Using a hand saw with ratchet-like teeth

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  • Thread starter Swamp Thing
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Summary:

The teeth dig into the wood and won't move on the push stroke.
I tried to saw a piece of wood with a hand saw. Its teeth have an unsymmetric, ratchet-like bias that allows you to pull the saw, but they dig into the wood and refuse to move when you push. (This is not about the blade sticking in the gap after cutting halfway -- I can't even cut a couple of millimeters).

Any tips to use this kind of saw? Or is it just a badly designed saw and I should get another?
 

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  • #2
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Do you have an image of the saw?

There are significant differences depending on the material you want to saw. E.g.
riesen-saege-jumbo-fuchsschwanz-halloween~3.jpg

is meant to be used as follows: place it plain on the line you want to saw and do not apply pressure. It doesn't work inclined on an edge or with force.
 
  • #3
DaveE
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This depends a lot on the quality of the saw.
However, fresh_42 is correct, pushing down on the saw makes things worse. Let gravity and the saw teeth apply that force, your job is just to push it back and forth horizontally.
 
  • #4
256bits
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Sometimes one has to use a few back strikes to start a cut, so that the saw on the forward stroke slides over the wood rather than just one tooth digging into the corner. After some experience with several cuts, you should get the hang of it. By the way, if the thickness of the wood is shallow, then you have to angle the saw more for the sliding to take effect. One does not cut at 90 degrees to the wood unless several teeth span the thickness.
 
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  • #5
phinds
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Sometimes one has to use a few back strikes to start a cut, so that the saw on the forward stroke slides over the wood rather than just one tooth digging into the corner. After some experience with several cuts, you should get the hang of it. By the way, if the thickness of the wood is shallow, then you have to angle the saw more for the sliding to take effect. One does not cut at 90 degrees to the wood unless several teeth span the thickness.
what he said (very small).jpg
 
  • #6
Do you have an image of the saw?

There are significant differences depending on the material you want to saw. E.g.
View attachment 247131
is meant to be used as follows: place it plain on the line you want to saw and do not apply pressure. It doesn't work inclined on an edge or with force.
Yes, mine is pretty much like this one, but probably with the teeth more closely spaced (unless this one is really small).

Thanks for all the replies, everyone... I'll try to apply the suggestions.
 
  • #7
Hi all, I just got home and decided to have a go with a bit of scrap wood, keeping these suggestions in mind. I'm doing a lot better than before!

Not pressing down too much seems to be a key point, plus getting the right angle between blade and surface (ideally, close to 0 degrees). In fact, I found that it helps to slightly increase the pressure on the pull stroke and to partially counter the weight of the saw on the push stroke.

I suspect that my muscle memory from my violin lessons (40+ years ago) is kicking in and helping to pull this off. Although I probably sound a lot better right now than back then.

Edit: After sawing away for a couple more minutes, I realized that the comparison with the violin bow is actually more true than I thought. It's a good idea to reduce the pressure just when the bow, er, saw changes direction, especially when pushing. Then, once it's moving freely, you can bear down (not too hard!!) in order to get a bit more cutting done on the push strokes.
 
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  • #8
phinds
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Now you've got it. It IS tricky when you're new to it.
 
  • #9
JBA
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Just curious; but, here must be some special purpose application for that saw design. Anyone have any suggestions?
Edit; From what I can find, this is type of rip saw for fast and rough cutting specifically with the grain (not across it) on soft woods.
 
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  • #10
phinds
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Just curious; but, here must be some special purpose application for that saw design. Anyone have any suggestions?
I don't understand the question. The saw is made to cut wood. What is it about THIS saw that makes you think it is special?
 
  • #12
Klystron
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Just curious; but, here must be some special purpose application for that saw design. Anyone have any suggestions?
Edit; From what I can find, this is type of rip saw for fast and rough cutting specifically with the grain (not across it) on soft woods.
Like many old professions woodworking includes a veritable jargon of terms describing a variety of tools and techniques. Yes, I also think the OP describes a rip saw (but antiquarians and lovers of old technology live to argue). :cool:
 
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  • #13
Mister T
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Think of each tooth on the saw blade as a tiny chisel. It sounds to me like you might have a dull saw. Anyone who has ever worked with dull chisels only, and then uses a sharp one for the first time is amazed. It's like using a completely different tool.
 
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  • #14
phinds
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Think of each tooth on the saw blade as a tiny chisel. It sounds to me like you might have a dull saw. Anyone who has ever worked with dull chisels only, and then uses a sharp one for the first time is amazed. It's like using a completely different tool.
More likely the problem is just that using a rip saw for cross cutting requires a particular skill that a first-time use won't have.

I know how to do it but even so it gives me trouble sometimes so I try to avoid it but one of my branch-cutting saws has a rip cut design even though it shouldn't. Makes it VERY aggressive though so it makes short work of branches.
 
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  • #15
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teeth have an unsymmetric, ratchet-like bias
This describes the ‘rake’ of the teeth. When they are straight, or oriented perpendicular to the cutting line, this is called a passive rake. The cut is easy to start but slow to proceed.

When the teeth are angled towards the tip of the saw, this is positive, or aggressive rake. The cut is hard to start, and digs in, but the cutting is fast.

Good handsaws for general work like cutting tenons often have progressive rake, where the teeth at the tip are passive, but become more aggressive further back. This makes the cut easy to start (use the very tip), then quickens up as you drop the saw into the cut.

***

Straightforward triangular teeth are best for ripping along the grain, and fleam-cut teeth (hard to describe - google) are best for cross-cutting.
 
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  • #16
jim mcnamara
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Fleam == bevel which is another word used.
 
  • #17
Fleam... rake... kerf... swarf... You have to love words like that, harking back to the days of the artisans' guilds.

Will there be a time when people will say, "you have to love those old words like 'hopefully', 'ongoing' and 'actionable' " ?
 
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