Thursday, February 9, 2012

Get woodworking #3

Saws are next.  Bob Rozaieski has a good video on handsaws for beginners here which I agree with, but I have a couple of observations.

Bob is all hand tools, and I have learned a lot from him, but I choose to use some power tools and I think most beginners will want to as well.   What is the best power saw to recommend to a beginner?  I learned from my son, who is a first time homeowner.  He had no interest in woodworking growing up and is just now accumulating a few tools.   To my surprise, when  he needed a saw, he bought a jigsaw.  The more I thought about this, the more sense it made to me, particularly for a mostly hand tool woodworker.  Like many, I sold my table saw but kept a good bandsaw as I transitioned.  A jigsaw serves a similar purpose at much lower cost.   Thinking about it as the only power saw for a beginning woodworker, I went out in the shop and tried a few straight rip and crosscuts using my jigsaw and a speed square.  It worked pretty well and, with the plane, it could be cleaned up fine.  I know this may seem like an odd choice, but, again, I am trying to lower the barriers to entry in time and cost.

One of the advantages of having the jigsaw is that it gives a beginning woodworker an interim solution while they look for and refurbish the set of hand saws Bob is talking about.  That takes time.  Where I live, hand saws seem to be the one vintage hand tool you can reliably find at low cost.  The problem, of course, is sharpening them.  When I acquired my handsaws, I was lucky to find a local sharpening service that still had the equipment and knowledge to do a basic job of retoothing and sharpening.  It cost me less than $20 per saw.  If I hadn't found them, I likely would have sent the saws to Bob.  It's a lot easier to take up handsaw sharpening if you start from a good point.  Once again, lowering a barrier to entry.

While the beginner is looking for handsaws, the first projects I have in mind can be built with the jigsaw.  Or, they can just go to the hardware store and buy a $20 handsaw, which will be nice to have around for cutting plywood.

1 comment:

  1. And spend enough money to get a good quality jigsaw. I couldn't believe the difference between my ancient loss-leader Black & Decker and the Bosch I finally got around to buying. Daylight and dark doesn't come close.