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The newest book from Popular Woodworking Books, “Handsaw Essentials” has my name on the cover. But that’s really a marketing move that you should ignore. The book is a quite good compilation of all the saw stuff that has appeared in Popular Woodworking and Woodworking Magazine during the last decade .

There’s great articles from Adam Cherubini, Frank Klausz, Ron Herman, Megan Fitzpatrick, Glen Huey and others. And yeah, I wrote a lot of stuff, too.

But even if you own everything that everyone has written about saws in the 20th century, you still might want to consider this book because it includes the complete (and I think important) book H.W. Holly’s “Art of Saw Filing.”


This book is a no-nonsense guide to filing saws written by an opinionated long-time saw filer. (Question: Have you ever met a saw filer who wasn’t opinionated or cranky? I haven’t.) Anyway, I loaned my original copy of Holl’s 1869 classic to the publishers so they could publish it and spread the knowledge far and wide without having to pay $100 for the book.

What else is in the book?

One of my favorite articles by Klausz – his “last word” on dovetails. Of everything Klausz has written, this article captures his Hungarian voice and approach to the joint.

Herman contributed an excellent introduction to miter boxes and how to select the right-sized handsaw for your arm length. Both chapters are things that have never been printed before.

And there is the chapter “The Secrets to Sawing Fast” by Cherubini. This is, hands down, one of the most controversial articles ever written about saws. in fact, when we first published it (under a different headline), it created the first-ever screaming match in the Popular Woodworking office. Honest.


And there are loads and loads of articles and bits on technique, selecting the right saws and reviews, reviews, reviews. I think they included all the saw reviews I’ve written that pertain to saws that are still available (and some that aren’t).

So if you want to dive headfirst into the world of hand-powered saws, I cannot think of any better resource out there today. Yeah, my name is on the cover. But I don’t receive one red cent from the sale of the book – F+W owns all the rights to the material. I’m not telling you this to elicit sympathy, but to let you know that it’s a good book that I have no financial interest in.

The book is 312 pages, hardbound, with a dust jacket and is printed in the United States. To order it for $34.99, visit here.

— Christopher Schwarz

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