Controlling the saw

Rip- and crosscut-saws should be gripped as shown in Figure 50, with the angle of cut low to start with and raising the saw to about 45° as the cut proceeds. At the commencement of the cut the 'heel' or handle end of the saw should be placed square to the wood, and with the thumb of the left hand resting lightly against the blade to steady it. After the cut has been established with one or more upward strokes the thumb should be withdrawn and the full downward strokes commenced with moderate pressure only until the back edge of the plank has been reached; the left hand should then be brought over the front of the saw to grip the unsupported

wood which will otherwise splinter off. Some professional workers end with one powerful downward stroke which severs the remaining fibres without splintering, but it must complete the cut in one sweep and requires a little judgement. Tenon- and dovetail-saws are similarly held, with the left thumb supporting the blade on the marked line and in a truly upright position, but if the dovetail-saw has an open handle then the forefinger can lie along the top of the saw, enabling it to be pointed very accurately, pistol fashion. Some workers knock the set off the fine dovetail-saw by running a file lightly along the side of the teeth, which gives a finer cut. but the teeth must be in good condition.

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