by Christopher Schwarz
I’m not a fan of multi-tools. In my experience they are marketing gimmicks that do nothing particularly well. But the new Brooklyn Tool & Craft Hardware Store Saw is a huge exception to that rule.
This short panel saw is the ideal toolbox saw. Thanks to its ingenious tooth pattern it rips and crosscuts quite well. Its deep tooth gullets refuse to clog with sawdust. And while the tote is unapologetically machine-made, it actually feels fantastic in use, even after you make more than a dozen cuts right in a row.
And if that were all the saw offered, I’d still write a positive review. But the Hardware Store Saw is even more amazing because of its infomercial-like qualities:
■ It’s a try square! The front cheek of the hickory tote is 90° to the saw’s spine. And it really is square enough for woodworking.
■ It’s a rule! The spine is etched with both metric and Imperial measurements.
■ A protractor! You can lay out angles of 15°, 30°, 45°, 60° and 75° using holes perforated in the sawplate.
■ A calculator! Convert fractions to decimals to metric on the chart etched on one face of the saw.
■ Lay out dovetails! Set a bevel gauge to 1:6 or 1:8 using the angles on the sawplate.
■ And more!
Do you need all that stuff? During an intense two-week workout where this was my only saw, I was surprised how often I used the “gizmos” on the .030″-thick sawplate, especially the try square function. After a while it became second nature to lay out my cuts and execute them all with the saw.
So what’s the catch? The blade is short – only 153⁄4″ long – so it’s going to cut slower than a traditional 26″-long saw. You also will have to get used to the short sawblade so you aren’t constantly pulling the saw out of the kerf and slamming the sawplate against your work.
Second demerit: The etching on the early version I used left black marks on my work for the first 100 cuts or so. After that, it didn’t mark the work. (The saw’s developers are working to eliminate the problem, but it’s not a big deal after you break the saw in.)
Once you clear those hurdles, you’ll quite like the saw. It’s the perfect companion for trips to the lumberyard. It’s tough enough to use in the parking lot so you can trim your work so it will fit in your car. But it’s good enough for finish cuts in the shop, too.
Oh, and one more important feature: Unlike other toolbox saws, this one can be resharpened; it even offers filing instructions right on the sawplate. This is a permanent saw – not something destined for the garbage after a few years of use.
From the November 2015 issue
Buy it here