Fair Woodworking

March 24, 2012

Lee Valley Handsaw event

Filed under: Fair Woodworking & Hand Tool Blog,Hand tool — fairwoodworking @ 12:31 pm

One of the great things about being a Canadian Woodworker is being able to swing by your local Lee Valley store on the way home from work. I like to do this every few weeks if for no other reason than to catch up with the lads in the tool section.

Yesterday, I’d forgotten that they were having a Handsaw event, so I was pleasantly surprised to have all their saws accessible and at my fingertips all at one time.

While reaching for one of the Veritas saws, the store manager kindly stopped by to chastise me for yet again neglecting to bring my Lie-Nielsen Dovetail saw so that we could have the good old saw shoot out we had been talking about.

Darn, that would have been fun…

The good thing is that I have been using almost all of my saws enough lately that they are fresh in my memory. So I was still able to do some comparison test cuts.

I really can’t say enough about these Veritas saws! I’ve toyed with the Dovetail saw a few times in the past, but this was the first time to have them all at hand to test. I need to say right off the bat, if you are looking for your first hand saws, and especially if money is tight, these saws are darned close to a no-brainer.

They have a different feel than a traditional western saw, it could all be in my head, but they do feel high-tech. I don’t know if it is how it transmits vibration, but the feel is just a little different. The cutting action was just as I remembered. The 14 tpi dovetail saw starts a little easier than my comparable saw at home, and with that it cuts just a little slower. In comparison, The Gramercy Tools 9″ Dovetail Saw is even easier to start, and much slower to cut. What I’m saying is that the Veritas offering fits right in the middle of some very high end saws.

What really caught me off guard was how light their Carcass saws are. At first I was a little put off by it, but it did not seem to hamper its performance. In hindsight, I have to wonder if it was not as light as it was just well-balanced.

Either way, I am a big fan of these saws, and suspect that I would own some if they were available when I shopping for my saws.

I would however caution new woodworkers away from the finer toothed (20 tpi and 22 tpi) saws. While ordering one of my Wenzloff & Sons saws Mike Wenzloff encouraged me to go with a coarse a tooth as I thought I could get away with. The idea being the faster it cuts while still cutting cleanly, the less potential for error. It seemed counter intuitive at the time, but now I’d have to agree. Leave the finer saws unless the work you find yourself doing demands a finer tooth.

This brings me to Gents saws, and Japanese saws. I don’t like ’em!

But that is just personal preference, so pretend I didn’t say that.

Different people will like different saws, and you only find what you like by trying them.

For those of you that missed the hand saw event, (it ends today), I’ll let you in on a little secret. Lee Valley is open late on Thursdays and Fridays. This is the best time to go shopping there, because there is nowhere near the crowds you might find during the day, especially the lunch hour or Saturdays. If you ask nicely, and are respectful of their time as well as the other customers, there is a very good chance they will let you try them out on a piece of scrap wood right there in the store. That is assuming the training room is not being used

Thank you Lee Valley for putting on these events, they are a great opportunity, even if they make me late for supper.


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