Chris Schwarz's Blog

Andrew Lunn Becomes a Full-time Sawmaker

Custom sawmaker Andrew Lunn has become a part-time 911 paramedic to become a full-time sawmaker. Today is his first day on the job at Eccentric Toolworks.

“My idea from the beginning was simply to make the nicest saws I can, and that if I did that, everything else would work itself out,” Lunn wrote in an e-mail. “There always seems to be a market for high-quality work, whatever kind of work it happens to be. And sometimes when you have something in mind you just have to start making it, as it’s nothing someone else would maybe even think to ask you to make.”

You might remember the review I wrote of Andrew’s dovetail saw (find it here). Since then, I’ve been testing his carcase saw, which is also incredible. And while speaking to some Columbus-area woodworkers last month I got to handle a couple of Andrew’s panel saws. Everything I’ve seen of his is well-balanced, highly tuned and inspiring.

He says he currently has a fairly robust number of orders to fill and he will be using handmade saw-setting hammer (shown above) a lot more in the coming days. I hope to do my part to keep him busy , I’m reviewing his dovetail saw in the forthcoming Spring 2009 issue of Woodworking Magazine.

– Christopher Schwarz

21 thoughts on “Andrew Lunn Becomes a Full-time Sawmaker

  1. Ed Paik

    Way to go Andrew! It is exciting to have more tool choices available to the woodworking community. It gives me some hope that our community is still healthy despite the dissmal global economy.

    Many woodworkers can appreciate a craftsman made tool and understand the amount of time and effort that goes into making one. Your saws are fine examples of that and it took some serious b***s to do what you did. Alan and David have expressed my sentiments far better than I can!

    Mr Schwarz your blog entries always teaches, inspires and challenges. You are doing a terrific job.

    Best wishes again Andrew!

    Regards,

    Ed

  2. Marv

    Hi Andrew!

    Limburger cheese and rainbow bumper stickers. *smirk*

    I hope your transition was not too emotional as you drove home from your day job for the last time.

    Takes a lot of balls to jump out there, out from under that umbrella that you felt safe under for so many years.

    You are at your peak, being in your thirties. No better time to exercise your skills and expertise that you’ve been experimenting with for quite sometime now. It required lots of trials and errors to have arrived at the quality level that your craftsmanship is now producing. You will no doubt apply that same determination and stamina to producing a well oiled company that will equal the products your company will produce.

    Good luck, buddy,
    Your friend, Marv

  3. Rob Porcaro

    So much of our daily time is spent doing things we must push ourselves to do, that’s just the way it is. However, for each of us, there are a very few sacred endeavors that pull and compel us, that are in our soul, and cry for an investment of ourselves with the promise of deep fulfillment.

    Andrew, from reading about your work, I guess that saw making is such an endeavor for you. I have not used your saws, but I think they must be truly tools with a soul. There is great value in that. As another example, the high quality Japanese toolmaking tradition invokes this concept.

    By all means, bring the saws to market at whatever price you think appreciative users will bear. Enterprising work such as yours is a good and great thing. I wish you much success!

    Rob Porcaro

  4. David

    Some may note the comment that I posted on Chris’ original review of the saw where I was (justifiably, as it turns out) extremely skeptical of Andrew’s ability to put food on the table, much less pay for the materials to keep working, with the original price for the saw.

    It’s depressingly common for woodworking hobbyists to deplore a fair price for just about any hand-made woodworking tool, and respond on forums with something to the effect of "you paid WHAT for a Lie-Nielsen handplane!?! That’s highway robbery! I can get the same job accomplished with a rusty $5 flea-market plane". And, of course, they can. Yet they completely miss the point – plastic handled, mass-produced Stanely screw drivers from Home Despot will turn screws just fine, yet box-wood handled antique British sets go for several hundred dollars at tool auctions (and not all of us that own a set purchased them as collector’s items).

  5. Alan

    Andrew,

    I’ll watch your blog. I have a small sawmaker’s anvil that sits on a workbench, it’s only about 15 pounds. I was playing around with using a hammer on it. I see I would need to dress up the tip to allow it to be used on small teeth. My coordination is not good in trying to set some teeth, but I am fascinated in it and curious what you have had success with. Seems putting the tooth over the front edge of the anvil and giving a light tap may be the best way to do that.

