One of the interesting features of a frame saw is that one can use it as a push saw (with enough tension on the blade) or as a pull saw. Which is more appropriate, if there is such a thing?
I thought about this while in the process of resawing some beech, a bear of a process when the board is a 13.5″ wide slab. I had the saw in at roughly 45-80 degrees and it seemed to me that it was much faster pulling than pushing. What could have caused this, other than not enough blade tension?
As pretty much anyone will tell you, during ripping, your saw teeth are acting as little chisels and are hopefully shaped as such. But then wouldn’t the factor of grain orientation come into play?
- When pushing into a board with the tooth side of the blade at an acute angle to the board, you are generally sawing with the grain, as you would with a plane.
- When pulling out of the board, you are sawing into the grain, invoking tearout.
If you tear out, is that a bad thing? It seems to me that it would be faster because your saw would be continuously digging itself into the fibers. Of course, it would be tougher work. Would it also help avoid tracking the grain?
Think of the Japanese timber saws (stuff like the Kobiki Nokogiri or whatever its name is) — these are notoriously quick pull saws.
Well, I think I’ll do some more sawing to see what I like in practice. Probably with something other than a 13.5″ wide chunk of beech, though.
[Edit: Check out this blog post that a friend dug up for me. They’re ripping chestnut logs in a demonstration of traditional techniques, letting lots of people try. The big saw is called “Oga Kobiki” (大鋸) or “Daigiri” or something like that. Check out the angle they’re using in the wood versus the rake angle of the teeth.]