Next backsaw debate

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  • #549188
    Jonathan RahallJonathan Rahall

    OK, I could use some helping debating what to get next. I have a veritas dovetail saw 14 this. But, I need something larger and the veritas carcass saw is the right size I’m looking for. I like the idea of filing all teeth in rip for smaller teeth. I haven’t had a problem cross cutting with the dovetail saw, but as their rip teeth only come in 12 tpi I am unsure if with the 10 degree rake if I’ll still be able to cross cut. First question is, can I with the 12 tpi rip? Because, I’ve also considered getting the 14 tpi cross cut and filing the teeth to rip. Or I could put a little flea on the 12 tpi and make a hybrid tooth, but I don’t have that much experience, though I am adventurous. I’ve also considered just Buying a kit and making what I want, but I don’t think I’m quite ready. Anyone have any thought?

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  • #549191


    Hi Jonathan
    Have you watched Paul’s saw sharpening videos. They will be helpful in settling the rip/cross cut debate. Essentially, the task that you intend to use the saw for is likely to make the decision for you.
    I dont know what the more experienced guys would say, but I would expect any saw with a 12 or 14 TPI to be used for joinery cuts, and to be sharpened to rip. Its likely that a saw with teeth this small would be a back saw of sorts.
    I would expect a crosscut saw to be a panel saw, with teeth from 10 to about 7tpi, thereafter larger toothsizes would be rip for length cuts. Unless the saw is captive in a mitre box, the back of the backsaw might be a pain and prevent deeper cuts across a board.
    Veritas make premium saws that should be pretty good out the box.
    I dont know how specialised your needs are, but I would buy a cheaper long crosscut panel saw and a rip backsaw. With your little dovetail saw, these should do just about everything you want. I hope that this helps.




    My day to day joinery saw is 12 tpi filed rip. With a knife line, it’s fine for me for cross cuts. If you have fine work that, for some reason, isn’t suitable with 12 tpi, then you could use your current dovetail saw. For me, I find the critical thing is how aggressive the tooth rake is and how much set is present. In well dried wood, I like the minimum set to pass the plate (and sometimes give a wipe of oil), and like an aggressive tooth rake, especially for cross cutting. The two need to work together so that I get a straight kerf without any jaggedness. When those things are true, I can cut just about anything with my 12 tpi saw.

    I’m guessing you want the bigger saw for deeper rips of tenons or want the longer blade for wider shoulders? What’s the goal?

    I’ve never tried a hybrid saw that was a little bit rip and a little bit cross cut. My guess is that it would never satisfy me.



    I better add- I might just be weird because I’ve not heard of others reporting the same experience. My favorite saw of all time was a 14 tpi saw filed rip. Something about the plate and the sharpening produced an extraordinarily fast, accurate saw that gripped and set its line on the first pass, no skating or wallowing. It was a saw sharpened by Paul. There were a dozen others just about the same size and same tpi, all filed by Paul, but something about that saw was special.

    Jonathan RahallJonathan Rahall


    I have watched Paul’s sharpening videos. And I do have several panel saws for cutting to size. My goal is just a larger back saw than my dovetail saw to use to cut waste off of say the backs of spoon bowls or smaller stock with a bench hook. Or, straight in the vice like I see Paul do.
    I could have simplified my question I guess and just asked “can I crosscut with the veritas 12 tpi rip carcass saw.” I know I had read that Paul files all teeth over 10 tpi to rip. But, I had also read one of his blogs about larger rip teeth needing a more relaxed rake to crossCut so I wanted to double check on cross cutting with a 10 degree rake on a 12 tpi saw. I’m only a few months into learning and am just starting to study saws.

    Derek LongDerek Long


    In my experience, any saw with 10 points or more filed rip can be used perfectly fine for both rip and cross-cut. Certainly something with 14 points I can’t really see the difference in the cut. I’d just buy the 12 point rip if that is what you want.

    Derek Long
    Denver, Colorado

    Doug FinchDoug Finch


    @jrahall Slightly OT, but have you looked at vintage back saws? I picked up an English, brass backed tenon saw with a 6″ depth, 16″ length (I believe) for about $18.00. I was amazed at the condition. It is 10PPI. I also have a Veritas tenon saw that I paid $75.00 (I believe). This old saw gives me so much better control because the brass back adds weight to allow the saw to do all the work. It is easier to start because I cut the teeth as per Paul’s videos. The first inch or two is not aggressive, but after that it really cuts.

    Before I got this saw, I was actually looking to pick up a carcass saw – and was likely going to be Veritas. I stumbled across this saw on eBay – some antique dealers site. He wasn’t a tool dealer – so maybe that’s why it was so cheap. I’ve been told it is from the 1800’s – which makes it that much cooler to me. I’ve got several saws that are supposedly from the 1800’s and I just love using them.

    Jonathan RahallJonathan Rahall


    Hey Doug,
    Yes, I have been looking on ebay for a couple months, but I havent found a saw in the size I’m looking for with a brass back, or in my price range. I did decide to order the veritas carcass saw, but when I want a 14 inch or so I will definitely be wanting a brass back vintage.

    David PerrottDavid Perrott


    I had the veritas cross and rip carcass saws. I only used the rip. I rarely used the crosscut. Sometimes I just used it to use it. The rip will work fine for everything. I loved the tote on those saws. They felt great. I did end up selling them since I never used the cross cut, had too many backsaws, and honestly wanted some brass backed saws. They worked great and felt great though. Now I only have a dovetail saw and a rip filled sash saw.

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