Char Miller-King

How to Choose a Handsaw

Char Miller-King
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Duration:   4  mins

Char doesn’t exclusively use hand tools, but she likes having them around for certain applications. In many cases she can grab a handsaw and make the cuts she needs in a lot less them than it would take to set up, plug in and use a power tool. So, what handsaws does Char like and use the most? These two saws make the cut.

Great for cutting plugs flush

Char’s first go-to saw is a Japanese Kugihiki Saw. With 15 tpi (teeth per inch) it provides a very fine cut. The blade is extremely flexible so, in tight quarters, you can easily keep the blade flush with the surface while you bend the blade to get the handle in a more manageable position. With its high tooth count and fine cut this saw is best used for crosscuts.

For general purpose work

Char likes a Ryoba saw for general use in her shop. It includes crosscut teeth (15 tpi) and rip teeth (9 tpi) on a single handle. So, one saw, two applications.

Cut on the pull stroke

Japanese pull saws vary from western saws in that they cut on the pull stroke instead of the push stroke. This allows the blade to have a thinner kerf, so it takes less oomph to move it through the cut.

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3 Responses to “How to Choose a Handsaw”

  1. John The Handyman

    Oh dear, this young lady has lots to learn! When cutting dowels she appears to be cutting on the push stroke more than the pull. Use much more of the blade length. When trimming dowels keep the direction of the saw in line with the grain otherwise you risk scratching the wood across the grain. On her rip cut she has trouble keeping to the line at the beginning. Use a finger or knuckle to run the side of the saw against when starting a cut. A more rigid saw might be better for a rip cut to prevent blade wander.

  2. Brian Nystrom

    Japanese pull saws are extremely sharp when new and cut very quickly. The saws in the video appear to be really dull.

  3. Gary Coyne

    Great video, and a quick comment: A friend of mine once told me about the time a saw maker told him: "you just bought the entire saw; why not use the entire saw?" (Making tiny back-and-forth saw cuts do not speed things up and are more likely to cause scratches, even with a no-kerf saw blade.) Thanks for the video

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