Using Wood Hand Saws
This is a saw of the form shown in the accompanying pictures, measuring 26 inches in length and having about twenty teeth in every 4 inches. It is properly used for cutting across the grain; but it can be used for "ripping", or cutting along the grain, under ordinary conditions. There is a saw, of similar form, specially made for the latter operation, designated the ripper or ripsaw : it differs from hand saws in the shape and set of its teeth. The extent of the set varies according to use to which the saw is put, and the class of wood it is employed to cut: handsaws have a greater amount of set than the ripper; and saws used for hard woods require a smaller amount of set than the ordinary saws used for pine and other soft woods. If the amateur can afford it, we would advise him to obtain both the saws, ripper and hand.
In using either of the saws, the handle must be gripped firmly with the right hand, so as to control its direction while making its cut. On starting a cut, at a line marked on the wood, the entry of the saw should be guided by a slight pressure of the thumb of the left hand, bearing on the side of the saw just above its teeth. When the cut has been properly started, the thumb can be removed, and the left hand will then be free to hold the wood steady in any required manner.
In "ripping" planks or pieces of wood of a few feet in length, a pair of carpenter's trestles will be required; and these will allow a knee to be placed on the plank to hold it steady, if necessary, either in ripping or cross-cutting. There is one matter that should be observed; namely, while making a cut, the saw must be allowed to eat its own way; hardly any pressure should be applied with the view of hastening the operation. In ripping a long plank, it may be found that the cut closes on the saw and prevents its easy action : when this is the case, a thin wedge of wood should be pressed into the end of the cut, so as to open it enough to release the saw. As it is all-important that the amateur should be able to use the saws properly from the first, we may repeat the advice, already given, that he should obtain a few lessons from some experienced workman.
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