Saw Handle Finish
  Re: Saw Handle Finish by UpstateNYdude (I was hoping someone...)
Guess I should let sleeping "dogs" be.... Winkgrin 

Seems they've had a busy day. Rolleyes
Show me a picture, I'll build a project from that
  Re: RE: Saw Handle Finish by Pedder ([quote='Derek Cohen'...)
(09-19-2020, 10:27 AM)Pedder Wrote: Derek,

this could go for pages but my english is rusty and I am a slow writer on the keyboard.

I'm not a designer and I never learned a lot about the theory of handle making.
I loved the look of old saws and wanted to create my own.
I startet with old english tenon saw wich I rehandled.
Then I met Klaus and the things got faster. But not like we sat down and learned a lot of design. We did "design".

Our actual designs are the result of long fights between Klaus and me.
Klaus wanted a higher hang and a faster looking saw (ferrari) and I wanted a sturdy one the Range Rover.
I think we endet up with a set of really good looking and good working designs, at least that is the feedback from our customers.

So I don't have a concept in saw design and my last design is a few years old.

just a few loose thoughts:

Inside corner make a saw expensive, because it takes longer to sand it well

The wight of the spine and the rake influence the handle design a lot ond vice versa.
More wight, higher hang angle and less rake are more aggressive.
In the beginning we made saws that aggressive, that you could not start them in soft pine.

The shape of the hand part is best close to an olive. From side view and in diameter.
But that is difficult to draw in a handle with horns.  
My profile picture has a bubble in the middle, that you critized a few years ago on ukw.
As you can see above i reduced it a bit.


Pedder, many thanks for your thoughts. Weight of spine, rake, and hang angle are universal factors, I imagine. It is interesting how these are used by different saw makers. Hopefully others here will comment on their take on these.

The quality of the workmanship by Klaus and yourself is sublime. Absolutely top notch. I trust my critique about design on the UK forum a few years ago was constructive, which it was intended to be about that specific area. 

Regards from Perth

Articles on furniture building, shop made tools and tool reviews at
  Re: RE: Saw Handle Finish by Derek Cohen ([quote='Pedder' pid=...)
(09-20-2020, 07:05 AM)Derek Cohen Wrote: The quality of the workmanship by Klaus and yourself is sublime. Absolutely top notch. I trust my critique about design on the UK forum a few years ago was constructive, which it was intended to be about that specific area. 

Hi Derek,

Thanks for the kudos. Did you ever saw with one of ours? There aren't that many in the world. And anly one or two in Australia.

Two factors of saw handle design I forgot:

1. Working positon

Bench height and working technique. Some user have quite unusal working techniques. Or they have very special needs. Adam for example cut half blind dovetails on the upright board in the front vise. That technque I've never seen before. If you do like that, you need a very high hang of the handle to make the hand postion comfortable. And the weight of the spine isn't the big factor, because of holding the blade a a 30-60° angle to mother earth.

Others might sit in on a chair and need a low hanged angle because of that. You sure can make the spine heavier for them, because they don't push the blade downwards.

2. the look

A big factor in saw design as in every design is the look. often enough people say design, if the mean the look.

You have to create something unique but the user's eye can't be too suprised.
The best design is: Why didn't I made that, it is so logical.

If you take the Gramercy design, there are these cuts at the pins,
wich are extremly easy to make and give the boring round pin a very refined look.
It makes an handle made with routers or CNC look like handmade

There might be some of this little things on our saws, too.
The oval spine flush to the cheeks is. The best Idea Klus hade ever.
Or the chamfer, that runs through the cheek to the front horn. The best mistake Klaus happend ever.
Both things that are not fare away from the traditional look, but are new at least in production saws.

Many saw maker skip that part of drawing a complete new handle and just make something
the eyes of the customers are used to look at.

And than they make it better and enriched the design with cool little details.
Like Shane Sklton did in the beginning. But learn a craft before like he did.
His saws are unbelievable to look at. The quality looks so estonishing.
Allways amazed by the sound whe hew fits a spine in the handle.
I can't imagine to reach that level, if I would make saws 12 hour a day.

  Re: Saw Handle Finish by UpstateNYdude (I was hoping someone...)
I cut all DTs and most joints like that.  Board supported almost elbow height above the bench.  I saw the corners out. Yes, higher hang angles (traditional handle designs) naturally work better for this technique, as does a Gent's saw.

I think starting with the saw flat on the end grain is a tougher technique to do well with: 
1) Its tougher to make a saw start in end grain, exactly as Pedder has said.  Too much hang angle produces down force which makes the saw stick in the end grain, especially in softer woods.  A heavy spine makes the saw more toe heavy adding to the problem. The solution is more rake, which makes the saw cut more slowly. Also, since the kerf with the blade flat against the end grain is shorter than the kerf with the saw handle angled down at, the saw must have finer teeth or it will be hard to start.

