Around the Shop #23: Lets compare and review a Wally331 and LN back saw

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Blog entry by Don W posted 12-28-2013 10:34 PM 2450 reads 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 22: Walker Turner Lathe Restore. Fighting to the bitter end. Part 23 of Around the Shop series Part 24: Making room in the Shop »

Through wheeling and dealing and some horse trading, I wound up with a couple of nice back saws. As promised, a review and comparison.

The first is a Lie-Nielsen 10 tpi rip (top)
The second is this one. its 11 ppi crosscut (bottom)

Now I know its really not a fair comparison, they are two different saws, so think of it as more of a double review.

First, if you don’t know Wally331, you should read his profile.

Now on to the saws.

Both are very nice, but its easy to tell the LN is produced different. It has more of a mass produced look. Its not meant to be a negative comment, but Wally’s has a hand made feel.

I like the wood better in Wally’s although the cherry in the LN is nice, its just not as nice.

Next is the tote. The LN is square and could use some rounding to be more comfortable, or at least as comfortable as Wally’s. The LN is not uncomfortable, but you can feel the difference.

Both have a decent 3 finger hold for my hand.

Also the angle of attach is different, and it makes Wally’s just a little more comfortable.

They both cut superb. Obviously different since one is a rip and the other a crosscut, but I would put them equal as to sharp.

I did test cuts in poplar, oak and ash. I made both cross cuts and rips. All went extremely well.

I also like the hand made nuts Wally used. To some this may be a negative, but as a guy who make tools by hand, I am very impressed.

I should note when I got Wally’s saw the handle was loose. The wood had dried in transit. definitely not Wally’s fault and a little shim material did the trick.

Wally’s saw could use a little more set. He told me it may need a little more, and it could use it, but for a first saw, I am beyond impressed with it. I will add a little set the first time I have to sharpen it. I doubt that will be soon.

All in all I would give both saws a high rating. They both perform superbly.

But I have one huge dilemma. The woodworker in me wants to hang Wally’s saw in the shop and use the crap out of it, it’s just that nice. The collector in my however wants to make a display case and hang it with my collector planes. Who know what the very first saw of Wally331 will be worth in 20 years, should he follow his calling and become the next LN.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

13 comments so far

View CL810's profile


4118 posts in 4041 days

#1 posted 12-28-2013 10:39 PM

Very thorough review Don. Wally is off to a great start!

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View Brit's profile


8305 posts in 3895 days

#2 posted 12-28-2013 11:04 PM

Go Wally!

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View summerfi's profile


4383 posts in 2740 days

#3 posted 12-28-2013 11:09 PM

You’re a lucky guy, Don, to have Wally Saw serial number 001. That’s as good as a retirement plan. :-)

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works -- ~Non multa sed multum~

View Don W's profile

Don W

19983 posts in 3620 days

#4 posted 12-28-2013 11:15 PM

That’s good Bob, I was just telling Joe I needed a retirement plan.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View HerbC's profile


1820 posts in 3912 days

#5 posted 12-28-2013 11:25 PM

So, I thought you had invested your retirement funds in Stanley Planes…

I feel much better knowing you’ve decided to diversify and add Wall331 to your portfolio.

Beautiful saws.


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View terryR's profile


7642 posts in 3361 days

#6 posted 12-28-2013 11:47 PM

Excellent review, Don! +1 on the shop made split nuts showing more dedication to the tool.

I own 2 LN saws, and agree that the totes are squarish and lack the appeal of a hand made tool. They are not uncomfortable…just sterile IMO.

Cannot wait till my name comes up on Wally’s waiting list! :)

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View AnthonyReed's profile


10165 posts in 3493 days

#7 posted 12-29-2013 12:02 AM

Great to hear. Wally is off the blocks making terrific strides, that is wonderful.

Thanks for sharing Don.

-- ~Tony

View Slyy's profile


2840 posts in 2708 days

#8 posted 12-29-2013 03:03 PM

Sounds like the Wally is a winner by any measure! Excellent review!

-- Jake -- "Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us." - Neil Degrasse Tyson

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8574 posts in 3035 days

#9 posted 12-29-2013 03:46 PM

Thanks for the review Don. Can’t wait to try one myself.

Btw, LN uses curly maple on their saw handles, not cherry. I know, I’m a pain in the butt;-)

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View Don W's profile

Don W

19983 posts in 3620 days

#10 posted 12-29-2013 04:17 PM

Now I need to take a closer look Red. And here I was hoping it would darken with age.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Mauricio's profile


7166 posts in 4204 days

#11 posted 12-30-2013 12:55 AM

Damn, look at the skills on Wally! Great saw!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8574 posts in 3035 days

#12 posted 12-30-2013 01:52 AM

Ya Don, LN says they use curly maple on their website. Only reason I know is because I was curious when I got my LN dovetail saw. I’d never seen curly cherry like that.
Anyway, wonder if they use shellac or something to get the amber color.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View mafe's profile


13077 posts in 4142 days

#13 posted 01-04-2014 10:19 PM

Fine review Don.
From looking I also love the handmade one the best.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

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