Today I got the magazine’s staff involved in evaluating carcase saws for the Autumn 2009 issue of Woodworking Magazine. But before I could cut the staff loose on the saws, I had to make sure the tools were all dull.
Yup. Dull. When new saws come into the shop, the burrs left behind by filing the teeth can make the saw difficult to start and grabby in the kerf. Before I ever decide if I like a saw or not, I try to give it a workout to wear those burrs down a bit.
I’ve found that after about 20 or so cuts through 3/4″ x 2″ in hardwood, two things happen: Most of the burrs have been reduced to where the saw will start to float through the work. And two: I know if the tote is going to maim my hand.
So this afternoon I broke in all our carcase saws by making cuts in cherry until their cutting action stopped improving.
With many tool reviews, the differences between the tools or machines are slight. Try testing cabinet saws and you’ll see why some people resort to pseudo-science with dial calipers, made-up testing machinery involving a coke-addled albino rat and lab coats (nothing says “official” like a lab coat).
But I suspect this test will be different. All of the saws cut well, but boy do they feel different. Some are nose-heavy. Some feel full in the hand. Others cut as smooth as duck butter. Stay tuned.
– Christopher Schwarz
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