Infill Planes


Shop Fun with Scott Grandstaff


What constitutes a set of handsaws for furniture-making?


Well, first off, you know how I hate the word "set". It usually indicates matchy items by a single maker and assumes no more will be added.  Just go right ahead and nail down the coffin lid, is the feeling I get from... set.  You're never finished. Upgrades are always coming.

Anyhow...  OK, barest minimum...

Disston D23 rip, standard length, blocky beech handle, 6 point.

Disston #7, 20", 10 point panel (got lucky with an older more comfortable tote and a nibed blade here.  Still have it, still love it). 

Disston #4, 12", 14pt crosscut backsaw (also lucky, with the older tote which I was quick to reshape even more and add embarrassingly crude wheat carving to. Still have this one too.)

These are what I started with, began learning to sharpen on, and completed a number of projects with just these, sometime before 1975. 

I'm pretty sure I had an 8 point crosscut of some kind or other too, but didn't use it much at all in my first cabinet work.  I think I was rough cutting the bigger stock with a chain saw to get it into my little shed/shop at the time. Naturally these were all straight curve less boxy projects.

None of these saws have a particle of the elegance of a #12 or other top line models.  The sensual satisfaction of a good open tote dovetail saw is missing too but decent beginner work can be done.

As soon as I had the chance I got a crappy coping saw and hated it.  Got a better coping saw and then started on bow saws.  Even then I was dreaming of curves.

I was lucky to find a nibed panel saw first.  It looked better to me at the time knowing nothing else.  But it set a precedence and it was always nibed saws when I could get them from then on.  You don't care what the nib was really for, but saws made with them were made for serious competent work and it doesn't take long at all to figure this out in use.  The high grade shipbuilder's saws were too, and others as well, but aren't as easy to spot at 20 paces. See a nib, go after it, was my MO for some time.

Nibs are roughly the equivalent of Stanley's Sweetheart mark. Maybe not necessarily the best of all time, but certainly solid working tools. And when you're young, dumb and full of c--, at least it's a clue. 

Better saws won't necessarily make you a better cabinetmaker, but they'll -never- hurt.  For the complete "set", once you get them loaded, on a clear day at high tide, you'll want to call in 4 or 5 tugboats to get them clear of the harbor and safely started on the way home.

yours, Scott
, 2006,
in Happy Camp, CA
email:  Scott Grandstaff


Saw Vises


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