You have a dominant eye and a recessive eye (assuming you still have both eyes , and not three). And that fact can make your life as a sawyer a lot easier , or a lot harder.
If your dominant eye matches up with your dominant hand (dominant right eye and dominant right hand, for example) then you’ll find it easier to train yourself to shoot a gun, swing a golf club or cut a tenon. That’s because the eye directly over your work is controlling the show.
But if your dominant eye and dominant hand are on opposite sides of your body, you might find it more difficult to stay on line when sawing. I’ve had many woodworkers with this problem comment that this was a significant hurdle for them to cross when learning to saw.
So how do you find out if you are cross-dominant or not? There are tests that optometrists can perform with a 2″-diameter disc. Another common (if imperfect) test is to intertwine your fingers. Which finger is resting on top? Is it from the same hand that you write with? Then your eye and your hand match up , you should be good. But if your left finger is on top and you saw with your right hand, then you might want to try this trick:
Shut your dominant eye when you saw so that the non-dominant eye can do a little driving. If you are right-handed, try shutting your left eye to see if your accuracy improves. If you are left-handed, do the opposite.
Because Halloween is coming up, I’m plotting a trip to our local Halloween Express store to score some pirate eye patches to experiment with. Wearing a pirate eye patch when sawing is a good conversation-starter in my eye.
P.S. This Saturday, I’m going to be demonstrating at the Woodcraft store in Dayton, Ohio. One reader who is a golf pro has promised to stop by there to further my education in cross-eye dominance. So come by Saturday if you’d like some advice on how to saw, sharpen or plane , or where to get a good beer when in Cincinnati.