All(most) of the new back/tenon saws I see for sale set up as Cross Cut saws

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    Hugo Notti

    I have the impression, that rip-cut is “left to the pros”, and they are supposed to use machines. Apparently, the demand for rip-cut saws is too small these days. Give it 50 or perhaps 100 years, and tenon saws will have gps (to find the joint you were working on yesterday), kerf-tracker and a like button. And there will be laser spanners and sonic screwdrivers for real 😉

    By the way, Paul Sellers talks about this topic often in his blog.


    • This reply was modified 6 years ago by Hugo Notti.


    Your scenario assumes that our Robot Overlords let us do any woodworking at all.




    I have three rip saws in the making, since I’ll be ripping walking cane shafts down to size and making larger mortise and tenon joints for heating system radiator enclosures. The first is one of a set of steel-back saws passed down to me from my grandfather. They have to be close to 100 years old and one of them had irretrievable teeth. I’ve filed off the teeth, and am setting up a saw filing station (small, portable) to create rip cut teeth (per Paul Sellers).

    The second is Paul Sellers’ demonstration of converting a new Spear and Jackson hand saw to rip teeth. Definitely worth the time to watch. I obtained a pair of them, originally both crosscut, and the only things I’ll do to the other is perhaps touch up the crosscut teeth, check to see if the blade is tapered (good luck there) and maybe lighten up the set, and definitely add the only micro-bevel that Mr. Sellers uses with a diamond paddle on the far edge of each tooth.

    The third is a 1940’s vintage Disston 240 20″ panel saw, advertised to cut through metal (they meant nails in the wood). It’s a rip saw, 15 TPI, in lovely shape. They didn’t make many, because apparently ripsaws were going out of style by the 1940’s. It has a hefty blade, a bit of a set to the teeth, and cuts a kerf twice the width of one of the few dedicated Japanese rip blades I’ve been able to find. It will be matched with a similarly sized Sandvik Hogboo crosscut hand saw from Sweden.

    A good source for rip saws are the long out of production Disston D8 and D7 full sized hand saws in 5-1/2 tpi rip configuration. These are for heavier lumber. eBay, of course. The ones with the hole in the handle for the left thumb are most prized (and priced, but I lucked into one for $20). I’ve used the two handed grip and it is very useful. After sharpening (it’s been cleaned), it should slice right through 2×8’s (too-ba-ates).

    The Japanese saw I mentioned about is at
    It’s $50, although I got it on sale at $30. The thin kerf can be attributed to it being a pull saw and so far I’ve cut 30″ of maple dead on. I think now that the trick of rip cutting long cuts for novices like me is to create a groove or 1/8 to 1/4″ kerf on the cut line. First a knife score, then a nearly vertical Paul Sellers knife wall, then a deeper, slightly wider groove using whatever you can come up with. I used an old stair saw. The theory according to professor Sellers is that the saw blade follows the line of least resistance. So, in cutting a long thin piece of hardwood, I kerfed both sides and both ends and it sure enough worked. Straight and smooth rip cut. Time consuming preparation but worth the time, as always. You’d do better with one of those kerf planes being touted around the Web, but that’s a project unto itself.

    I just wish I had more time. Gotta run.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 11 months ago by jeffpolaski. Reason: Add more info
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 11 months ago by jeffpolaski.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 11 months ago by jeffpolaski. Reason: Typos, spelling, but more probably defective keyboard!
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