Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Some handsaw wisdom, tension and excercise.

No pics, just the good stuff.

Handsaw tensioning has been on my mind.....I guess that I should get a life, yes?

Anyways....somehow I had missed this earlier. When the information pertaining to handsaw tensioning can be counted on one hand, you would think that I would've found this treasure before now....

Here is one nugget.....

To make the tensioning efficient, the expansion of the steel has to be "enclosed". So on a saw blade, the roll-tensioning tracks must stop a few inches before the ends.

We are specifically talking of factory manufactured handsaws, but the philosophy remains. There is more that I am still digesting. Good stuff.

Even better, a few weeks ago I found some older writings by Mark Grable, referenced repeatedly over the years, but not something that I had previously found.

There is true treasure here not just for the beginning sawyer, but also for the more advanced. The first time that I read this, I thought...."Awesome! Some good pointers here, definitely.". Today I read it and think....

Today I read it and think.

Does that make sense?

For starters......this is from Mark (The parentheses are mine).

There are some rules that are indispensable.

  • Before disposing of a scrap of wood, mark a line on it and practice cutting to the line.
  • Examine the resulting pieces to see what happened, like examining the shavings from a plane.(So huge, I can't emphasize enough!)
  • Support the wood so that it doesn't,move or vibrate.
  • Use sharp saws.
  • Composure. Speed comes later, after a full measure of control is in hand. Cut only as fast as you can stay on plane and on line. You can't rush this acquiring of skill - except by increasing the frequency of practice (Ditto....huge!).
  • Lift the weight of the saw off the teeth on the return stroke, just as you would when using a plane or file, to keep it sharp longer.

Some of these thoughts go together, but the main ideas are that you need to look at the resultant cut, then analyse the results, and also to SLOW DOWN!

I have recently cut my sawing speed to about 1/10th of what it was, but my overall speed has increased, as has my accuracy. No s**t.

Ultimately your speed is measured by how long it takes you to cut the line. If you cut wide, then pare to the line, that takes time. Likewise if you cut right at the line, but you push the cut and it bows or goes are using the chisels to finish the cut. That wastes time. Cut correctly the first time.....slow = fast.

More than just the avoidance of screwing up the cut, cutting with intent is just plain faster. If I envision 100 tiny knives scribing the line...faster. Cut on the pull, but lift oh so slightly on the return...faster (and you will have extra appreciation for this, come re-sharpening time). Breath out on the pull, breath in on the is a meditation on force. This has benefits beyond just sawing.

This is just a start. I read this today, but next week/month/year I will read something different.

One more before bed....

Cutting a line in half means controlling 70-140 knife points, on the edge of a thin flexible saw, so that the line is reduced in thickness by half while not removing any excess wood. Thus, the start of the cut is crucial. There is the guide block, or there is the thumb; then there is the short shallow groove; then there is a kerf as deep as the teeth are tall; then there is from left to right: half the line, the left shoulder of the kerf, a gap, the left side of the blade, the right side of the blade, a gap, and the right shoulder of the kerf. The saw returns, then rests against one shoulder of the kerf as it cuts and returns, then rests against the other shoulder of the kerf and returns. This cycle is repeated until the saw is 3/4" into the cut. It keeps the kerf from twisting. Finish the cut with gaps on either side of the blade equal - the that is, with the blade centered in the kerf, 90* to the work.

Holy s**t.....subtle and oh so true.

What will we know next year?

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Like all of us, I am figuring this out as I go, so when you see something that is incorrect or flat out wrong (and you will!), let me know. This is a learning process. Real people and names, please. Constructive comments and questions are very welcome, but hate speak/politics are not! Life (get one!) is too short.

Thanks, Jason