For the manner in which men live is so different from the way in which they ought to live, that he who leaves the common course for that which he ought to follow will find that it leads him to ruin rather than safety.

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Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Bit On Sawing

Making a new shelf for the work shop. I thought this would be a good opportunity to write about saw cuts. Let's make the assumption that your saws are in good working order. This is about layout...not saw set up. And here goes...

To make a cut with minimal tearout, use a square and marking knife to go all the way around the piece.

My old Craftsman 1" chisel is reserved just for this task. On the face where I will be cutting, I take a little material from the waste side of the cut to make a guide for my saw.

It'll look a bit like this.
It's sort of hard for me to get a perfect picture, I hope you get the idea. You should have (for lack of a better description) half of a "V" groove along the line.
Since this is relatively small stock in a soft wood, pine, I think that my Veritas 16tpi crosscut saw will handle the task perfectly.

I like to start at a low angle of attack. Line the saw up with the groove and with light pressure, get the cut going. Watch the reflection in the saw plate to keep yourself vertical.

You can see I got just a little out of square on this cut, but only by a very small amount. Notice there is little to no tearout around the cut. That is the result of using the marking knife all the way around the piece. I chose this picture, because it was the worst of the cuts I made. It will only take a couple of swipes on the shooting board to make it perfect.
This is fresh off the saw, no shooting board yet.

Obviously, this is not some new thing that I have come up with. Just sharing what I have learned from others.

Many folks find handsaws to be intimidating. I know when I first started, I would cut WAY off the line and finish with a plane. That's a lot of extra time, and a lot of wear on your plane irons.

Three elements for perfect saw cuts:
1) A well tuned saw. In other words, you want the error to be a result of technique, not the saw. If the saw won't cut straight, your technique will never make it better.

2) Layout. If your cut is laid out well, you'll be able to work more accurately. This applies to anything from woodwork to machining to fabricating.

3) Practice. Yeah...I need more of that too.

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