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Talk about Widely Varying Interests!

It is often surprising when you encounter people in the world who seem to be either overly concerned or way too knowledgable about a subject that is of little interest to most others. In the “Oldtools” world, there is quite a bit of discussion going on among the people in the group regarding various kinds of arcane objects and processes. For example, take the common saw. We use it to cut wood. No, I take that back. . . our fathers used to use it to cut wood. Nowadays, we use a circular saw or table saw, not the handsaw. SURPRISE! There are not only those who still use handsaws, but actually PREFER them over electrically-powered saws!

And when they get dull, they throw them away, right? WRONG! They get them sharpened? WRONG AGAIN! They sharpen them themselves, with a file. And they set them. Most people have never even heard of setting a saw, or know what a “sawset” is. Quick definition: the sawset is a thing used to bend the saw teeth out a little after they are sharpened. It makes the slot that the saw cuts a bit wider than the blade, so the blade doesn’t rub while going through the wood. If this seems interesting to you, select this link for a condensed (600-word) summary of a four-way discussion on sawsets, courtesy of Mike Davies.

And, believe it or not, there are those who are interested in HOW a saw cuts. Hmmm, the teeth rub the wood off? Not quite... To learn more about the subject, select this link and receive Steve LaMantia's 2300-word treatise on the difference between a Rip Saw and a Cross-Cut Saw.

But the very nature of the subject matter gives one the opportunity to play practical jokes on the participants. For a lighthearted look at an imaginary joinery technique that I tried to foist upon the group, take a look at the Viking Files.


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Gary Ilmanen
Saga Research
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