I think Klaus and Pedder experimented with thinner saw plates to counter some of that.  But thin saw plates have their own set of challenges. Klaus and Pedder, like other tools makers, are very clearly trying to meet their customers' expectations with specific design elements, some of which may be focused on a technique we shouldn't be using. (Just my opinion)

2) Guys who use this technique (and I feel like its just about everybody) often say "let the saw do the work".  They also talk about saw "tracking".  These are both dependent on sharpening as any little bit of uneven set can result in uncorrectable "saw tracking" problems. Can't say how many people I have helped navigate these waters. Saw makers often file from both sides of the saw plate to ensure a burr pushed to one side, doesn't cause tracking problems. Not everybody is good at that filing.

3) Its tougher to execute a precise cut when starting flat on end grain as corrections are difficult to make with the blade fully in the kerf.  The problem is made more sever by saws with very little set. I will say that the guys who teach this method (like Rob Cosman) are very good at it and do beautiful work. But the key to success is practice and muscle memory and not technique. I've heard guys talk about stance and even angling the stock for angled cuts to leverage muscle memory.  

All of this is predicated on control of the saw via its handle.  Having the saw always return to the same position in your hand is of vital importance if muscle memory is used for accuracy.

If I were making saws today, and I had customers who sawed this way, I think I'd go out of my way to make grippy handles. For the guys who start on end grain, I'd make a low hang angle, higher rake, finer teeth, light weight spine, "comfort handle" model. For guys like me who saw the corners out, fewer teeth, less rake, higher hang angle, heavier spine, could do a polished handle, tho I personally would probably take the finish off.

I think its a lot to ask saw makers to:
1) Know all this - all about how to saw, the many differing techniques, and how saw design effect each
2) Make saws optimized for the many techniques, materials etc
3) Work with customers who are sometimes less informed than the makers are about usage.

I understand some of you feel the question was asked and answered on page one. I apologize for testing your patience. I just think its helpful to know why. I clearly don't think handle finish is an esthetic only choice. I think we run the risk, as a community, of sawing the end off our hams because we don't know why Grandmother did it.
  Re: RE: Saw Handle Finish by adamcherubini (I cut all DTs and mo...)
(09-21-2020, 02:29 PM)adamcherubini Wrote: Yes, higher hang angles (traditional handle designs) naturally work better for this technique,

Hi Adam,

I've seen quite a lot of old saws and I can't say the higher hang angle is the more traditional. There are young saws and old saws with any hang angle.
Not that I care about tradition, but is there any proof?

  Re: RE: Saw Handle Finish by Pedder ([quote='adamcherubin...)
(09-24-2020, 02:28 PM)Pedder Wrote: Hi Adam,

I've seen quite a lot of old saws and I can't say the higher hang angle is the more traditional. There are young  saws and old saws with any hang angle.
Not that I care about tradition, but is there any proof?


No, there's no proof. Like you say, we can find evidence of anything.

Having spent over a decade researching this kind of stuff, I can only guess. And your guess is as good as mine. My guess is, the Kenyon/Seaton Chest Saws probably best represent typical saws from that period.

The reason why I think that is a longer story I won't bore you with.
  Re: Saw Handle Finish by UpstateNYdude (I was hoping someone...)
Interesting discussion. I took a couple of classes from Ron Herman at one of the WIA events. To me, he had more knowledge in his little finger about saws than the combined knowledge of the entire class. Ron's business is restoring historical homes using historical techniques. When he and his team would travel to a job site, they had probably 6 or 7 saw tills with them. I think he mentioned they would probably use 90% of those saws throughout the duration of a project. There were saws for darned near every task. Different TPIs, different rake angles and sets, different kerfs, different handles. Different lengths. Crosscut, rip, hybrid. Full length, panel, and back saws. In one class, he had 4 or 5 saws which all had different rakes. He'd have every class member use each saw. Depending on your size and the other anthropometrics, each person found a saw that cut easiest. He showed a Simmonds (or Atkins - I can't remember which) saw handle next to a Disston and the hang angle of the handles were discernably different. The Disston's hang angle made it less aggressive in a cut.

To a weekend hobbyist, these nuances may not be noticeable. To someone like Adam, who uses a saw daily, they certainly are. Given the right skills and knowledge, you can modify any of several attributes of a saw to make it more suitable for certain tasks and your personal ergonomics. Slight changes in rake can have the same effect as a slight change in handle hang angle. Fleam, tpi, set, and other parameters can be modified to work better in certain applications or even certain woods. When one understands how a saw performs with changes in all these parameters, it opens up a new world in your woodworking.
Still Learning,

Allan Hill

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