A Furniture Makers Must Have Hand Tools - Saws and Sawing

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To be frank about it, when we have so many great machines to save us energy do the work for us, and do it so accurately, why should we resort to using a hand saw? The truth is that many hand saws go unused, and the band saw, table saw and partly the plunge router have replaced the handsaw around our bench.
However there are a few saws that are still needed and really cannot be replaced.
The first would be a general purpose cabinet shop saw, I have a very precious Pre- War Disston 10tpi saw that now sits gathering dust having been replaced by an ultra-sharp hard point plastic handled throwaway saw.
There are lots of brands of them, Stanley make a good one, Dakota make another, there is not a lot to choose between them.
They all have a Japanese tooth pattern that cannot be sharpened.
So you use them, dull the blade, throw them away and buy another.
I hate this but I can't say that my old pre-war saw is better except in terms of conservation of resources.
And that is becoming important as my 15 year old daughter keeps reminding me.
The small tenon saw has however an important use around the bench.
For a while I abandoned the European back saw pattern and recommended Japanese saws.
Since doing that we have gone back to recommending back saws made by Veritas, Lie Nielsen and Adrea.
This is because in the past 10 years the quality of the back saw has been improved.
There was a terrible time in British saw making history when once proud companies like Roberts and Lee made a very poor quality saw, I still have an expensive half tenon saw by Roberts and Lee.
I bought it in the late 20th century and keep it as a reminder of how bad they were.
We recommend that students by a genuine dovetail saw.
This would be a saw with teeth cut to a rip pattern.
An old-fashioned dovetail saw would have 19 or 20 teeth per inch, the best we can get nowadays is something like 15 tpi.
The blade will be between six and seven inches long and will have a nice handle and a well fixed heavy brass back.
This small saw will be for small components and joinery of things like drawer sides.
For the slightly heavier work, carcass dovetailing and more general sawing you need a very similar saw called a "half tenon" saw.
This is very similar to the dovetail saw, same teeth, same rip cut but a slightly longer blade maybe eight to nine inches.
The dovetail saw you will set up to saw with a fine kerf, the a half tenon you will set up to have a slightly wider kerf.
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