    Whoa, these comments took a strange turn from when I looked yesterday, I must have seen this in my RSS feed just after Chris posted, since there were no comments.

    As a hobbyist sawmaker who is trying to make saws, I have been feeling that the prices on handsaws are too low, and as such fully support Andrew in trying to get a fair price for his work. For the folks that do not want to pay it, there are alternatives available which provide a less expensive saw which is functionally equivalent, but doesn’t require the amount of handwork. Lee Valley has opened the low end of the market with their new Dovetail saw. The LV saw seems to offer good value for folks like Dan Sayler who seem to find trouble with Andrew’s new pricing. OTOH, maybe Dan is just having trouble with how he perceives the sequence of events on Chris’ blog. I did notice the price increase on Chris’ blog was added to reflect the changes, on Jan 5, and Chris had changed that before he even posted this blog entry. At least I saw it changed before this entry here…

    The handsaw market has been blessed to have some great craftsmen offering quality tools at very low prices, as-is the case with Mike Wenzloff. I hope Andrew’s price increase gives folks like MikeW & sons an opportunity to consider a premium line of saws also, where the price more reflects the amount of craftsmanship put into the saw, as it does the quality of the product itself. For a craftsman to sell a tool for $150 just doesn’t allow much time to be put into each piece, and time is money after all, if you don’t believe it just try and make some saws yourself and see how long they take you. A $20 Crown gent’s saw offers a lot of value to folks that don’t want to spend the $$$s for a higher priced, premium tool…as does the used market…the answers are out there.

    Andrew’s work has been an inspiration to me, as has been other maker’s like Mike Wenzloff, and even Pete Taran’s work which morphed into LN’s handsaw line. Let’s hope that saw making will continue to provide the best tools possible to the world’s greatest craftsmen, at a fair price… ‘Nuff said…

  6. Christopher Schwarz

    I’d like to close this line of the conversation please.

    If anyone has anything to add about saws or woodworking please speak up.

    I’m off to go to the shop to cut some wood.

    Chris

  7. Raney

    I intend in no way to exalt the ‘well-known editors’ and imply sacred status to them. I am a lowly hobbyist as well. I do however have a profession. If someone who has no experience in my profession publicly upbraided me for ‘misperformance’ in my prfession, I’d likely become sarcastic with them as well. It’s a flaw, but one I happen to enjoy entertaining from time to time.

    Your opinion is yours, you are entirely entitled to it. Shout it from the rooftops. I don’t happen to agree with it, but that is an absolute non-issue to me. My sarcastic take on an unasked-for critique of journalistic norms and practices is, however, is mine to do with as I wish. Today I felt like shouting it from the depths of a blog commentary. Tomorrow I’ll just laugh and type nothing. Such is life.

  8. Chris C

    Raney,

    Your sarcasm seems to suggest that only well known editors
    of woodworking magazines are allowed to question anything
    that appears in these blogs or in the magazine. Us lowly
    hobbyists can’t call into question a potential editorial
    lapse, we simply must accept everything as gospel.

    Chris

  9. Raney

    I look very much forward to Messrs Sayler and "C"’s respective woodworking magazines, videos, classes, national conferences, astonishingly consistent emailings, and blogs. It would so benefit the woodworking community to finally have someone of integrity at the reins.

    I note with some interest the synhronicity of the post you’ve put on your Lost Art blog this week, Mr. Schwarz.

    Now where did I leave that dram of righteous indignation… I know it’s here somewhere.

    And congratulations, Andrew. I wish you much success.

  10. Chris C

    Chris S, I respectfully disagree with you because the
    actual review is really irrelevant to the argument.

    You wouldn’t "lose one way or the other" if you did what
    Chris F suggested: simply add an editorial comment to
    the original post noting the change and possibly giving
    an explanation(or referring to Andrew).

    Simply changing it flat-out gives the impression that you
    did not want readers to be privy to the original price. It
    DOESN"T MATTER if that is what you intended or not, the
    mere impression that might be the case is enough to
    call it into question.

