Avoid Splintering with a Handsaw
There are two woodworking tools that we have forgotten the most about in the last 50 years: the steel framing square and the handsaw.
The steel framing square is essentially a jobsite calculator, and you can get up to speed on what it can do with one of several books. But handsaws are trickier to master. No one has written the be-all end-all book about using this simple tool.
So we have to gather the tips like breadcrumbs until someone does.
Here’s a fantastic breadcrumb from a 1961 pamphlet from Sears, Roebuck & Co. on handsaws. When crosscutting stock to rough length, always work with the bark side of the board facing you. That will reduce the chance of the board splitting as you finish the cut.
With the heart side of the board facing you, you are much more likely to remove a large jagged splinter from the part of the board you wanted to be perfect.
Note that this applies to rough-cutting boards only. In many cases when you make finish cuts the heart side of the board will face you as you make the cut.
— Christopher Schwarz