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The One-stop Place for Saw Maintenance

When I was learning to sharpen and set saws in the 1990s, I was desperate for information. All I had was one modern book, a somewhat helpful video and the attempts I had made on my bargain basement saws. It was a slog. While today there is a lot more information available on saws and saw sharpening, much of it is conflicting and more complex than necessary. Sharpening a saw […]

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& Odd Shapes">A Trick to Sawing Compound Angles & Odd Shapes

Shallow kerfs laid in on all the facets.

The trickiest cut when building a chair or stool is leveling the feet. This cut is always a wacky compound angle. And when you combine a compound angle with a foot that is an odd shape, such as the octagon shown here, it can be difficult to keep your saw in the right plane. Here’s how I do it – it’s a method that has yet to fail me. Lay […]

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The Almost-flush-cutting Saw

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Flush-cutting saws are great, except when you have heavy work to do, or the saws dive into the work below the teeth, or they bend because you got too aggressive. I usually use these specialty saws for light-duty work – trimming small dowels – or when I can’t otherwise do the work – trimming overhanging moulding that has been dovetailed at the corners is one common example in my work. […]

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Avoid Splintering with a Handsaw

craftsman_sawing-tip

There are two woodworking tools that we have forgotten the most about in the last 50 years: the steel framing square and the handsaw. The steel framing square is essentially a jobsite calculator, and you can get up to speed on what it can do with one of several books. But handsaws are trickier to master. No one has written the be-all end-all book about using this simple tool. So […]

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& Sliding Dovetails">A Tip for Handsawing Rabbets & Sliding Dovetails

Before: This is how I was cutting sliding dovetails and rabbets by hand.

I’ve been cutting a lot of large-scale sliding dovetails and rabbets lately. And when these housed joints get to a certain size (think of a dovetail socket that is 4” wide and 30” long) it’s much more efficient to saw out the walls by hand. When I need the rabbets or sliding dovetails to be bang-on, I clamp a batten to my work to guide the saw. I use a […]

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The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 3

If you read this blog regularly, you should be sick of this suggestion: Buy Pégas coping saw blades. Hoard them. I do – and I’m not generally a hoarder. I have about 150 stashed away in case Pegas doubles the price or stops making them this well. I don’t have evidence that either event will happen, but I use a coping saw every day that I’m in the shop. So […]

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2 Ways to Warm up For Dovetails (Without Cutting One)

My dovetails are always at their best if I warm up before sawing. But I’ll be honest – when I am pressed for time I have no patience to cut an entire joint, much less prep the wood for a practice set. So here are two things I do to get my sawing on track that don’t require extra material or significant time. Crosscut Your Rough Stock by Hand Even […]

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Pégas Coping Saw Blades – the Best

While teaching in England this summer I had a sudden and miraculous encounter with Pégas coping saw blades – and I am a convert. I rarely say this sort of thing, but here we go: Buy them. Buy as many as you can afford. Encourage the company to make more blades like this. If you want to skip the backstory and just order the darn blades, go to Tools for […]

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Coping Saw Blades from Pegas

I pretty much eat coping saw blades for breakfast. Just about every piece of casework I do involves dovetails (sometimes more than 100 in a single piece such as a tool chest), so a coping saw is almost always on the bench to remove waste. For years I have used the Olson coping saw blades and been quite happy with them, especially compared to the home-center dreck. My only complaint […]

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Shannon Rogers’ Big French Saw. Dang.

Shannon Rogers of the Hand Tool School brought along his 48”-long Roubo frame saw to the Saturday meeting of the Chesapeake chapter of the Society of American Furniture Makers, explained its details and (most importantly) let us try it out during lunch. It was so effortless to use (as long as you used your legs to propel it) that I wanted to resaw the entire board. Shannon has put a […]

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