - rosewood handles mind, not beech. 3 nuts on both.

The totally open (gent's saw like, in fact) handles of the Japanese saws takes some getting used to - it throws the body stance off a lot, and is very easy to overcut at the back of the stock because the handle, combined with the blade shape, can induce a tilt in the blade angle (picture a ryobi). There are, of course, japanese saws (and non-japanese pull-saws) that have pistol grip handles - not quite the same as a European open handle, but not as unusual as the straight handle of the traditional Japanese; I've never used one of these, so can't comment on their feel.
 
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