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
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.
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
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
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
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