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Cross cut vs rip cut for joinery saws

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Forum topic by Evansm22 posted 05-12-2022 12:42 AM 836 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Evansm22

4 posts in 47 days


05-12-2022 12:42 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tpi joinery saws hand saws

So I haven’t done much in the way of work with hand tools until the past year but I finally invested in a high quality dove tail saw and I love it. I was reading up on joinery saws and found a Paul Sellers video in which he says a rip cut filed saw will cross cut just as well as a dedicated cross cut blade if it’s 10 TPI or more. I’m curious what others think about this. My dovetail saw is rip filed and seems to cross cut just as well, but is there any particular benefit to keeping all the blades rip filed? The only thing I can think of is for easier sharpening.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


21 replies so far

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

4492 posts in 3290 days


#1 posted 05-12-2022 02:12 AM

I’m sure Paul Sellers has been woodworking long enough to make most any type of saw work for him.
I recommend you have a cross cut saw and a rip saw to get started.
That’s what I use.
Maybe someday I’ll be able to have one saw for all my handcut joinery. I wouldn’t recommend it for starting out
Good Luck

-- Aj

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Madmark2

3485 posts in 2080 days


#2 posted 05-12-2022 02:38 AM

A rip saw will cross cut (sorta) but a cross cut saw doesn’t rip well.

Have you seen the reasonably new triangular profile blades that cut equally well no matter what?

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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SMP

5383 posts in 1397 days


#3 posted 05-12-2022 03:10 AM


So I haven t done much in the way of work with hand tools until the past year but I finally invested in a high quality dove tail saw and I love it. I was reading up on joinery saws and found a Paul Sellers video in which he says a rip cut filed saw will cross cut just as well as a dedicated cross cut blade if it s 10 TPI or more. I m curious what others think about this. My dovetail saw is rip filed and seems to cross cut just as well, but is there any particular benefit to keeping all the blades rip filed? The only thing I can think of is for easier sharpening.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

- Evansm22

This doesn’t make sense because I have followed Paul Sellers and he personally uses like a custom hybrid file pattern. And he says only under 10ppi then go crosscut? I’ve never seen a fine 5 ppi crosscut saw from say Disston etc. I feel like something got mixed up there

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MikeTN

4 posts in 479 days


#4 posted 05-12-2022 12:46 PM

I use a rip filed dovetail saw for crosscutting very frequently and to great effect. it all has to do with the small teeth relative to the size of wood fibers and the width of the piece being cut. The dust being generated has to be cleared from the cut and the process works better if the piece being sawed is around two inches or less for saws having around 12 TPI or more. Fewer TPI causes the teeth to lift the fibers instead of effectively severing them while the higher TPI on a sharp saw manages quite well. it still works on wider pieces but becomes less effective as the width increases. My crosscut back saws are reserved for wider stock and are the most seldom used saws in the shop. All you have to do is try the various saws for the different sawing tasks and you can see the end results. I tend to go with what works instead of what I read. If I had to eliminate a saw from my shop it would be the crosscut cut short backsaw.

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AlanWS

220 posts in 5050 days


#5 posted 05-12-2022 01:11 PM

The advantage of using a crosscut saw is the cleaner cut. If you use a rip saw with small teeth and you prepare the entry with what Sellers calls a knife wall, you can get a clean entry that way. Tage Frid used bow saws with a very thin plate (because tension held them flat) all filed rip. It works, but you need the knife wall in more situations.

-- Alan in Wisconsin

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tvrgeek

2403 posts in 3141 days


#6 posted 05-12-2022 01:22 PM

Dovetail, usually rip.
Tenon saw, again usually rip
Carcass saw, crosscut.

All of these will have way less set than a panel saw as shown above. ( Those Fatmax are great “round the house” but not a joinery tool IMHO. )

Or get a Ryoba and see if you can learn it. I had a cheap one and could never cut strait, but bought a better one and I am slowly learning it. Harder to steer, but if you start strait, it tends to stay so. Plus, with no back it is not limited in depth.

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SMP

5383 posts in 1397 days


#7 posted 05-12-2022 04:25 PM


. ( Those Fatmax are great “round the house” but not a joinery tool IMHO. )

- tvrgeek

You have obviously not seen Richard Maguire use his orange plastic Irwin hardware store saw!

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controlfreak

3869 posts in 1093 days


#8 posted 05-12-2022 04:52 PM

I ran into this last night. I have been milling stock for a box to store my carving chisels in. It has been mostly a labor of hand tool love. I cut all the parts out of a shelf harvested from a large wardrobe, Sapele or Mahogany I don’t know but it looks nice. I sized all starting with larger cross cut and rip saws and as I got close to marking gauge lines switched to planes. I will say I am getting my planes to work well, so all were S4S but needed to refine length. Shooting board on one end of all and a knife wall (Sellers student) for the other. Now to finally tie this in to the OP’s question. I went to reach for my saw and stopped to contemplate “Tenon or Dovetail?” Dovetail is very fine and that is good but my cheap Lynx tenon has a cross cut filing pattern although very fine. I decided to use the tenon saw but in retrospect I probably should have tried one with each. All that blah blah said I did bind a bit probably due to poor saw motion but I can only imaging it to be worse with dovetail saw, more testing required. Now onto Dovetails.

View Derek Cohen's profile

Derek Cohen

541 posts in 5460 days


#9 posted 05-22-2022 12:52 AM

You can use a rip dovetail saw for a crosscut as the teeth are small. For example, one might do this on the shoulders of a tail board. Smaller teeth (say, 20 tpi) will produce a cleaner result than larger teeth (15 tpi). It also depends on the hardness of the wood, with soft Pine prone to tearing out more than hardwoods.

