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HEcoverI spent what feels like the better part of 2013 thus far working on “Handsaw Essentials“; in reality, it was about 170 hours, spread over the previous nine months. But the gestation is complete – and I am downright giddy with relief to announce that the files are at the printer, proofs have been approved and we now have this forthcoming book available to order at (it should be in the warehouse and shipping at the end of the month).

Inside the 312-page “Handsaw Essentials” is collected more than a decade’s worth of blog entries and magazine articles, the vast majority of which are from Christopher Schwarz – but you’ll also find select articles and entries from other Popular Woodworking contributors and editors, including “Frank Klausz’s Final Word on Dovetails,” Adam Cherubini’s “The Secrets to Sawing Fast,” “The Forgotten Miter Box” by Ron Herman as well as saw reviews and posts about saws and sawing from me, Glen Huey, Bob Lang and more. Plus, we’ve included H.W. Holly’s classic book “The Art of Saw-Filing” (scanned from the third edition, which was printed in 1869).

Handsaw Essentials” is a printed-in-the-U.S.A., hardcover book with a cloth, foil-stamped cover and spine, and it’s covered with a snazzy four-color dust jacket. The interior is two-color (Pantone 7531 and black for those of you who love Pantone swatch books as much as do I) to mimic a sepia tone.

If these specs sound familiar, it’s because this book is part of the family that includes our Woodworking Magazine compilation books and the hardcover edition of “Handplane Essentials.” (Only volume 3 of the WM books remains available; “Handplane Essentials” is now available only in paperback or PDF format.)

Here’s the back cover copy:

Once you master the use of handsaws, you will be awed by the simple power of this humble tool. If you can see and follow a line – any line – you can cut the line. There’s no need for crazy setups or jigs; just grab the right saw and start cutting – any angle, any shape. Complex joinery becomes no more than a series of lines to cut on your stock.
     Yet many woodworkers – both beginners and professionals – are intimidated by handsaws.
     “Handsaw Essentials” – compiled from more than a decade’s worth of blogs entries and magazine articles – will change that. Christopher Schwarz and the editors and contributors to Popular Woodworking help you choose the right saw for your budget and project, use it successfully and keep it cutting like new.

The Basics
Learn the history of saws and for what the different forms are used. Decode their “set,” “fleam,” “ppi/tpi” and tooth geometry so you can focus on what each saw does. And figure out what specific saws you need in your shop.

Learn how to properly wield any saw – including effective techniques for dovetails, rip cuts, crosscuts and more. In short, you’ll learn to stay on the straight and narrow when tracking any line.

Saws of All Sorts
Find reviews and information on the fine saws available today: dovetail saws, tenon saws, full-sized handsaws, frame saws, Japanese saws, tenon saws, miter saws, gent’s saws and many more. You’ll get the information you need to decide on the best tool for your style of work and budget.  

‘The Art of Saw-Filing’
Discover H. W. Holly’s classic book “The Art of Saw-Filing: Scientifically Treated and Explained on Philosophical Principles.” You’ll learn the principles of saw construction and tooth configuration, plus how to stone, set and file your saws to keep them in top working order. We’ve included the third edition (published in 1869) in its entirety.

And here’s Christoper Schwarz’s opening essay, to entice you (please click the link to view and download):

Edit: I promised on Facebook last night to post the TOC, so here you are: HandsawEss_TOC

Order your copy of “Handsaw Essentials” now at

— Megan Fitzpatrick

p.s. “Handsaw Essentials” is available only through us and through select partners for at least six months.

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Showing 6 comments

    I’m looking forward to this one!

    It’s too bad that Chris has this typo in his opening essay.

    “No so with saws.”

    Give me a t!

  • Mike890

    Hi Megan, As i live in NZ shipping is a huge cost so I always purchase electronic copies (like I did with the Handplane book). I’m with Clay on this so hopefully you have something available soon? Cheers Mike

  • Clay Dowling

    Can we expect an electronic release to follow shortly after the print book is released? Working on a book stand for my shop, so I can have my tablet there, and this seems like a natural.

  • cagenuts

    Looking forward to this.

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