Gents Saw- Need Some Coaching Please
#11
  
Hello Folks- be gentle, I’m green.. I am a hobbyist finding myself constantly needing a 8”-10”, sharp, rigid saw. Frankly I’m a bit overwhelmed by the options and nuances I’m seeing online: tennon, gents, backsaw. I like the looks of brass spines and broom type handle. I have 2 young sons, and we are constantly working on projects together. I appreciate fine quality tools and put a premium on heirlooming my tools to my boys. In short, requirements include : $70 budget, American or Euro, used is fine and maybe preferred as we like doing restoration as a family. I understand this request is a bit vague but I need some coaching, thank you
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#12
  Re: Gents Saw- Need Some Coaching Please by Augustus Single Action (Hello Folks- be gent...)
(02-24-2018, 04:00 PM)Augustus Single Action Wrote: Hello Folks- be gentle, I’m  green.. I am a hobbyist finding myself constantly needing a 8”-10”, sharp, rigid saw.  Frankly I’m a bit overwhelmed by the options and nuances I’m seeing online: tennon, gents, backsaw.   I like the looks of brass spines and broom type handle.  I have 2 young sons, and we are constantly working on projects together.  I appreciate fine quality tools and put a premium on heirlooming my tools to my boys.  In short, requirements include : $70 budget, American or Euro, used is fine and maybe preferred as we like doing restoration as a family.  I understand this request is a bit vague but I need some coaching, thank you

In that price range, the veritas dovetail saw is the best bet in a traditional style back saw.
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#13
  Re: Gents Saw- Need Some Coaching Please by Augustus Single Action (Hello Folks- be gent...)
Hi, Augustus!  And welcome to the Forum!  Cool Cool Cool

So it sounds like you're looking for a backsaw.  Like you said, there are LOTS of options.  It sounds like you want what most of us would call a "carcass" (or "carcase") saw.  It's a medium-sized backsaw (often about 12" long) optimized for cutting across the grain.  On your budget, it seems like the Veritas crosscut carcass saw would fit the bill. 

But let me see if I can help you disentangle all the kinds of backsaws available:

When it comes down to function, there are essentially only TWO types of saws: saws that cut smoothly across the grain (called "crosscut" saws) and ones that cut smoothly along or with the grain (called "rip" saws).  The difference is in how the saw teeth are shaped--any size saw can be sharpened for either rip or crosscut.  However, many of us find that backsaws, which have relatively small teeth, can often be used for general cuts across or with the grain--though any given saw will cut more easily in one direction than the other.  In my experience, a crosscut saw can be used for cutting with the grain, though the saw will cut slowly.  But using a rip saw for crosscuts is more difficult and leaves a more ragged surface.  So if I had only one, I would choose a saw configured for crosscutting.

So with the rip/crosscut distinction in mind, here are some of the usual kinds of backsaws you will run across:

- The Dovetail Saw.  Sharpened for ripping, the dovetail saw is optimized for making fine cuts in end-grain, such as when cutting dovetails.  A dovetail saw is often 8"-10" long.  Because of the fine teeth, however, a dovetail saw can also be used for small crosscuts as well--for example, cutting small dowels to length.  Dovetail saws typically have a fairly thin blade so as to leave a narrow kerf.  Thus, they are not suitable for crosscutting stock more than about 3/4" thick. Dovetail saws are available with either a "broomstick" handle or a "pistol" grip.  The broomstick handles are cheaper but a little more difficult to learn to use.

- The "Gent's" Saw.  A small, general-purpose backsaw.  Like the dovetail saw, but often sharpened for crosscutting.  It usually has a pistol-grip and can be anywhere from 6" to 10" long.  It can be used for dovetailing, small crosscuts, etc.  It's not an essential part of most woodworkers' toolkits.  It's often an ideal part of a small, specialized toolkit, like for model making.

- The Carcass (or Carcase) Saw.  A medium-sized crosscut backsaw, often 12"-14" long.  This is a workshop workhorse, ideal for all manner of small crosscutting jobs--from cutting tenon shoulders to small miters to pretty much any small sawing jobs you can think of.   If I had only one backsaw, it would be this one. 

- The Tenon Saw.  A medium-to-large ripping backsaw, anywhere from 12"-16" long.  As the name implies, this saw is designed especially for sawing the cheeks of tenons, so it's designed to cut with the grain.  While it can sometimes do double-duty as a carcass saw, it excels at ripping cuts.  Unless you cut a lot of tenons by hand, you really don't need a tenon saw.  But if you do, then it's practically essential. 


So those are your four main categories of backsaw.  Names and specifications will vary a little from manufacturer to manufacturer.  You'll also see the size of the teeth listed on a lot of saws, but don't worry much about that right now.  Any good saw manufacturer is going to match the size of the teeth to the kind of work that the saw is best for. 

When in doubt, ignore the name and look at the product description.  How long is the saw?  Is it optimized for crosscutting or ripping?  That will tell you all you really need to know.
Steve S.
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Tradition cannot be inherited, and if you want it you must obtain it by great labour.
- T. S. Eliot

Tutorials and Build-Alongs at The Literary Workshop
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#14
  Re: Gents Saw- Need Some Coaching Please by Augustus Single Action (Hello Folks- be gent...)
Thank you for the help. My knowledge has increased 10 fold due to the responses.
Biblio- if I were to go used carcass, would you be kind of enough to provide a vintage manufacturer? I am partial to older tools. If the budget needs to be enhanced, so be it.
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#15
  Re: Gents Saw- Need Some Coaching Please by Augustus Single Action (Hello Folks- be gent...)
You mention being attracted to the "broom type" handle, by which I take it you mean this:



Everyone's mileage varies, but, for your first small backsaw, you might consider a pistol grip:



which will give you a bit more sense of the saw's orientation relative to the cut.  For most folks, it's also more comfortable; but, again, everyone's different.  If you live somewhere that you can go hold some possible saws in your hand, or if a woodworking show gets scheduled in your area, it would be good to try out choices, even if you know you won't be buying.

