Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sash Saw and Saw Vise

Would you believe I'm still sifting through material I gleaned from the Woodworking in America conference in Valley Forge in October?

As I've said, the marketplace was one of the best attractions at the show because you could talk directly with tool makers and take their tools for a test drive. This is really the best way to find out if you and a tool can play nicely together. It's one thing to read a review, but it doesn't compare to actually trying the tool first hand.

Joel Moskowitz, from Tools for Working Wood, showed me his new sash saw (which should be available soon) and saw vise.

So, what makes these tools special? According to Joel, nobody else makes a saw vise these days. He said, "Lots of people tried the vise out during the show and, except for Adam Cherubini who didn't like that really shallow dovetail saws don't fit (they don't fit on Disston D3's either or most other saw vises—you just stick out the last inch and file away), we got pretty much raves from everyone."

I talked with a show-goer who said what he liked best about the vise was that it supported the blade along its entire length, even in the middle. There was no chatter when he filed the teeth.

Regarding the sash saw, Joel believes it will be the lightest one on the market, which he says will make it easier to sense square and saw for long periods of time. Also, the handle is very elegant—the lamb's tongue "just licks the blade."

The saw is filed rip with a little fleam. Joel remarked that many people at the show were amazed that it cut both rip and crosscut "pretty darn well and fast."

I tried out Joel's sash saw and was impressed that it did indeed cut just as well on the rip as it did the crosscut.

Although I did not order either one of these tools, I did buy a bunch of other products from him. That's the other thing about trying tools in person—it makes it hard to walk away empty handed.


mdhills said...

Interesting on both. I thought I might have read somewhere else that having a wide saw helped provide more feedback on the angle of the saw. And I've also read that a heavier saw helps provide the necessary downward pressure for cutting. So, as a more experienced sawyer than I, what's your take on the claimed advantages of lighter weight?

John Cashman said...

I just got my saw vise day before yesterday, and have filed three saws so far. And I have to say, it is far, far superior to any antique saw vise, and I have a bunch. There is absolutely zero chatter, and the jaws lock up tighter than a bank vault.

One of the saws I filed was one of the inexpensive gents' saws, and I retoothed it from over 20 TPI to 12. It has a very narrow blade -- only 1 1/2 inches from teeth to spine, so I'm not sure which shallow dovetail saws wouldn't fit. This was pretty shallow.

I'd have saved a lot of money over the years trying to find an antique that was worth its weight. Now I know I'll never need to try another.

Unknown said...

I ordered a sash saw from Joel at the event and I can't wait to get hands on it!

Kari Hultman said...

Mdhills, I'm not a very experienced sawyer, but here is my novice opinion. What we think of tools is completely subjective. I prefer a lighter saw because I don't get as tired and I feel like I have more control. Others clearly prefer heavier saws for a variety of reasons, including the one you mentioned. I don't see how a few ounces more weight can make a difference in downward pressure, but I can see where some might think it gives them more control in the cut. I don't know if a wider blade would help with sensing an angle--I really think there are too many variables to answer that. How stiff is the blade? How thick? How agressive the set? If you can try out a saw first, that is the best way to decide if it's the saw for you. I hope we see more hand tool events across the nation so more people get the chance to do that.

John, thanks for the comment!

Mark, have fun with your new toy. It's a sweet saw.

Anonymous said...

Having done a lot of business with Joel in person I can say, unequivocal, he is an amazing person. Always eager to allow me to try out any tools in his inventory with NO pressure at all to buy.

Hanging out at his place is one of the things I miss most about NYC.
We could use many more like him !!!

My favorite dovetail saw is not what most people would choose. While I use a small Disston # 68 for thin stock, my main saw has a 12 pt. 14" x 2" blade and a brass back. The longer length means fewer strokes, and fewer chances for me to mess up.
Just my two cents.

Ray Drake