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
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.
in Happy Camp, CA