Hand tool for resawing?


What traditional woodworking tool was used to resaw boards that are, say, 8 in. wide, before there were bandsaws?
I've tried resawing with a bow saw but I've been unable to keep the cut straight and once the cut moves out of line I can't bring it back. Anyone had any experience trying to resaw with hand tools? Maybe a Japanese pull-cut saw?
Thanks, Billy
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Billy Smith (in lGTLe.4123$%K4.518@trnddc09) said:
| What traditional woodworking tool was used to resaw boards | that are, say, 8 in. wide, before there were bandsaws?
You can find pictures by Googling for +"Plank Saw" +wood
Plank saws were either hand-operated or powered by a walking beam (typically water- or steam-driven) and generally had rub blocks on both sides of the blade just behind the teeth and just above/below the workpiece to keep the blade from wandering.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/solar.html
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Eight inches >>wide<< as in 1 X 8, or eight inches >>thick<< as in 8 X 8?
You said wide, so I am assuming you meant wide. I have a collection of rip saws that were made specifically for this application.
Anything up to two inches thick was considered game in those days... talk about work.
At any rate, the blades are tall, thin and have little kerf, and about 4 - 6 teeth per inch.
Are you a neander or do you simply not have access to a circular saw?
Robert
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I meant 8 in. wide as in 1 X 8 and resawing it so that you end up with two pieces each 1/2 X 8.
The reason I'm asking is that I'm straddling the fence between being a Neander and a modern woodworker. I enjoy using hand tools for the fun of it. I would like to at least trying to resaw a board by hand just for the experience. I have a 3/4 HP band saw that does not seem to have what it takes to resaw even a 4 in. wide board, so I have to either get another band saw or learn how to resaw by hand. I know that doing it by hand would be an enormous amount of work, but I could use the exercise.
Resawing by table saw is limited to boards of a width of about twice the blade height and when I've done it (Delta Unisaw) it seems to slow the saw down and makes the motor exude a foul smell, probably smoke.
When you say you have rip saws for this application, do you mean hand rip saws? If so, what is their basic form? Some kind of bow saw or a frame saw?
Thanks, Billy

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On Mon, 15 Aug 2005 21:23:12 GMT, "Billy Smith"

AAAHHH.... you're looking for a zero kerf resaw saw. well, you're in luck- I just upgraded mine. I'll let you have the old one, nothing wrong with it at all except that it will only go up to 10" and the new one does 14". just email me with your name, address, social security and bank routing numbers and your mother's maiden name and I'll get right back to you with shipping information.

Sounds painful. I'd bet you can get help for that.

try a better bandsaw blade. one made for resaw....

better not to let the smoke out of your saw, now...
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Billy Smith wrote:

http://www.hyperkitten.com/woodworking/resaw.php3
Pit-sawing was used for really large boards. The lucky guy was the one on top. The other sawyer worked, litteraly, in the pits.
--

FF


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Very interesting. Your procedure and framesaw appear to be an elegant solution.
Two questions:
1) I suspect that one reason you are able to keep your saw cutting on the marked line is that your blade is not very wide. How wide is the blade in your frame saw (looks like no more than 3/4 in.)? And is there an ideal width for such a blade?
2) Would your method work with boards up to say, 5 ft. long?
Thanks for your input. Maybe I'll make a framesaw and try it.
--Billy

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Billy Smith wrote:

Not mine. I suggest you try to email the author of those webpages with your questions.
--

FF


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Western or Eastern traditions ?
The Western technique is described in any good furniture book that talks about the development of veneering in the 18th century. Although resawing for timber was a skilled trade, the real experts were those who resawed extra-thin boards (1/8" and 1/16") for veneers.
None (or little) of this was pit-sawing. That was the rough end of the trade, sawing deals for housebuilding. The accurate resawing was generally done with the board raised on large trestles or a fixed framework - they needed light and visibility. It was done by paired teams who always worked together (often for decades) and may have travelled around the country as a working team. It's usual to think of the guy on top (the tillerman) as being the brains of the outfit and the guy underneath as little more than cheap muscle. For cabinetry-grade resawing though, this is a disservice to the undersawyer.
The saws were frame saws, not bow saws. They had a wooden frame on both sides of the timber and were often screw-tensioned, not string tensioned. Blades were much deeper than bow saw blades (partly because suitable steel was still poor before 1759). The design of the upper tiller is distinctive between saws optimised for power or accuracy.
Water-powered framesaws are a very early innovation (medieval!) but didn't dominate the whole trade until late into the 18th century. There was a lot of regional variation as to the rate of adoption of machinery - England was still leading America at this point.
In the Eastern tradition, it's generally a one-man task. "Timberyard" resawing was done with short squat blades and short squat sawyers the size of a small tree - these guys are sometimes said to have been the founders of sumo. They were famously strong (which in those days meant they were simply well fed). Again an outdoor trestle would have been used to support the timber when resawing as boards. There's a famous woodblock (Hokusai?) showing sawyers at work on such a frame.
Fine resawing was done by the final carpenter, not a specialist. Saws were more like a ryoba or fine-toothed anahiki and had long rod handles. The timber was supported on low horses and the sawyer worked above it (often holding it down with their bare toes, which I've never been too happy about doing!). Typically for fine work only a few strokes would be taken, then the beam turned over and sawn from the other side for a few strokes.
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