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I was cruising the local big box recently and noticed that handsaw handles are going through a change. It used to be that any handsaw you picked up had a crafted wood handle decorated with carved or painted scrollwork. Times have changed. The majority of the saws lining the shelves today have rubber-coated handles – and I’m not sure this is a bad thing.

While I definitely like the scrollwork on the older saws, when it’s time to do the job I find myself reaching for the rubber-coated newbie. It’s more comfortable and less likely to leave blisters on my palms than a wooden handle, and seems to offer a better grip for sweaty hands.

So are the rubber-coated handles the hot new face of handsaw construction, or just a passing fad? Let us know what you think in comments.


7 Responses to Hot or Not: Rubber-Coated Saw Handles

  1. PutnamEco says:

    I like my old saws handle. It seems to me that the older saws (pre 50s) handles where a lot more carefully/skillfully made, not like the clunkers that are manufactured today.
    One of the reasons is finish. Sand that off and refinish with oil. No more blisters.
    Works with shovels and rakes, also. What looks nice in the store doesn’t always work in the field.
    On rubber handles, a quick fix, to make up for poor handle design and cheap manufacturing practices.

  2. Old Donn says:

    Old school wooden handles, because that’s what I’ve got.

  3. JB says:

    I have noticed the rubber gets sticky and leaves a film on my hand after extended use or as it ages. Not to mention most solvents will turn that handle into a puddle of radioactive goo in no time.

  4. Brau says:

    Not! I can’t stand those sticky handles. No accuracy either.

  5. Mel says:

    NOT! Rubber handles cause more blisters because they won’t slide at all, and they get icky quickly. I often modify wood handles because I have very large hands – can’t do that with plastic or rubber.

  6. Fred says:

    It’s not the handle that irks me – but the junky saw blade.
    Most have hardenned teeth that can not be sharpened.
    Maybe that’s a trade-off that helps them cut aggressively – but if you nick a few teeth – the saw is relegated to the junk heap.
    These are no longer precision woodworking tools – I suppose the manufactures (in China) think that the only use for a hand saw is for squaring up corners or the odd flush cut where a circular saw or jig saw can’t reach.

  7. bmadigan says:

    NOT HOT.
    Mass produced modern saws are crap. They cut great until you knock off the ends of those hardened teeth. Also, most American style saws are push-saws. The blade has to be thick to avoid bending, which is a waste of energy and material. Mass produced saws can’t be resharpened, so blades end up rusting in a pile or getting thrown away.

    The best saw I’ve ever used is a traditional Japanese pull saw. Its light, fast and efficient and the blades can be swapped out of the handle quickly. In Japan you can get a stack of stamped or handmade blades from a woodworking shop for cheap. You can sharpen them and re-use them yourself or return them when they’re dull. They will either sharpen or reforge the old blades.

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