    Chris C

  11. Christopher Schwarz

    Chris,

    A full discussion of this topic is outside the bounds of this blog, but please allow me to say this:

    I lose no matter what I do. If I don’t update the price, I get people howling. So I updated the price (it’s that accuracy thing again) and made a note of the effective date of the price.

    Personally, I think web pages should be constantly updated, but that’s also outside the bounds of this blog.

    So I still stand by the review. The change in price didn’t make the saw cut different, handle different or look different. I’d write the same review if the saw were $350.

    Chris

  12. Chris F

    I agree that the change in the cost of the saw isn’t the issue, but rather the possibility of problems with retroactively changing information posted online.

    In this case it’s not a big deal, but there have been other cases where much more serious information has been changed.

    Personally, I think it would have been better if Chris S. had left the original blog contents, but added a new comment (in parentheses maybe, or a different colour) indicating the new price and possibly the rationale for the hike.

    All that said, it looks like a very nice saw. Andrew, best of luck in your new endeavour.

  13. Chris C

    In Dan Sayler’s defense, I don’t think his issue was what
    the cost of the saw is/was one way or the other.

    I think what he was suggesting is the old post should
    have been left as is so people could draw their own
    conclusions. I am inclined to agree with him.

    Chris

  14. Andrew Lunn

    Thank you everybody for the well wishes and kind words. I appreciate them very much. This is a very exciting time. Your kind words mean a lot to me.

    Alan, I plan to rejuvenate my blog, so maybe I can do an entry on hammer setting. Just FYI, the anvil in the picture isn’t the one I use to set the teeth–that’s a big 250 lb anvil. I used it to forge the hammer. The bar of steel lying on the anvil beside the hammer is the bar of steel the hammer was forged from, just from the other end.

    Dan Sayler, boy you really know how to impress people–you publicly badmouth a tool maker you don’t even know, and implicate one of the finest woodworking writers alive today in a sinister plot of some kind. Nice work. You could have written me directly to ask why I raised my prices if it upset you that much. There is a letter I sent to my customers about it back at the beginning of January, and that letter was posted on my website until last week. These saws do cost more, and the reason they do is the amount of work that goes into each one. That’s it, plain and simple.

    Take care everyone,
    Andrew

  15. Mike

    Wonderful!

    My, our, most hearty congratulations and best of wishes to Andrew as he embarks on this path.

    Thank you Chris for both the original entry alerting people to Andrew and his saws, as well as this follow-up.

    Take care, Mike

  16. Christopher Schwarz

    You’re dang right I changed the price. And I added the line:

    "The price of all this amazingness? As of Jan. 5, 2009, it’s $350." The original piece was posted on Dec. 23.

    I did it to be accurate, nor Orwellian.

    Sorry to sound irritated, but I don’t take comments like this lightly.

    Chris

  17. Dan Sayler

    I imagine raising his prices 200$ per copy on the dovetail saw and more on the larger saws will help him get a handle on his backlog pretty quickly.

    What bothers me most though is that you Chris, edited your original blog post to remove any reference to this (pricing) and did so without a disclaimer. That you would deliberately stuff this particular information down the memory hole I find deeply disturbing, particularly in light of your journalism background. In fact I’d almost say down right sinister given the Orwellian ease in which it was applied.

    Perhaps in your zeal to help someone who hand crafts a spectacular product, enthusiasm overcame you. Perhaps it goes deeper. I couldn’t possibly know. I do know that you have a ever widening audience in the woodworking community and I hope to see you maintain the standards that got you there.

    With humblest regards,
    Dan Sayler

  18. Paul Kierstead

    Way OT, but that top pic creates a serious optical illusion of the picture being non-square.

    More on-topic, best of luck and business, Andrew!

  19. Alan

    Kudos to Andrew! It helps to be doing something with your heart!

    I’m fascinated with the hammer technique, I’ve read about it in some old text in reference but have never done this.

    Funny, I have an interesting hammer that could be used for this, one end comes to a small end. I might need to dress the tip up for this very purpose.

    The horn must be used to change the amount of set of the particular tooth being hit.

    Would be curious how Andrew does it, if he or anyone else is willing to share such…

    Beautiful saw!

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