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While we’re a firm believer in modern levels, we’re not so sure about hand saws.  I still have the hand-sharpened saws that my father passed down to me (from my grandfather), and I’m not so sure these new ones are cut from the same cloth.

What do you think?  Do new saws like the one pictured — Irwin’s 24″ ProTouch course cut saw — live up to your heirlooms performance-wise?  Or are there other modern brands that do?  And a side question: if you just had to buy a brand-new saw for general carpentry work, which one would you buy?

Let us know in comments.

24″ ProTouch Coarse Cut Saw [Irwin]


11 Responses to Hot or Not? New-Fangled Hand Saws

  1. Will says:

    Not that I have any experience with heirloom saws, but I just bought the very saw pictured this past weekend, and it worked flawlessly for my needs (cutting up an 8×8 timber into smaller lengths).

    The grip, with its plastic ridge on the inside (where your fingers wrap around) was a little uncomfortable after awhile, but overall the performance of the blade was fantastic.

  2. JamesBrauer66 says:

    I have some sort of Stanley handsaw with very aggressive teeth that is good for, yes, aggressive cutting. It is good for pruning and sawing 2x4s, but I wouldn’t pick it up any sort of hardwood. It leaves some nasty tearout, but cuts fast without excess effort.

  3. PutnamEco says:

    Boy, hand saws what a concept. I don’t really remember the last time I had to use a hand saw.
    I do not think todays saw stand up to the last generations saws. Any of the old saws that I’ve had the pleasure of using, cut better than the modern saws that I’ve used. They have required a bit more finesse to use than their modern counterparts, due to their thiner kerf. And there in lies their secret, the thin kerf.
    What I use when I need to use a saw in the field is a Stanley short cut saw, it is an 20″ 8 point saw
    What I use in the shop is a Disston D8 26″ 9 point saw. I believe it is a 40’s vintage.

    If I had to use a hand saw on a more steady basis, I think I would probably be looking at a Spear & Jackson, something in the 26″ 8 point range.

  4. olderty says:

    What, no laser? I’ll wait. Until then: NOT!

  5. Brau says:

    I have a few “hand me down” saws that have been resharpened a few times, but I was away from home and needed a saw so I bought a cheapie with hardened teeth (like the one pictured). It has been left out in a damp garage for over ten years and although it is rusty, the teeth are still as sharp as it ever was. Would I buy another? In a heartbeat. The hand me downs are are dull now and will likely stay that way. It will cost as much for sharpening as a new saw with hardened teeth.

  6. Ivan says:

    I have a couple Stanleys and there were also a few old ones left in the garage when I bought the house. I have to admit I’d rather use the new ones. The older longer types are good for playing music but don’t seem to be cutting that well after all. They bend a little to easy, I’d rather have a firm blade.

  7. Brian says:

    Let’s not forget pull-saws! The first time a Japanese pull-saw was shown and explained to me, I smacked myself on the forehead because of how obvious this is! Of course saws should cut on the pull stroke! Tension is a much better natural force than compression when we’re talking about keeping a 2mm-thin piece of metal from binding and bending. I’ll never buy another push-saw.

  8. Simon says:

    the new saws cut much faster than the antiques and are cheaper to replace than sharpen. For fine detail work, a quality old-timer saw may be better where speed is not the goal.

  9. Rob says:

    I like the new saws, I’ve had a Stanley for a while and I’m always using it for small jobs. The thing about the old saws, is a lot of people don’t know what they have (crosscut or rip) and they use the saw for the wrong type of cutting thinking a saw is a saw. While I do have a number of the “classic” saws, the new saws, especially the Japanese ones, cut so well and so fast, I don’t feel the need to have the old ones resharpened, especially when I can buy a new saw for about the same price.

  10. Mel says:

    I also use a Stanley short-cut toolbox saw. Fast-cutting, stays sharp, and fits in my toolbox so I always have it with me. I wouldn’t use it for fine woodworking, but for general carpentry it’s great.

  11. Phillip says:

    I have both a couple of vintage saws (a Great Neck and a Disston 50’s era, not heirloom but yard sale finds) and several modern saws. There’s no comparison – the modern saws stay sharper, longer and get much more use than the old Western-type saws.
    I started with the Stanley Short-cut saw when it was introduced many years ago and it is still sharp and cuts well. I’ve recently gotten some Irwin models , but I think my favorite hand saws have become the Vaughan Bear saws. Those rock and they come with a hard plastic scabbard to store them in. Check them out at Lowe’s. Also, a friend recently showed me some Silky brand saws and I’m anxious to try them. They make a saw for just about every purpose.

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