Last month I was back at the CT Valley School of Woodworking to teach a two-day class on building a backsaw. I’ve taught this class several times now at different schools, and this one was by far the biggest with 9 students (previous classes have been in the 3 to 6 range). But that wasn’t the most remarkable thing about this class.
What was most remarkable came shortly after class began when I took a quick poll of how each student would be filing their saw. Each student is given a 12 inch saw plate punched to 14 points per inch and given the choice of filing it rip, crosscut, or with a combination sash saw filing.
I asked for a show of hands…anyone for rip filing? No one.
Crosscut?? No body.
Sash filing??? Everyone.
Yup….every single student wanted to file their saw with a combination of rake and fleam like a traditional sash saw, and I hadn’t even opened my mouth AT ALL about tooth geometry and function (rare…..indeed!). Apparently, all of the students had been reading the blog and were enamored with the idea of a traditional sash saw that could both rip and crosscut with aplomb.
Well, I was blown away. I figured this meant one of two things: either I am the greatest salesman in the world and could convince Peter Follansbee to take up pit sawing, OR I have clearly unlocked some long repressed, innate desire in hand tool craftsman to reclaim the ingenuity and practicality of their ancestral heritage.
Okay…..maybe I’m being a little mellow dramatic. But you get the point…..it’s pretty cool. Right? I was flattered and over-joyed that this bright-eyed band of fellow galoots were ready to join me on my quest to promote this most wonderful and under-appreciated tool.
And, as always, the best part of class for me was watching as each one of them removed their freshly sharpened saw from their saw vise and took the first few cuts. Their eyes light up…their mouths hang open…and of course, the ubiquitous phrase flows from their lips….”Wow….I never knew a saw could do that!”
Heaven, man…..pure heaven. And take a look at their results in the pic above….proof that these guys not only made wonderful functioning saws, but gorgeous works of art as well.
And I’m very happy to report that Bob (Van Dyke…patriarch of CT Valley School) was so impressed with the results that he’s already scheduled another ‘Build a Backsaw’ class on November 17th and 18th. Details and registration info here. And you don’t have to file your saw with a combination tooth…you can file it dedicated crosscut or rip if you want. But there is free Kool-Aid at the door. All you can drink. Its good. Everyone liked it. Just sayin’.
Oh…and if you’re curious about the class, about sash saws, or about the school in general, they’re having their annual open house this Saturday September 15th from 9am to 3pm. It’s a grand old time with TONS of great demos. I will be there with my sharpening rig, as well as some prototype backsaws that I’ve been building. I probably won’t be able to do much on the spot sharpening, but if you’d like to drop off a saw to save on shipping, I’ll gladly take all you’ve got. Full details here: CT Open House 2012.
See you there!