Splitting the Line
Whenever I demonstrate handsawing, someone usually asks this question: “Should you saw right on the knife line or next to your line?”
I answer: “It depends. Usually I split the knife line.”
They usually respond with something like: “Yeah, and I’m a Chinese jet pilot.”
So I show them. And now that we have a cool new macro lens at the magazine, I can show you, too. Above is the shoulder of a dovetail joint I cut this morning. The knife line at the edges was made with a cutting gauge.
I am not showing off. This is easy to do with a sharp saw and a little practice. Not years. Not months. It takes just a couple days, really.
Here’s my advice: Practice. Don’t practice on a real project. (There’s a reason that surgeons practice on cadavers.) Practice on scrap. After a few hours of work you’ll find it easy to follow a line. After a few more you’ll cleave a knife line in twain.
Other sawing advice can be found in my treatise on sawing in the Spring 2008 issue.
– Christopher Schwarz
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