Over the years I have gradually sold off most of my powertools as I learned techniques for getting the same or better results with hand tools.
For example, if you wanted to cut a miter, most people would go to the table saw, or if they have it, a miter saw. Unless you work in a picture frame shop, where you need to cut hundreds of them, it might be quicker and more accurate to cut it by hand.
Big box store powertools are not accurate enough to cut precise joints, and even high end cabinetry grade power tools need to be set up carefully and tuned every season to give the best results. If you have access to a $5000 dollar table saw, this post is not for you.
If you are on a budget, and you are not afraid of exertion, then you will be able to accomplish a lot with just these tools.
So how are you going to cut up boards without a table saw? You are going to use a hand saw and you are going to love it. Here I am ripping a 12/4 sycamore slab with a japanese pull saw. Yes, it is labor intensive, but it is my only exercise. And yes, that is a perfectly good radial arm saw in the background. You can have it for 100 bucks if you come pick it up, I do not use it anymore.
There are a few sizes available on amazon. If you need to break down a lot of large boards, get a big one. Just search for Ryoba or follow this link:
This saw is big enough to tackle ripping long boards but precise enough to cut miters and tenons.
If you will be cutting very fine joinery, also get a small dozuki like this one:
I feel that the pull saw allows for much greater control than push saws. But the real reason I prefer them is that the japanese saws are a fraction of the price of a high end western style saw and the manufacturing process makes their edge just as fine and precise as the hand set saws and since they are so inexpensive, they do not get sharpened, the blades just get replaced.
In the next installment I will go into the measuring and marking tools you will need to get the most precise possible cuts with your new saws.
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Thanks for looking and let me know what you think,
Until next time,
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