Hand Saw Foundations

$ 50.00
Hancock Shaker Bench

Foundations of Traditional Woodworking Series

Class Overview

This class focuses on the selection, use, and maintenance of hand saws through a combination of discussions, demonstrations and hands-on practice. Click here to learn about the other classes in this series.


Using a hand saw is a basic, but very important skill to master when learning to use hand tools to work wood. If you cannot follow a line with your hand saws, you will struggle to accurately dimension stock, and your joinery will not fit “off the saw”, requiring hours of extra time fine tuning the fit of each joint. Worse, your joinery may end up too loose, necessitating a repair, or ruining the joint entirely. So, it is vital that you can choose the correct saw for the task at hand and be able to use that saw confidently. That’s why Hand Saw Foundations is the first class in the Foundations of Traditional Woodworking series.

In this class I’ll show you what to look for, and what to avoid when you’re in the market for a good, Western style hand saw. I’ll go over the different types of hand saws and discuss each of their uses in the traditional hand tool workshop, focusing on those saws you’ll need the most as a new hand tool woodworker. I’ll cover the basics of maintaining your hand saws, including how to sharpen them, and set them up to perform at their best. Finally, I’ll show you how to properly use your hand saws to make straight, precise, efficient cuts, as we build a valuable workshop appliance, and a handsome piece of furniture.

There are no prerequisites for this class. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced woodworker looking to incorporate more hand tools into your work, your competence using hand saws will benefit from the topics and exercises covered in the course.

Topics Covered

  • Demystifying Saw Tooth Geometry
  • Western Saws vs. Japanese Saws
  • What Saws Do You Really Need?
  • The Mechanics of Hand Sawing
  • The Three Classes of Saw Cuts
  • Hand Saw Appliances
  • Sharpening and Maintaining Saws
  • Troubleshooting Poor Cutting Saws
  • Building a Hancock Shaker Bench

Course Features

  • Lessons 28
  • Quizzes 0
  • Duration 4 Hours 40 Minutes
  • Skill level All levels
  • Language English
  • Students 9
  • Assessments Yes

I'm a passionate woodworking enthusiast of over 30 years, with an interest in the methods of pre-industrial joiners and cabinetmakers. I'm a furniture maker, teacher, and author, and I share my thoughts and experiences with the goal of educating and inspiring others who are pursuing the craft of traditional woodworking. In addition to writing about and teaching traditional woodworking, I also build commission pieces for customers, and speak at woodworking shows and seminars.


Average Rating

1 rating

Detailed Rating


    A quality course - highly recommended

    It quickly becomes obvious that Bob is a master craftsman, but after a while it will also become obvious that Bob is also a master teacher. A lot of thought has gone into the design of this course to keep it highly focused on learning to cut straight and square. First time I've been able to cut perfect joints, that require no cleanup, straight off the saw. Having messed up a lot of previous saw cuts, this course has been a huge confidence builder. I used a Japanese Ryoba pull saw (SUIZAN Japanese Pull Saw Hand Saw 9.5 Inch Ryoba from Amazon) and an Olson coping saw (also from Amazon), Nothing special about the coping saw (and it is slow going with the standard blade), but the Ryoba saws are a way of removing saw restoration and sharpening skills as a prelude to learning to saw to a high standard. Sharpening and restoration i'm picking up in tandem with an old hand saw. Bob will teach you to stop fighting the saw. If you've messed up with your saw cuts, it is most likely because you're been fighting the saw or your saw wasn't sharp. Learning to use the saw the way it wants to be used is the key. When you're doing it right, it's easy. When you're doing it wrong, it's hard. Learning about 3rd class, 2nd class and 1st class saw cuts and when to use them and how to do them is the backbone of the course. Making a quality piece of furniture using just these skills is how the course ends. You'll need a sharp crosscut saw, a coping saw (for the curves) and a piece of 1"x10"x8' s4s(squared 4 sides) lumber. This is an online tutorial that works. Highly recommend this course. A suggestion - buy 2 pieces of lumber. Make the 2nd bench after your first. If your first bench was good quality, focusing on doing the 2nd quicker. If your first bench had any issues, focus on making the 2nd bench to a higher quality. One bench to keep, one bench becomes a present, to showcase your new woodworking skills.

$ 50.00