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Thread: Lie-Nielsen Dovetail Saw

  1. #16
    I've heard it compared to starting a table saw with the wood already in contact with the blade. You'd never do that (I hope ), you turn the saw on, wait for it to come up to speed, then feed the wood through.

    Bob Rozaieski has a video demonstrating the exact technique Pete described. It is extremely helpful.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_NWMT8X56U

  2. #17
    Join Date
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    The video by Bob is excellent. He shows the method that many of us have gravitated to through practice. Experience/practice makes one aware that a light grip and minimal down force facilitate the kind of scraping starter cut which Bob demonstrates.

    I suspect that one of the reasons why the LN saw may be harder to start for some is that the handle encourages one to grip it more tightly than desired. The handle on the LN I have is quite chunky compared with the original Independence Tools saw. The significance of this was lost on me early on, but over time I began to realise than the thinner handle forced me to grip the saw more lightly. The same may be said of the Gramercy dovetail saw, which I commented on in its review.

    Bob mentions that the dovetail saw is balanced by the lower edge of the palm (and the lower horns of the handle). I have written about this in the past, and designed saw handles to maximise this factor. It would be an interesting area of ergonomic research to investigate.

    When I was looking at the ergonomics of planing, and raised the importance of pushing forward rather than downward (creating a low centre of effort), it occurred to me that many of the old woodies had handles that encouraged one to grip them lower and push from low down (See article here). This led to designing plane and saw handles with the same featured emphasis at the lower section of the handle ...









    With more traditional saw handles, I grip them low and let them rest lightly on the lower horns. You can balance the saw this way without holding it tightly.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  3. #18
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    [edited]

    Bob mentions that the dovetail saw is balanced by the lower edge of the palm (and the lower horns of the handle). I have written about this in the past, and designed saw handles to maximise this factor. It would be an interesting area of ergonomic research to investigate.

    When I was looking at the ergonomics of planing, and raised the importance of pushing forward rather than downward (creating a low centre of effort), it occurred to me that many of the old woodies had handles that encouraged one to grip them lower and push from low down (See article here). This led to designing plane and saw handles with the same featured emphasis at the lower section of the handle ...

    With more traditional saw handles, I grip them low and let them rest lightly on the lower horns. You can balance the saw this way without holding it tightly.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    My grandson was instructed a bit on this technique of starting a saw while he was here last month.

    The lower push on the handle of a hand plane can also be of use when checking the sole of a plane. The thickness of shaving should not change significantly from a straight push to a push with downward pressure above the mouth.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Taran View Post
    Izzy,

    I'm sure it's your technique. When I used to make the rounds at Woodworking shows selling the Independence Tool Dovetail Saw, I saw a lot of common themes in how folks handle saws. The primary reaction is the grip the saw as tightly as possible and use a lot of downward pressure. Most could not even start the saw a little bit. It would immediately stall because the teeth are like fish hooks. They would then try the backstroke trick, and sometimes could get it started, although with a lot of start and stops.

    The secret to grab free sawing is to take a loose, comfortable grip which is relaxing, and start sawing just above the wood. Don't even touch it. Just back and forth strokes above the wood, no downward pressure at all. Then while sawing, lower the saw until it just touches the wood, all while sawing back and forth. NO downward pressure. You will immediately start a kerf. Keep sawing and then apply the slightest downward pressure. It's a saw by feel thing which requires immediate feedback. If the saw grabs, too much pressure.

    Of course, you don't have to saw in air once you get experienced at it. Just place the saw on top of the wood and go. I don't file any starter teeth, nor do I know anyone who does. I always loved it when a prospective customer would struggle with a saw and exclaim that it was "Defective" only to immediately take it, give that same lesson I just outlined, and bury the saw to the spine with no handups or any other problems. I'd then kindly point out that all that is needed is practice. Some would demur, some would then try again and get it after a few tries, others would leave in disgust.

    Hope this helps.
    It certainly helped me Pete. I have been sawing for some time, but following your advice, my saw starts are smoother than ever. Never too old to learn!

  5. #20
    I appreciate that video. Thanks.

    I spent a little while Saturday practicing this technique. It's amazing how easy it becomes - very quickly. The trick is moving the saw on the wood with no weight. Too high and you can miss the mark. Too heavy and you catch. But once you recognize the balance, it's easy to reproduce.

    I find it more challenging to do this with a rip saw, and therefore would recommend people practice with a rip saw.

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