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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Working safely

In our safety conscious world, constant concerns for increased worker safety, materials and technologies are aimed at enhancing personal protection combined with regulations established by various health, labor, and governmental organizations to meet and/or exceed the standards and expectations of all people involved in any type of construction big or small.

When working with Tools of any kind you must evaluate the potential hazards and risks that may be present and try to minimise these as much as possible. Things like gloves, eye protection, ear protection, respiratory protection and protective clothing are essential items which come under the umbrella of PPE (personal protective equipment).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hand Saws

Have you ever walked into a hardware store to buy a handsaw and been disappointed by the lack of information on them.
Listed below is a number of saws that can cover a number of different types of jobs and applications.

Hand saws are hand-held tools that are either manual or power driven.   They cut by using a hard, serrated blade, or by using a wire with an abrasive edge. When selecting handsaws, application is the most important specification to consider. Additional parameters include number of teeth, type of handle and materials of construction.

There are many types of hand saws – including
·         Back
·         Compass and coping saws
·         Dovetail, drywall and finish saws
·         Laminate, miter, pull, rip and utility saws
·         Hacksaws

Back saws have closely spaced teeth and a supporting rib attached to the edge of the saw blade opposite the cutting edge. Types include dovetail saws, razor saws and miter saws.

Miter saws are used to make cross cuts.  They are used with a miter box – a woodworking tool that guides the hand saw as it makes precise miter cuts in a board.

Pull saws are pull-to-cut hand tools that carpenters use to undercut materials ranging from soft woods to hard plastics. They are used to flush cut door casings and wooden moldings, and to produce rip cuts and cross cuts.  
Rip saws are designed specifically to make rip cuts and have a flat, front edge on ever saw tooth. 

Coping saws are hand saws that are used to produce external shapes or internal cut-outs in woodworking or carpentry applications. With coped joints, the end of a component is shaped to fit the contours of an abutting member.  They are used for cutting a range of woods and are very useful for cutting unusual shapes or curves. Also, using a coping saw is a test of skill as it can be difficult to control and requires practice.

Compass saws have narrow, triangular blades for cutting curves. 

Hacksaws feature a thin, fine-toothed saw blade that is fitted in a frame and kept under tension with a screw or other mechanism. These powerful handsaws can be used to cut metal or bone, and include handheld variants such as panel hacksaws for cutting sheet metal. 

Drywall saws have a sharp point and coarse teeth for piercing and cutting drywall. They are similar to jab saws and keyhole saws. 

Dovetail saw is a small backsaw used by furniture makers to cut dovetails and other fine joints. Besides its small size, the distinguishing feature of the dovetail saw that separates it from other backsaws is the thickness of its blade – about 0.018" (26 gauge). Other backsaws can be about 0.025"-0.040", depending on length and intended purpose. A thin blade and its resulting kerf allows the most accurate saw cut for a small joint like a drawer's dovetail.  Although most dovetail saw teeth are set for cross-cutting, a rip saw tooth pattern is more efficient. These saws will usually have a higher number of teeth per inch (around 15 tpi) with teeth sharpened to favor ripping operations and set to leave a narrow kerf. Unlike tenon saws, which invariably have closed handles, dovetail saws either fist grip or pistol grip handles.

The Razor saw is a hobbyist tool which is as thin as a double edged razor blade with teeth along the edges. On one edge is the “fine” edge and on the other is the “even finer” edge. Only a jeweller’s saw would provide such a fine cut, but probably with less control. And the “finer” edge is, well, even finer. When using the saw carefully run your fingers along the edges to determine which is the fine or finer of the two edges. It is also great for cutting resin pieces.

A keyhole saw is a fine-toothed handsaw with a long, narrow, tapered blade. Keyhole saws, also called pad saws or jab saws, are used mostly for cutting tight curves and, by first drilling a pilot hole, closed inside cuts, in materials such as wood, hardboard, plastic, and metal.  They work well for making openings for pipes and electrical boxes, and almost any straight or curved internal cuts that are too large for an auger bit, a drill, or a hole saw. Because keyhole saws cut on the pull stroke and have very sharp teeth, they make clean cuts even in hard-to-get-at areas.

Keyhole saw blades are typically 10" to 12" long. They may be fixed or retractable. Keyhole saws with fixed blades are the more common and less expensive type. The retractable blade variety usually have a cast iron handle or, in some cases, a wooden handle. The ability to retract the blade to an optimum length helps prevent unwanted flex to the blade should the full length of the blade be obstructed in some way. A quality keyhole saw has removable blades with a variety of tooth spacings for cutting different materials.

With the advance of specialized building methods and materials, designs specific to these trades have been developed. For example, one type of keyhole saw has a sharpened point at the tip of the blade, which can be pushed or jabbed through soft materials such as drywall without pre-drilling a hole for the blade.

That will do for today, next time we will talk about Protective equipment and a few maintenance issues.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


One of the most versatile saws for your workshop is the crosscut saw, it is a handy tool for cutting timber, making furniture and for other wood-cutting tasks. Used properly it will last you for years and give you much pleasure.

What a Crosscut Saw Does
A crosscut saw is a handsaw for manually cutting wood across the grain it includes a blade and a handle. The blade edge below the handle is the heel and the opposite end is the toe. The numerous cutting teeth between the heel and toe have alternating cutting edges. Each cutting tooth cuts with one edge and pushes the sawdust out with the other. Crosscut saws have 8 to 15 pointed teeth per inch.
Safely Using a Crosscut Saw
To safely use a crosscut saw, draw a straight line on the piece of wood you want to cut. Firmly hold or fasten the wood, with a clamp, so that it will not move during cutting. Place the saw's central teeth on the line opposite you and push the saw in a short stroke to start the cut. Once started, pull and push the saw to cut the wood and let the saw do the cutting in a smooth motion, making sure the cut follows the line. When nearly done, make sure the end of the wood being cut is held and will not splinter due to the unsupported weight.
For safety, always be aware that the teeth of a crosscut saw are sharp and pointed. Placing them point-down on an object or a body part will cut it.
Maintaining a Crosscut Saw
Crosscut saws require periodic sharpening by a professional saw sharpener or with a quality saw sharpening tool available at hardware stores. Keep your crosscut saw sharp for safety and for optimum cuts and in between uses a very thin rub down with oil will keep the blade in good condition and rust at bay. The best storage method is to hang the saw on a hook in the shed or garage.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

welcome to my tool blog

Do you like handtools or powertools or a combination of both? Let me know and I will try to help with any questions you might have in relation to use, maintenance and projects.