Incidentally, since you mention being a new kid on this subject, some comments, one saw-related:

(a) when gripping a pistol grip handsaw, the index finger runs along the top of the handle; it does not wrap around it. Even with a broom or file handle saw, it's usually best to extend the index finger along the top of the saw, although this is often a touch uncomfortable.  Imagine your index finger pointing in the direction of the cut.  That gives you yet more sense of the saw's orientation.
(b) more generally, if you have not yet visited your friendly local library to check out every book you find on the subject of woodworking, with an emphasis on hand tools, you're missing a major resource for your education.  Some folks learn better visually; if so, see what your library system has to offer in the way of DVDs, and, if they're limited, ask the librarians how good the interlibrary loan program* is in your system.  You may wind up buying some books and/or DVDs, but you mention two young sons - children are one of the more expensive hobbies, and you're probably at a life stage where money isn't lying around, waiting to be spent.  So use the library to refine your understanding of what you need to have around for constant study.
© before you know it, you're going to need to find space for a working space for your sons.  If it can be separate from your work space, that will be good; I used to have to step out of the tiny shop when they were working on stuff.  And, as they work on things on a weekend when you thought you were going to be finishing that bookcase, remember that, when they're in the shop learning, and you're guiding, they're the project and not what you thought you were going to do.  That sounds as obvious as can be, but I sure could have used that reminder at times.
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*It has been my theory for some years that, if librarians were in charge of the world, there would be fewer wars.  Libraries across the country will send you books and DVDs through your library system and (often) not charge a penny, because they believe everyone should have access to knowledge.  The generosity and trust is phenomenal.
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#16
  Re: Gents Saw- Need Some Coaching Please by Augustus Single Action (Hello Folks- be gent...)
Bill- love the words, clearly from a father. You’re correct, these boys specialize in turning a 10 minute job into 4hrs. However, I recall me doing that to my dad...
Both of those types are what I'm after, thank you. Love the example of the pistol grip. Who is the manufacturer?
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#17
  Re: Gents Saw- Need Some Coaching Please by Augustus Single Action (Hello Folks- be gent...)
You've been given some good advice here. I'll second the recommendation of Veritas saws, best value out there, hands down. Here's the link:
http://www.leevalley.com/us/Wood/page.as...at=1,42884
Elvem ipsum etiam vivere
No Evaporust was used on these tools.
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#18
  Re: Gents Saw- Need Some Coaching Please by Augustus Single Action (Hello Folks- be gent...)
Okay- just took a peek at the Veritas. No doubt a fine tool, but wanting something more traditional looking with brass. Think I’ll keep my eyes peeled in the classified section here. Thank you for the great advice.
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#19
  Re: RE: Gents Saw- Need Some Coaching Please by Augustus Single Action (Bill- love the words...)
(02-24-2018, 07:05 PM)Augustus Single Action Wrote: Bill- love the words, clearly from a father.  You’re correct, these boys specialize in turning a 10 minute job into 4hrs.  However, I recall me doing that to my dad...
Both of those types are what I'm after, thank you.  Love the example of the pistol grip.  Who is the manufacturer?
About the boys: true.  My point, though, is that, when the kids get involved, it often stops being what you thought you were working on and becomes the act of raising kids - teaching, guiding, setting limits, all those things.  Both my sons learned that they can do things, not a lesson all kids get these days.  That's not limited to the shop, either; they both cook and sew, for instance. So don't begrudge those four-hour jobs, as hard as it can be to remember that when you really, really, really want to get that ten-minute job done that will make things a bit better around the house.

There are exceptions, of course: if there's a hole in the roof in the middle of the worst rainstorm of the year, parental teaching may have to go to the curb until the water's staying outside, where it should, instead of all over the living room floor.

As to the pistol grip saw, I'd just pulled an image off The Google, and had to go back and look.  Seems it's a Crown saw.  Crown does not have the reputation of being among the very best of the British saws; if you look at one, consider the Pax line, which Crown believes is their better line.  You'll likely be better off with a Crown than with what you might find in a big boxy store.  But I have no direct knowledge; my saws have been yard sale finds (I do remember buying one gent's saw new, years back, but don't recall the maker).
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#20
  Re: Gents Saw- Need Some Coaching Please by Augustus Single Action (Hello Folks- be gent...)
You will find Japanese saws under $70. However, many or most are filed crosscut which makes them slower than molasses on rip cuts. They are all induction hardened which means they are NOT heirloom tools (when dull, you chuck the blade, or make scrapers from it.) I have a Crown gent's saw which I would happily give to you but I do not want to make a lifetime enemy and ruin three budding woodworkers.

For a Western saw, you cannot beat the Veritas on either price or quality. Maybe some Japanese saw aficionados will chime in with good value models and brands. Also check Veritas.
Thanks,  Curt
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"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards."
      -- Soren Kierkegaard
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