Starrett Tools



Love Your Saws with Matthew Cianci

  What saws do I need? 2 of 2  

Dovetail Saw

It’s tough to build really fine furniture without this little guy… and its useful for much more than just dovetailing.

I recommend a fine saw plate….no thicker than 0.020 inch.  A 15 points with no fleam is my preference for the teeth, and rake can be zero (for the brave and experienced) up to 10 degrees.  The tote should fit your hand like a glove.

Here’s my Groves DT saw… this thing was a total basket case when I found it… I love the lost causes.  Groves is probably my favorite English backsaw maker… I think they perfected the form.

Crosscut Handsaw

Once you’ve got backsaws under your belt, full size handsaws shouldn’t be too far behind.  I think a well filed crosscut saw is a must for any workshop, and I honestly think you only need one for furniture making.

The 26 inches is a perfect size, and 9 points per inch is my preference, but 8 to 10 points is the ideal range for a saw that can handle all of your crosscutting tasks.

There are so many good cc saws out there in the wild… throw a rock in the woods and your bound to it at least 2 or 3.  My main crosscut saw – this Disston #7 with 9 points c. 1880 – will be in my will.  I think it is the most perfect tool ever made.  Find one of your own and fall in love.

Rip Saw

This is the last saw to add to your kit.

Ripping a board by hand is what separates the men from the boys.  It is real work and not for the “blended” woodworker.

For most boards, I love my 4.5 point Disston #7.  For all but the hardest woods, it is a monster saw.  For oak, ash, hard maple, etc., my Disston #99 in 6 points is an easier tool to use.  (Go ahead… you can call me a sissy if it makes you feel better ).  A 5 or 5.5 point saw is a good all around spacing and will work well in soft and hard woods. 

I like 26 inch rip saws… but you may need a 28 inch saw if you’re over 6 feet tall.

So there you have it...

You may have noticed that I didn’t include panel saws or carcase saws.  While little panel saws are nice to have, I don’t think they are a necessary part of a woodworker’s toolkit.  Especially rip panel saws… there is a reason you never find any in the wild… they were relatively useless (unless you are 4 feet tall).

And while a sash filed carcase saw could be substituted for the proper 14 inch sash saw, I don’t think they are absolutely necessary either.  Of course, the manner of your work dictates necessity, and I’m referring to cabinet making in general.

There are other saws you may need once you’ve permanently tattooed yourself a purist… like a bow saw and keyhole saw.  But those are more specialized and not entirely necessary.

October, 2012

Visit my blog: The Saw Blog

2 of 2  

Miter Boxes

Sharpening Stones


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