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Thread: Quick Western Saw Question

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Longview WA
    Blog Entries
    Quote Originally Posted by Keegan Shields View Post
    Thanks for the pointers. I will give the flat start a go. I'm finding that the first one or two strokes is tough to get started without chatter. Sounds like I need to take more weight off the saw to get started then use the weight of the saw when progressing down.
    The horns on the handle can be helpful in taking weight off the saw when starting a cut. This made itself evident when a saw came to me with both top and bottom horns broken off. It was much easier to control once the horns were repaird.

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

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Renaissance Woodworker has a good video on starting a saw. Light touch is key. It does work.

  3. #18
    Yesterday while cutting tenons with my 14" sash saw I noticed I was starting cross cuts on the far corner and rip cuts on the near corner. Not sure if anyone else does it that way. The sash saw is filed hybrid so it does both fairly well though I've been meaning to get a carcase saw dedicated to cross cuts.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    The old pueblo in el norte.
    I do this on tenons too, as I can watch really only one line. Then again, I angle the piece in the vise so that I can saw about half way across, and all the way down, I flip and repeat.

    life in a mud hut

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Broadview Heights, OH
    Back in the day, when I was making the Independence Tool Dovetail saw, I would often go to trade shows to exhibit and sell the saw. I had a small bench set up with some half inch poplar for people to try. 95% of the time, a prospective customer would come up, grab the saw like they were hanging on for dear life, white knuckled, and promptly stop the saw dead in it's tracks on the first push. The saw is no good they would say. It doesn't work.

    I'd then spend 3 minutes giving them a quick lesson on how to make it work, and it's really pretty simple.

    Step 1: Relax and grip the saw only as tight as you need to control it. It's not a hand grenade.
    Step 2: Start sawing back and forth in the air ABOVE the wood. Gradually come down to contact the wood, with no downward pressure at all.

    In two strokes the kerf will be established and you then can start to apply some downward pressure. Of course, the sawing in the air is not necessary, but it's a useful exercise to teach that when starting a cut, no downward pressure is best. It was always a revelation to those 95% who before couldn't start the saw no matter how hard they tried. Of course, in a two day show, there were always a couple folks that couldn't get it no matter how hard they tried. I directed them to the router table area.

    Really though, a very light touch is all that's required. No need to start on a front or back corner. Just start flat on and practice. It's really pretty easy when you realize those super sharp teeth are like fishhooks and the more you press down, the more you have to overcome their grabbing effect.

    Hope this helps.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Pete That is as good a description as possible. Coming from a recognized expert makes it better. I would add, There is no such thing as too light a touch when practicing.
    Air sawing what a great idea.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    Austin, TX
    Thanks all. Great tips from some real experts.

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