A great solution.

I have always failed to cut consistently, there is something gammy about the way my arm and hand works. I have tried every saw that I can reasonably put my hands on, but the results are rarely satisfactory.

I am sure I have the basics sorted; sharp blade, job well marked all around, job in jaws that protect the piece, feet planted shoulder width apart, arm in line with the cut, cut height so the sawing forearm is 90degrees to the upper arm, gentle start on the pull, easy motion, not fast nor furious, finish gently supporting the piece…blah, blah, blah. Result: wobbly cut.

I put it down to repetition. Once a week is just not enough. Hand sawing must be one of those 10,000 hour skills, and I am nowhere near the number. I need to be an apprentice carpenter 40 years ago.

Hand sawing is often much quicker than setting up the power tools, especially for me and my Triton (which is, unhelpfully, the best bench I have). It is definitely one of those skills you should have. I envy those who can take to a 100x100cm piece of wood (hard or soft) and cut is squarely off, every time.

When approaching a panel cut, where you need to lop up a plywood sheet, you are faced with the option of clearing the space, marking up, setting up a circular saw guide (including calculating the easy-to-forget blade to guide distance), clamping, safety gear, pause the iPod thing you are listening to, take your life in your hands…etc.


You can mark up, whip out your Japanese razor saw, slice away, and fix the edge with your trusty Stanley #78.

The Stanley #78 is no Lie Neilsen, it is light and hard to set accurately, so it can bite easily. But with a sharp blade and adjustable guide, it is a very helpful tool for cleaning up the edges of thin sheets. A few passes will knock out that saw wobble.

Be careful it can roll easily and your spoil the square edge, and it will take off a lot of material, so leave some for the plane when sawing.

In the photo you can see the guide, this keeps the plane on track sitting square. Take care, it will mark your work for you push against the guide or twist the track of the tool. Pleasantly, it works equally well sideways with the sheet lying on the bench, guide on top supporting the Stanley #78, a common position for large sheets.

I have used the guide’s mounting slide, set on either side, with a dowel inserted over it, as a guide when lapstrake planking. I used it to bevel the planks to accept the next plank on my Whilly Boat. It has a useful bull nose fitting for the blade to get into corners which I have used twice (hard to adjust the blade finely in this position, feels like an after-thought by Stanley).

So I commend this little gem to your tool box. Should you need an excuse for buying a tool.

About paulatkins

I own a 3rd generation family businss printing for lovers of photography. My favourite hobby is building and sailing wooden boats.
This entry was posted in Tools, Uncategorized, Whilly Boat, wood work. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A great solution.

  1. MIchael Jansen says:

    Now that is an heirloom tool. I am sure one could buy new one, but what would be the point? This baby has seen some good action, and will for years to come.

  2. paulatkins says:

    I think I had a red one, but I can’t find it. If I do it will yours to borrow Michael.

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