Rip sawing photographic misadventures

I'm trying to learn rip sawing with a hand saw. I took a few photos, and I'd appreciate any input.
http://flickr.com/photos/bnz/sets/72157594441220214 /
Thanks!
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I don't understand the "most efficient cutting angle" shown at all. From my own experience, reading, and watching a proficient Japanese woodworker rip a large thick board, I believe you would be better off laying the blade about 90 degrees in the other direction. The photos suggest you would be standing to the right end of the board while actually sawing. If so you are trying to pull the saw up into the wood from below and push it away from yourself.
If you flip the angle of the saw as I suggest above, and stand to the left end of the board you will enjoy an easier task and likely attain good results quicker. This as you would be pulling the saw up and towards you on the cutting stroke. Also, laying the blade down in the cut will help you stay on the line by increasing the amount of blade length in the wood (this is much like how a long plane straightens an edge easier than a short plane).
Regarding keeping the cut square to the face, putting a try square on the board with the blade sticking up will give you a visual guide. After a while you will develop a feel for it and will not need the try square.
Regarding the scratches on the cut face, it is important to keep in mind that you should be ripping just a bit wider than the desired finished width and then plane the edge flat, square, and to final dimension. The amount of "a bit wider" needed will decrease as you become more proficient. See the photos I posted under Sloyd in Action in ABPW. My boys can stay within about 1/16" of the line at this point and the younger one has split a pencil line on cross cuts... With each project their skills grown and I'm sure you will have a similar experience if you are studious about the process.
John
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After reading your message, I tried another test cut using the flat angle you suggest and the angle I "discovered". I'm sure I'm doing something stupid, but when I put it at the flatter angle and pull towards me, I keep getting a kind of juddering as if the saw is popping up and not cutting very well, and the cut is much slower and more difficult. When I put it at the angle I showed in the picture and pull from behind the direction of cut, it seems to glide through the wood very easily. The other respondent, RicodJour, suggested that using the tools from the bottom is best, which kind of squares with that experience, doesn't it?

That does make sense of course, so I'll keep experimenting with this.

Thanks for the tip.

Unfortunately I can't pick up that. Have you thought of using flickr or photobucket etc? I think it's easier.

Sounds like you are a good sawing teacher. I'll keep trying to improve on test samples until things start looking better.
Thanks!
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I think this is one of those things that would be real easy to demonstrate but difficult to describe (especially late at night)! I think Charlie B's pictures do a much better job... wish I'd had them to show. Note too that they show the blade laid down in the cut which puts more of the saw in the kerf which helps you saw straight.
John
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Ben Bullock wrote:

There's one picture where it looks like you're cutting with the handle above or below the workpiece. That's standard with western saws, but I've found that my results are the best when I cut with the Japanese tools from the bottom. That requires more crouching and may be more difficult with a light bench that needs your body weight like your Workmate. An alternative would be to clamp the workpiece vertically in the Workmate with about six or eight inches exposed and rip downwards. That would require more repositioning, but the goal is accuracy over speed, right? It will also allow you to more easily see both sides of the workpiece to make sure you're staying on course.
R
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Thanks very much for the ideas, I'll try them and see how they work. I also thought of putting the piece in vertically and sawing horizontally.
Thanks!
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With a western saw which cuts on the push stroke, if you push straight down you're cutting acrossed end grain - slow, If you angle the handle back towards you while you're above the wood, the teeth will be cutting "downhill" angled acrossed the grain -faster. But with a japanese saw, the teeth cut on the pull stroke so if you're above the board and have the blade angled handle high - you're cutting "uphill" into the end grain first slow and proned to tearing the grain rather than severing it.
Nora Hall, a great carver, uses the Straw Broom Analogy. If you try and carve INTO the straw bristles from the sweeping end the bristles the straws bend and break rather than being cut. Cut towards the sweeping end and there's no problem.
Or - think of using a chainsaw to cut a log - the bottom teeth coming back at you are similar to the the teeth of a japanese saw cutting on the pull stroke. Go here and replace the chainsaw with your japanese pull saw. The second set of illustrations my help you understand why you're getting tear out as the saw exits the wood.
http://web.hypersurf.com/~charlie2/Turning/Chainsawing/Chainsawing2.html
When ripping with a japanese pull saw - from above the tip of the saw blade is closer to you than the handle. When sawing from below, the handle is closer to your than the tip of the saw blade.
charlie b
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It says here
http://homepage.mac.com/galoot_9/diss_42_rip.html
that the Western saw uses a 60 degree angle?
The following person:
http://flickr.com/photos/coalandice/332341104 /
seems to think so too.

