Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
The Practical Prepper
Recently, I came across a hundred-year-old book on carpentry. Flipping through it, I was reminded of my father teaching my brother and I how to build and repair things around the house. The section on using a hand saw paralleled the skills my father taught us, but I don't know many people that learn the proper use of hand tools anymore (everything's powered saws now).
Of course, from a prepping point of view, having basic hand tools and knowing how to use them is a very good idea, and practical too. As an example, having a hand saw and being able to use it might allow you to make emergency repairs to your house or shelter in the aftermath of a hurricane or other natural disaster. If the power is out, a hand saw may be your only option.
Gripping the Saw
Hold the saw firmly during the initial cut or two; afterwards, hold the handle loosely. Holding the handle tightly will tire you quickly, and more so as you continue to cut on longer projects. Use one hand to hold and control the saw; the other hand is used to steady the material being cut.
How to Start a Saw on a Line
First, don't saw on the line; instead saw next to the line. Measure and draw the line so that the saw kerf (the saw's cut) is on the discarded side of the material. The saw should cut alongside the line, and the line should not be obliterated when you cut. Note: for fine woodworking, you may want to leave a little extra material for trimming and/or finishing.
The Starting Cut
Carefully use the thumb of the non-saw hand to guide the as shown. Be sure that the end of your thumb is raised a sufficient distance to clear the teeth:
Lightly draw the saw upward (not downward) for the first stroke or two. As you draw the saw up, you can judge whether the saw blade is in the proper position to cut along the mark. Assuming the saw is in the proper location, begin to saw downward.
When cutting across the grain of the wood, hold the saw at an angle of about 45 degrees:
For ripping (cutting along the length of the grain), you may get better results holding the saw at less than 45 degrees (but not too low an angle:
The Saw Stroke
Make a long stroke, using the full blade of the saw. Don't acquire a "jerky" style of sawing. If the handle is held loosely, and the saw is at the proper angle, the weight of the saw, together with the placement of the handle on the saw blade, will be found sufficient to make the requisite cut at each stroke. Also, never force the saw blade; forcing the saw through the wood will give you a crooked cut.
If you notice, the handle of every saw is mounted nearest the top/back edge. That position allows the saw to take advantage of the principle of a wedge. As the cutting stroke moves downward, the line of thrust is above the tooth line, which is at an angle to the line of thrust, causing the saw teeth to dig into the wood:
Believing that preparedness and self-reliance are key to individual freedom, Atticus Freeman is the founder of the Self-Reliant Info blog, in addition to authoring The Practical Prepper weekly blog here on Farm Dreams. Thanks for reading!
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