Since this isn’t really about choosing or maintaining a saw, but using it, I put it in the methods and techniques forum. Hopefully that works.
TL;DR version: I think I need a handsawing mentor
Although I’m quite handy and have done alot of things like framing walls, and building crude shop projects over the many years, I’ve been “hand tool woodworking” (in the Paul Sellers sense) for about a year. I’m still very unsure that I’m using my handsaws correctly. I have a few decent quality saws:
A veritas dovetail saw
A veritas carcass saw
A veritas tenon saw
A Pax 7 TPI ripcut panel saw
A Pax 12 TPI crosscut panel saw
Now, I know the tool doesn’t make the man 🙂 I just love the feel and look of handsaws, so I’m not expecting them to do the work for me.
I never get the results I see Paul get, or other online woodworking videos. My rip cuts don’t produce the nice smooth cut with the little curl of wood at the bottom of the cut that I see all the time. Mine are always shaggy and wavy. I can’t imagine getting a 1/8th inch rip cut down an 18 inch long door stile, for example. It would all rip to shreds. I suspect this is a sharpness issue but I may just not be sawing correctly.
My crosscuts are ok with the very fine saws, but as I go more coarse in TPI, I get progressively worse results. The Pax crosscut is so bad that I am scared to use it on more expensive woods because I get a lot of breakout. Again, I am wondering if this is sharpness or finesse. These PAX saws are brand new, but they could be dull out of the box. I didn’t sharpen them, and they haven’t been used much.
My problem is I have no frame of reference for what the feel or result SHOULD be like.
So – my main question is this: Where would you go – what would you do in order to learn to use handsaws correctly? I’ve been searching for local classes, but they are very rare in my area and far away. I can’t seem to find a mentor to connect with. This isn’t my full time job, so I can’t join the only woodworking school (about 90 minutes away) – they require a full-time 4 year program 😀
Can anyone share thoughts on finding a mentor? Nothing beats some hands on instruction from an experienced craftsperson. Barring that – can anyone recommend a resource (video / book) that goes into depth about using / practising / saw skills and how to know if you’re improving or getting expected results?
Thanks in advance for your tips, referrals, resources, kind words of encouragement, and anything else you care to contribute!
- This topic was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by Greg Marshall.
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