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Make a cheap saw into a gem

453 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  BigCountry79
I thought this might be helpful for someone getting started, and wanting to do some hand cut joinery without investing a lot of money. One case where a cheap tool can me made decent.

Off the shelf gent's saws are generally not very good for joinery. The problems are 1) the teeth are set way to wide and 2) they are usually not sharp.

A simple way to unset a saw (narrow the kerf) without buying a saw set, is to place a hardwood block end grain side up underneath and tapping with another block on top. Tap, tap, tap, try the saw, or you can measure the set Narrowing the kerf alone will greatly improve the cut. Saw sharpening files are cheap. If you follow the guidelines it is really not that difficult. Helps to rig up a saw vise.

I did a quick test of all 3 saws. The cut on the left is a Lie Nielsen tapered DT saw ($175), the middle a Veritas 14T rip ($89), and the right is a Deer brand (Woodcraft $22 Deer Brand 4140/250 Straight Back Saw | Woodcraft).

No question, the feel of the LN and the cut are much, much better, but as you can see, the quality of the cuts between all three saws are almost identical.

You can see the Deer saw drifted on me. Possible b/c the set is off, more likely b/c I never use the saw and the ergonomics are totally different than a handle.

Lie Nielsen.014.022

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Buying my first pistol grip saw solved years of frustration with gents saws and Japanese pull saws. It is hard to say whether the years of struggle made me a better sawyer or whether they were simply frustration.

When I bought switched over, my lines stopped wandering, I could more easily tell plumb and square to the face, and the saw bound up less. For me I believe the pistol grip felt right to me because I was used to pistols. The heavy brass top helps me feel when it's off plumb, and the pistol grip helps me index it as well.

My first handsaw were old disstons, and I recently started buying and really liking the saws Andrew Florip makes... he stopped for a while due to illness I believe.

Saws do need sharpening, so you do need to understand how to sharpen no matter what saw you buy.
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