My most well used tools are like mates; I accept them warts and all, and they’re dependable without needing to be pampered.
I’m careful not to cross the line though, and some job’s around our building site of a home would be plain abuse of a good friendship. For those jobs I call on something less precious (you know the weird kid with the teeth and glasses – basically Helen).
There’s always a hard point (disposable) saw kicking about, and these seem to come in regardless of the job. Almost good enough to stay in the workshop, and yet the first to hand when there’s any risk of nails, concrete, or trauma.
I am frequently impressed by today’s hard point, I’ve written about this before, and even used one throughout my English bench build. Give them a decent handle and you’d have something that I’d recommend to any beginner woodworker – a cost effective way to experience sharp.
But there’s something keeping them from pride of place on the tool wall. They’re just so bloody universal. They’ll promise to cut through tiles, dead bodies, and steel, as well as with and across wood grain. Yet I’m not so sure the manufacturers know what cutting with the grain feels like.
If you’re looking to whip through a bit of construction pine then you’re in luck, and I do rate a good hard point for getting you going. But as you gain experience you’re going to want to tweak, and at that point ‘universal’ becomes the last thing you need. We want tuned and optimised.
When I bought my Pax saw several years ago, I bought it for the length and because I knew that it was heavy. I also liked the handle.
The saw had 20 teeth per inch. I took a couple of cuts when it first came, thought ‘that’s a good saw’, and then immediately filed all of the teeth off. I also tapered the blade slightly.
That probably sounds bizarre to a lot of people, but I like my rip saws aggressive, and whatever the saw, I consider it all to be part of the set up. If you couldn’t adjust your plane irons with the camber you require, then I think you’d see what I mean. Perhaps that’s why disposable plane irons have never taken off.
I’ve got a bit of rambling to come on this subject shortly, including some hard points that I’ve actually found to be excellent.
What is your own experience with non tweak-able saws?
Do you have any recommendations for any good Japanese saws?