- 4 April 2017 at 9:27 pm #310878sanfordParticipant
HI all. I am now officially confused about tenon saws. I was considering buying a used one and was looking for one filed rip since that is what I have read about. I was in contact with a well-known online seller who, in response to a question about a particular saw, said that originally, tenon saws were generally filed cross cut for shoulders and were fine toothed to help ripping. (The saw I was looking at is filled crosscut with 12pt.) He said rip filing for tenon saws is modern. I know that a lot of tenon saws today are filed for rip and that some saw makers, like veritas, sell both rip and cross cut tenon saws. Hm . . . this stopped in my saw buying tracks since I can’t buy one of everything. I guess I will back off from the saw I was looking looking at till I have a better idea of what is going on here. I would guess others are confused too. Any advice would be much appreciated. Sanford4 April 2017 at 10:05 pm #310884David PerrottParticipant
There is some confusion in the names. I prefer the name “back saw” as opposed to the operation like “tenon” or “dovetail” saw. It has a back on it, then leave it at that. There is much debate if you need both a crosscut and a rip filled saw. Some people use the appropriate filling for the specific job at hand. I’m pretty positive Paul’s back saws are generally all filled rip. Check out his blog about sharpening. Once you get to 10tpi and 12tpi, a rip saw will work for crosscutting and ripping. (I have never ripped with a crosscut though) As a bonus it’s also easier to sharpen. I have some crosscut saws and I don’t see a whole lot of difference between the two. I started out with the Veritas crosscut and rip carcasse saw. I didn’t see a whole lot of difference. Any roughness from using a rip saw to cross cut is the least of my woodworking worries! The cross cut may be a little cleaner but it cuts slower. Maybe I’m just lazy. I just use a rip saw for about everything. Honestly the times I use a crosscut is because I have too many saws and just want to use it. If I had one back saw I would choose a rip filled with 10 or 12 tpi.4 April 2017 at 10:42 pm #310886sanfordParticipant
Thanks for the response David. I did notice that Paul seems to prefer rip filled saws and he solves the problem of a ragged edge when cross cutting with a knife wall. I have used my dovetail saw for shoulders etc combined with the knife wall as Pual teaches and been happy with the results — not bad for a newbie at least. When I decided I wanted a larger back saw for larger tenons, I assumed they would mostly be rip filled. Ebay has some rip filled, some cross cut filled, and some are indeterminate. The seller does not say and the pictures are not good enough to tell. I guess I was concerned when told that classic tenon saws were filed crosscut. It conflicted with what I thought I had learned from Paul’s posts. Maybe this is a reason to keep it simple (though a bit pricey) and go for a modern rip filled larger saw, say a Veritas. Sanford5 April 2017 at 12:14 am #310895Steve BrookesParticipant
Yeah, can be confusing; when I started getting into hand saws I found information really conflicting so I went back in time (so to speak) and researched hand saws from a time before electricity – there was no choice – everything you wanted to do had to be done with a hand saw.
The four basic types of back saws are the carcase, sash, tenon and dovetail plus you can throw in a mitre saw as well although they were not that common and not widely used. The other four were all common and had specific purposes. There is a good article on back saws in Popular Woodworking from many years ago that is a good read:
I have ended up with a few now and I use all of them:a little dovetail saw which is rip; small carcase saw which is crosscut, two deep sash saws (one rip and one crosscut), larger sash saw that is rip and a big tenon saw that is crosscut. They are all Disston or Spear and Jackson; I bought them all cheap and did them up and I just love using them all. I used Paul’s idea of hanging the most used ones next to the vice so they are ready at hand and any excuse to grab one and cut something 🙂
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