Re: hand saw technique

Mike,
I think you may have hit on a revolutionary explanation here. After I think about it, that is exactly what happens. When the impulse strikes....I flip the big switch and a 3hp TEFC motor with an attached 10" blade jumps into motion.... The body then totally relaxes and the mind focuses on making sawdust.
Sorry...couldn't resist but your explanation of "impulse sawing" conjures up a pretty funny body motion technique in my minds-eye.
Bob S.
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I have always practiced a similar technique, based on my observations of concert violinists. My father was a concert violinist, and was heartbroken when I showed no aptitude for the instrument. "Du bist ein dummkopf, Ernst!" he would say to me. Only much later when I took German in college did I realize it wasn't a compliment, but by that time Dad had been sent back to Nuremberg to stand trial for war crimes and I couldn't make a proper rejoinder without attracting the attention of the military censor.
But I digress. Although I had no aptitude for the violin, I learned that the arm movements used in sawing were very similar to the arm movements used in playing the violin. For simple cuts I copied the technique of Fritz Kreisler; for more complex, the strokes of Mischa Elman or Jascha Heifitz. I reserved the masterly style of Niccolς Paganini for double compound miters and similar complex work. Sure, the other guys on the work sites all laughed when they first watched me hold a 2x4 under my chin to make a cut, but the laughter soon stopped when they saw perfect hip rafter bevel angles done freehand.
Alas, in my enthusiasm I was carried away one morning whilst sawing a double blind concave fox tenon, and before I knew it my left arm lay severed on the ground next to the perfectly executed cut. To this day I cannot hear either the sound of a hand crosscut saw or one of Paganini's "Caprices" played on a vintage Guarneri without shuddering and suffering shooting pains in the ghost limb. -- Ernie
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snipped-for-privacy@att.net says...

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Where ARE those Iraqi WMDs?

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Ernie:
That's a keeper!
Bob:
Try a japanese pull saw and/or more teeth per inch (smaller bites take less effort though it takes a little more time to do the cut). It's often easier to pull someone foreward than to push them backwards.
While you're at it, let the saw do the work. You only have to provide the foreward/back force and not the "push the teeth into the wood force - the latter causes the teeth to try and bite off more than they can chew".
And that gets to the "angle of attack" thing. (fig. 1) (fig. 2) +-----+ +----+ +--/ / | | | / / --------------+ |/ / | / / | / /| ----+----+----+ / / | | | / / | | | / / |
If you cut square to the board's face (fig. 1) you'll have fewer teeth in contact with the wood than if you angle the saw (fig. 2). More teeth in contact - smaller bites. You'll also find that the blades less apt to wander as you cut since the longer kerf acts as a better guide.
You're post does remind us that if we pay attention to our tools AND our bodies we'll know when we're doing something wrong. Now if I can just stop cutting on the "good side of the line"....
charlie b
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Charlie,
I agree strongly with your Japanese saw suggestion. I was thinking the same thing when I read the original post - it sounds like the saw is not sharp.
Several years ago, I got one of those Japanese saws (250 mm crosscut if I recall correctly). IMPRESSIVE SHARP!!!!! Cuts through purple heart and cocobolo like my old saw did through pine. I had trouble controlling the saw on the pull stroke and finally got tired of trying to figure it out. I went back to my old saw and tried to sharpen the teeth something like scarysharp with a couple of Arkansas stones and some wooden fixtures - don't try this at home. It was a big time sink and I didn't get good results. Eureka - I cut a normal saw handle out of some scrap walnut, drilled three holes through the handle and blade. Some small machine screws hold it together. I drilled a small hole near the tip so that I can hang the saw between uses. Works like a bloody charm!!! Keep in mind that this saw is only about a foot in length - so it is not going to impress the neighbors. This is my primary hand saw and has been so for several years. It is a little weak in the rip department - I need a better solution for that.
It took a little practice to get used to the saw in the push mode - the blade is significantly more flexible. Early on, I had to concentrate on keeping the saw in line with the effort, now it happens automatically. I like that it cuts a narrow kerf - nothing special, but it seems frugal with the expensive woods. And because less wood is being removed, the cut goes even quicker.
I'm on my second blade and will get the third before too long. Replacement blades are only about $8.00 or so at Woodcraft. So it wont cost you much to give this suggestion a try. You can make the handle in less than an hour with a coping saw and a round-over bit. Cutting the slit for the blade is kind of tricky - I used an exacto razor saw. A little bit of the blade might stick into the handle cutout - use a stone in the dremel tool to grind that flush. You can quickly ruin a drill bit when drilling the holes - use a nail with the point cut off. Position the blade in the handle and use a drill to spin the cut-off nail against the hardened saw blade. This will "spot anneal" the blade and make drilling easier.
So, Mike, I think if you use a good saw the resistance and unpredictable stopping points will drop below the "noise threshold" and a smooth swing will be easier to master. There is no need to apply downward pressure on a saw - gravity provides plenty (and sometimes too much). I make sure that my eye, shoulder and the kerf are all in the same plane. Because the saw is small, only arm muscles are needed. If you find that you are gripping the saw tightly - employ your favorite behavior modification technique, take a short break then get back to it.
I hope some folks give this saw idea a try. It may not be the right thing for everyone, but I'm confident that it is a good solution for many of us. I need to remake my saw because the original was a little crude (it was only an experiment). Not sure wher to get or how to fit the normal type saw blade bolts that would be the appropriate size. When I do remake it, I'll probably get one of those replacement rip blades too. So, how about it JOAT, got any of those "inspiration images" for a nice saw handle?
My old saws are dusty, I'm not sure how much has accumulated because I haven't touched them in many months.
Bruce

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Michael Mossey wrote:

Gadzooks man...
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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Indeed, as though sawing should come as easily to the muscles of a neophyte as a craftsman of decades standing. I have just spent a couple of weeks in bursts hand ripping 8mm thick boards of the face of about 2m of metric 1 1/2 X 2 with a panel cut hand saw. The first one was damned hard work, required lots of rest stops and the saw strayed too close to the cut line. The last one took almost no time and was cut so straight I cursed at the amount of planing I had to do to get down to the line. Whenever I have a load of tenons to cut I spend an evening practicing a few days before hand.
To the OP: have you ever considered not tensing the rest of your body? Get yourself lined up with the cut, get the saw started and then aim for even, steady cuts. If you feel your body tensing will it to relax. If your arm burns too much, stop and rest before continuing. Repeat until you can cut a board dead square without breaking into a sweat. Then choose another skill to master.
Peter
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Perhaps it needs to be sharpened and set?
djb
--
"Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati"

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Well - I just load up on creatine - work my ass off - and buy bigger tee-shirts.
Jums
<major snippage of ergonomics - though very thought provoking>
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Get your saw sharpened!
:)
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Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
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