Thanks very much, it's a little hard to understand but I'll mull this over.
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It's the correct answer, and why you'll find it best to cut with the board vertical unless you're using yourself as a vise and keeping the wood on skids.
The form of the saw will give you the mild undercut you need if you keep the handle close to 90 degrees to the board.
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Thanks very much for your input. Because of this discussion on angles, I went and checked a sawing book to see what it said, and it says precisely what you suggest: 90 degree angle and board held vertically. It also mentions using a wedge in the saw cut. I put a scan of the relevant part of the book and some (rough) translations up here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bnz/335024532/in/set-72157594441220214 /
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Ben Bullock wrote:

One trick I use for crosscut and ripsawing with my Japanese saws is that I "precut" to the line. That is, just after I start the cut I will lower the saw so that the teeth are almost parallel to the board's surface and make a controlled, shallow cut right at the line. I might make the shallow "precut" a couple of inches long, and maybe an eighth of an inch deep. I then raise the saw and continue cutting more aggressively. The precut portion then tends to keep the saw in line. Alternately precutting and deep-cutting I can proceed down the board and keep the cut right at the line.
Another very important item to consider, and you are probably already doing it, is to eliminate chatter. Chatter slows down your cutting considerably, and can even result in bent saw teeth if you are cutting very aggressively. It's especially difficult to keep large pieces of plywood stable while sawing, because plywood is less stiff than solid wood, in general. One thing I do is to clamp my heaviest handscrews in various places around the edge of the board I'm cutting in order to reduce the chatter. The inertia in the handscrews reduces the vibration frequency and magnitude in the board while I'm sawing and results in faster, more accurate sawing.
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On Wed, 27 Dec 2006 13:07:48 +0900, Ben Bullock wrote:

Ben,
There are a couple items that I noted in your photos. One is the saw angle which several people have already commented upon. I've never used a Japanese saw so I really can't address that. After looking at the picture of dust being vaccuumed away I found I liked the way my European style saw clears the dust away by itself without need of blowing or brushing.
The more critical point though is that the tips of the teeth on your saw appear very bright, indicating they're rounded. If a saw's teeth are too blunt you will have trouble controlling the saw and getting a clean cut. The saw's teeth should provide very little or no reflective surface and if it does, its time to reach for a file.
Duster
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After looking at the picture

Difference between pushing the dust down versus cutting on the pull?

They're longer than you're used to, and filed with a different philosophy. Longer bevels.
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I agree with JD, the sawdust gathering around the line of the cut certainly is a nuisance. It's been a long time since I used a European style handsaw (25 years?) so I don't remember very well.

I'm not sure which of the two saws in the photos is being referred to by JD, but if he's talking about
http://flickr.com/photos/bnz/326645156 /
then he is right. The cross cut part of that saw is pretty blunt. Funny because I haven't used it enough that I would expect it to be blunt. In the photos I'm cutting with the rip saw side of that saw, which I hadn't used much until now, so the bluntness of the cross cut part doesn't matter. In the traditional fashion of bad workmen, I blamed that tool for scratching the cut as shown in the photo and went and bought a new single-sided blade:
http://flickr.com/photos/bnz/334639599 /
This blade is made by "Zetto saw" and it cost 1500 yen, which is about $15 in US currency. With a handle it costs 1800 yen. I don't think there are any problems with this blade. The best closeups I can do of the blades with my cheapo digital camera are here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bnz/336943807 / http://www.flickr.com/photos/bnz/336944431 /
Anyway it seems to cut much very much better than the double sided saw did. I don't think I'll buy any more double sided saws.
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Ben Bullock wrote:

Since a Text Only answer wasn't clear I did an illustrated version and posted it to alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking subject: RipSawingAngle Western vs Japanese Saw
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Thanks very much indeed for making that, it's very easy to understand. I found it on the web:
http://www.usenet-replayer.com/cgi/content/framebanner_3?http://www.usenet-replayer.com/5/3/4/0/1167350435.6.gif
Would it be OK to put that on my flickr account (with attribution of course) in case it's useful for other people?
Thanks again.
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