Regards from Perth

Derek

-- Buildiing furniture, and reviewing and building tools at http://www.inthewoodshop.com

View Sylvain's profile

Sylvain

1684 posts in 3991 days


#10 posted 05-22-2022 08:45 AM

https://paulsellers.com/2014/03/questions-answered-3/

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn (and that is nice)

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MrRon

6333 posts in 4735 days


#11 posted 05-22-2022 06:04 PM

When you are making a dovetail or box joint cut, you are usually making it on the end of a board which is a rip cut. You are cutting parallel to the grain of the board. Although you can use a crosscut saw for a dovetail, a rip is the correct blade.

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MrRon

6333 posts in 4735 days


#12 posted 05-22-2022 06:13 PM



I ran into this last night. I have been milling stock for a box to store my carving chisels in. It has been mostly a labor of hand tool love. I cut all the parts out of a shelf harvested from a large wardrobe, Sapele or Mahogany I don t know but it looks nice. I sized all starting with larger cross cut and rip saws and as I got close to marking gauge lines switched to planes. I will say I am getting my planes to work well, so all were S4S but needed to refine length. Shooting board on one end of all and a knife wall (Sellers student) for the other. Now to finally tie this in to the OP s question. I went to reach for my saw and stopped to contemplate “Tenon or Dovetail?” Dovetail is very fine and that is good but my cheap Lynx tenon has a cross cut filing pattern although very fine. I decided to use the tenon saw but in retrospect I probably should have tried one with each. All that blah blah said I did bind a bit probably due to poor saw motion but I can only imaging it to be worse with dovetail saw, more testing required. Now onto Dovetails.

- controlfreak

For a tenon joint, you are cutting across the grain and also cutting with the grain, so you really need both saws to execute the complete cut, but generally we use only one saw. The crosscut would be best as it cuts well both cross and rip.

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

1621 posts in 1403 days


#13 posted 05-22-2022 11:45 PM

If you hand cutting the joinery, have you considered using the ‘pull saw’ or ‘flush cut saw’. A japanese style pull saw like this one, has different size teeth on each side of the blade. https://www.menards.com/main/tools/hand-tools/hand-saws-saw-blades/double-blade-fine-cut-pull-saw/213103/p-1444436145584-c-9123.htm?tid=8924494037686999280&ipos=2 This one may not be the best quality. But works for me.

Menards also offers this dovetail saw https://www.menards.com/main/tools/hand-tools/hand-saws-saw-blades/irwin-reg-7-3-4-plastic-handle-dovetail-hand-saw/2011491/p-1534228089619-c-9123.htm

View Derek Cohen's profile

Derek Cohen

541 posts in 5460 days


#14 posted 05-23-2022 01:05 AM


So I haven t done much in the way of work with hand tools until the past year but I finally invested in a high quality dove tail saw and I love it. I was reading up on joinery saws and found a Paul Sellers video in which he says a rip cut filed saw will cross cut just as well as a dedicated cross cut blade if it s 10 TPI or more. I m curious what others think about this. My dovetail saw is rip filed and seems to cross cut just as well, but is there any particular benefit to keeping all the blades rip filed? The only thing I can think of is for easier sharpening.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

- Evansm22

I think that I should clarify my earlier comments.

In essence, Paul is correct, however I would argue (from experience) that anything below 15 tpi rip is not recommended to saw across the grain. A rip dovetail saw with 20 tpi (used for soft wood or 1/2” and under boards) will work very nicely as a crosscut saw. The 10 tpi end of the spectrum is quite coarse. This would be a saw for tenon cheeks. You would want a crosscut saw for the shoulders.

The reason Japanese saws work so well on both rip and crosscuts is that they have such fine teeth. 24 – 32 tpi is not uncommon. Even the coarser teeth, in the 12 – 15 tpi range work well because many of these saws have crosscut teeth, and the teeth are shaped differently from Western teeth.

The article linked to by Paul Sellers is to be avoided. He writes with some truth but with such an overlay of bigotry. Everything to him is about cost, and he does this to appear the saviour of woodworking. Yet he is all about making money – the pot calling the kettle black. Japanese impulse hardened saws are not made this way to encourage a throw away society. These saws last a long time. I have had some for over 10 years. They cost about 1/10 of the Western version. How many here actually sharpen their Western saws? I do … I also make my own, and own some of the best production backsaws as well. If you do enough handsawing of joinery, you need to sharpen your own saws.

Article: http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ShopMadeTools/MakingADovetailSaw.html

You may not need a crosscut filed saw for the tail board when nipping off the ends in dovetailing. A small-toothed rip filed saw will work just fine. However, you do need some fine crosscut filed backsaws for shoulders if you want to do the best work. One work-around is to saw close to a knifed line, and then finish with a chisel. The very fine toothed Japanese saws, however, can give you a finish cut off the saw.

Regards from Perth

Derek

-- Buildiing furniture, and reviewing and building tools at http://www.inthewoodshop.com

View Sylvain's profile

Sylvain

1684 posts in 3991 days


#15 posted 05-23-2022 10:43 AM

In essence, Paul is correct, however [...] Everything to him is about cost,

Derek Cohen

I guess if the OP ask himself if one saw is enough, it is because money might be a concern.

Once one has started woodworking, found it enjoyable and acquired some skill, one would surely want more than one saw.

In other articles, Paul Sellers even mention sharpening according to the task.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn (and that is nice)

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