Some hand saw questions - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-27-2009, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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Some hand saw questions

If I want to cut a 2x4, I'd grab something like the cross cut saw:

It has pretty big teeth and can chomp right through the wood for a pretty rough result. If I want to cut a 1x2, however, that same saw seems way too big and I'd go for a miter saw. Is there a standard guideline about which sizes of wood to cut with which saws?

Also, at the local home depot their cross cut saws seems to all have the "big" teeth, about 9 per inch. I know I've seen this shape of saw with very fine teeth - are they not common? Would there be a difference between cutting with a miter saw (or "back" saw according to the link I posted) vs a fine-tooth cross cut saw?

Any thoughts are appreciated!


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post #2 of 7 Old 07-28-2009, 03:58 AM
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Dave, I think it's more about the kind of finish you want to achieve. If you're rough cutting across the grain, that's one thing. If you're preparing a piece for use in a project where the end-grain will be visible, that's another. Then you might want to consider a thin kerf blade with more tpi. Here's a picture of my Pax saw with 15 tpi and a 2mm kerf it produces really clean cuts across the grain.
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-28-2009, 07:45 AM Thread Starter
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So the two saws in the picture - the one with the vertical blade is the one you are referring to? Is the other one a miter saw? The difference with miter saws is that they have a reinforced edge so they don't wobble, right? I'm still wondering why I shouldn't just use a miter saw for any 'fine' cuts?


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post #4 of 7 Old 07-31-2009, 09:57 AM
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David just consider what you are going to be doing with the piece of wood you cut - after you cut it. If it is not going to see the light of day ever again then use the saw which will get the job done quickest. If is is going to be on display and seen in your finished project then consideration must be spent on how long it will take to clean the cut to an acceptable condition - such as how much sanding and planing will it take to get your freshly cut piece of wood to be to an acceptable standard to you.
I have several hand saws including an 8 tpi cross cut saw and my all time favorite is an old Disston panel saw with about 12 tpi (nobody gets to use my Disston saw but me). I make my saw selection based on what I will need to do to the cut after the saw has done its work. Just because it takes a few minutes longer to make the initial saw cut may easily translate to having a quarter of the work in dressing it to the finished board. Good luck.


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post #5 of 7 Old 07-31-2009, 10:08 AM
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I have about 8 saws but I've gotten into the habit of using one or two pull saws more than any other type of saw. I have one of these that has two edges, one for rough cutting and one with more teeth for fine cuts. I also have a smaller version with even more tpi that I've used to cut a <1mm kerf in place of a crosscut saw.

Everyman is right in the statement that it's more about the finish you want. If I don't care about the finish, I grab the biggest toothed saw I have and hack away. If I want something a little cleaner I go with a saw that has more teeth.
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-31-2009, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies!

Ok, I've definitely learned the main concern is in the finish you want. So now shape of the blade is just personal preference? A 'rectangular' saw like a miter saw vs on of those 'trapezoidal' Japanese saws vs something shaped like the first 3 here:

Seems like all three of these could have the same size/number of teeth, so when would you chose one over the other?


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post #7 of 7 Old 07-31-2009, 10:20 AM
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That list gives a good description of when to choose each saw. I don't do much ripping by hand, so my hand rip saw is pretty much retired, as is my old crosscut, except for the rare occasion. As I said, for me, I like the pull saws much better because I have far more control of my cuts that way, and less blade wander. I use the doublesided pull saw for any big cuts or large pieces of wood, and the smaller pull saw for short cuts or small pieces of wood because I don't need the extra cutting length of the bigger saw. Hacksaws I use for PVC and metal, drywall saw for drywall, and a coping saw for hand scroll work. That's about it, really. Primarily base it on finish, then on what is the most comfortable (or job appropriate for specialty stuff) for the job at hand.
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