I had the opportunity to meet Ed Paik (pictured far right in the photo), owner of Medallion Toolworks, at the WIA conference earlier this month. Ed makes premium western style handsaws that are custom fit to the individual's needs. I picked up one of his saws, and for the first time found a saw that fit perfectly in my hand. Most saw handles feel too thin to me, but Ed's saw had a thicker handle that felt more comfortable than any saw I have ever held.
I asked Ed what makes his saws stand out from the competition--what things make his saws special. Here is his response.
"My personal thought is I really don't consider other sawmakers as competitors. I see all of us as complimentary to each other and representative of the skill and experience level of the woodworker that makes a saw purchase. Personally, I would try to steer a novice or someone just entering the woodworking community away from a premium custom saw. I would recommend that they try as many of the production saws out there because it is very possible they do not yet know what features they require and like in a saw. After investing in a custom saw is not the time to find out what your needs and preferences are.
A Lee Valley dovetail saw is a great example of a production made saw that performs very well and offers great value. If you find out after extended use it is not what you require then one would be in a better position to go to a custom maker with those thoughts and specifications without having invested a lot of money.
I like to think my saws are made for those that are familiar with other saws, have a certain level of skill and experience with woodworking and know what they would like a saw to do in their shop. Through discussion and working together, I try my best to realize those ideas in a custom saw that performs well in their shop. Every saw I ship is made specifically for that woodworker with as much hand work as possible. Technical specifics like the totes, the pitch, rake and fleam, canted sawplate are all features that are variable for that individual's needs. Aesthetic features like the style of tote and the wood choices to make it with also vary according to their preferences. I also unconditionally guarantee the work and will do everything I can to make sure they are happy with the order."
—Ed Paik, Medallion Toolworks