I’m looking to buy handsaws for different purposes and I want to understand which hand saw is the best for ripping, for instance, cut in half board of 1″ of thickness to create two boards of a bit less than 1/2″. Does a simple 24″ 8tpi handsaw is best suited for that?
thanks for your answers.
If I understand you correctly, you’re looking to rip a board through its thickness, rather than its width, that’s commonly called resawing…..this:
So a handsaw is the kind of saw in the picture above, and the best kind of handsaw for re-sawing does depend a bit on the wood you’re resawing. Certainly, whatever kind of saw you get, you’ll want it to have its teeth filed to rip, rather than crosscut.
The length of the blade will depend on the size of board you want to process. For example, if you will be regularly resawing big boards…let’s say 4 inches thick and 22 inches across, then you’ll want to build or buy a roubo-style frame saw…here are a couple of examples:
Dieter Schmid sells a kit, I think Bad Axe does, too, or you can google around for DIY solutions, which are plentiful.
If you’re going to be mainly resawing boards that are somewhat smaller in size, say, 10 inches wide or less, then something around the size you mentioned, 24 inches, 22 inches, 26 inches etc will be fine.
The number of teeth: there’s some preference here, but I’d say for a Roubo frame saw, maybe 2-3 tpi, for a “normal” 22–26 inch handsaw, something in the 4-5 tpi range, maybe as many as 6 tpi, would be fine.
Paul has videos teaching proper resawing technique, so check those out asap.
Hello Edmund, thank you for the clear information, this is very helpful.
My stock is not too wide, so a handsaw will be more adequate for me. I got Paul’s Essential handtools book and he recommends, for the first handsaw, to get a 20-22″ panel saw with 10 or 8tpi, so this saw is maybe not the best choice for resawing, so adding to this first saw a second one with 4-6 TPI could be a good duo to work with depending of the job.
I’m looking on eBay for an old Disston with a breasted back and tapered blade body, do you know which model I should go with first, or any other brand recommendation?
It is also worth considering how often you will do this, and how much other rip sawing you are likely to be doing. Occasional resawing with a saw is OK, as long as you resharpen it when needed.
Personally, I would not look on ebay, but that may be your only option, depending on where in the world you are located. (Let us know, as there are often second hand tool sites at a national level that others may know of that can give better value.)
It is also worth looking at a new saw, rather than a second hand one, even if it is only to get an idea how much you might want to pay for the second hand one, Spear and Jackson for example. As long as you make sure the blade does not have induction hardened teeth, then it should be possible to re-sharpen / shape them.
Disston made millions of fine saws back in their day, but they weren’t the only brand. Here in America, it was not uncommon for many high-end hardware stores to have their own brand of saws, some of which were as good as any Disston….Atkins is an example, but as for other brand recommendations, I’m only familiar with American brands, so I don’t know if you’d have access to these….Hibbard, Shapleigh Hardware, Cuyahoga Saw Co, and Simonds to name a few. Also, there are now modern makers who produce saws far superior to anything Disston ever made, such as Bad Axe.
The point, which Colin touched on above, is that you have options, although if your heart is set on owning a Disston then go right ahead. The Disston Number 12, later called the D-12, is pretty much considered their finest saw, perhaps only with the exception of the Victory model, but as Colin said, much more important is that your saw is sharpened and set properly. And where/what you buy does depend somewhat on where you are. Here in the USA it’s probably very different from the EU or Asia….I’d be very careful on ebay, but I’m sure gems can be found there.
Also — I should add that many brands, even Disston, are not a guarantee of a great quality saw. The quality controls on steel 100 years ago were primitive compared to what we have today — look what happened to the Titanic. Even if you get a saw from 1910, the steel might have defects which make it weak, and unable to hold an edge. And then there were the later years, when power tools were starting to take over, World Wars were using up all good materials, society was changing — even companies like Disston made products that were not nearly as good as their earlier stuff tended to be as they struggled to survive in the changing times.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by Edmund.
Thank you, Colin and Edmund, for the detailed information, this is very interesting, I didn’t know these brands, Bad Axe saw look really awesome but very expensive (the quality have a price I know).
I’m located in Quebec, Canada. I don’t know any vendor of vintage tools in my area, I try to find some gems at a good price on local classified ad websites but it’s very rare (for instance, I found an early no4 for 4$ in good condition). I agree eBay is not the best option, I found it’s hard to select a saw without being able to have it in hand for an inspection.
Since I have a long list of tools to buy, I want to start with one general purpose panel saw (that can resaw of course) of good quality that will outlive me.
If you have to recommend one saw (new or used) to a starter like me, which one you will choose? Like the budget have a big influence, I could put something around 100-125$. I not looking to get a brand specifically, Disston is the first brand I found during my early research. (I took note of the D-12).
In Canada, is it OK to import stuff from the USA, or is it crazy expensive? If you can import stuff, then your problems are solved, there are plenty of choices out there.
If you’re limited to Canada, I know Lee Valley sells a Pax 22″ and 26″ rip saw with 4.5 TPI. I’ve never used one, but Lee Valley enjoys a good reputation, so it’s probably a good saw, I think they’re really close to your budget, and it’s brand-new.
Also, since you’re not resawing wider stock, if you’re willing to consider a Japanese saw, you can get a rip-tooth kataba from Lee Valley for 40-50 bucks, or a Suizan 10.5″ kataba from Amazon for 35 bucks. I’ve used a Gyokucho from Amazon for several years as a travel saw — if it gets stolen I won’t cry — and it comes super sharp, and does really good work. In a coupla years, you buy a replacement blade for about 20 bucks, and you’re as good as new.
Otherwise, ebay is still an option, I’m sure with patience and care you can find a good saw.
Silly question, but have you had a look through a copy of Canadian Woodworking and Home Improvement? They always seem to have a lot of ads, maybe some of them would be good contacts to call and ask about the second hand market? (Call a machinery guy and ask if he knows any hand tool guys, that way you aren’t asking him for his competitors 🙂 ). CWHI also have a forum that may help you.
A photo of four rip-cut saws. Rear to front: Bad Axe Tool Works D8 replica (5 tpi [I think]); Thomas Flynn Garlick’s Pax (4.5 tpi); Lie-Nielsen panel saw (7 tpi); and an ECE bow/frame saw (6 tpi? and a more relaxed angle).
They’re all fine for ripping, but not so much when it comes to re-sawing – at least not for the tension prone wood I often come across. My solution has been the local timber yard and their big panel saw. As foresting is substantial in Quebec, perhaps there’s a company that will help you?
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