I had to go to a doctor, just to find out that I have HTF. Hand Tool Fever. It is very similar to New Tool Acquisition Syndrome (NTAS), the only major difference being that not all the hand tools have to be “new.” Unfortunately, there really is no known “cure,” however; death, having to flee one’s home in the middle of the night, and being shipwrecked on a deserted island are about the only things that can cure HTF. And I was just informed that loss of limbs might make the symptoms go away, but I shudder at the thought of this.
Case in point; I recently got a “new” rip saw. Hey, I really did need it! You know, for the Hand Tool School? Besides, my Stanley rip saw just doesn’t cut it anymore, if you will excuse the pun. It actually works better as a cross-cut saw than a ripper. So you see, sometimes the only way you can relieve the symptoms of HTF is to actually buy a tool.
Now here’s the serious part. There are a myriad of different types of rip saws, and I do not have the funds to buy a brand new high-end saw that might not be right for me. So I went to Matt Cianci, the author of “The Saw Blog.” I have been reading his blog for a couple of months, and this guy knows saws. So I asked him, “what would be the right rip saw for me?” I explained what I would be using for, the type of wood I usually use and their thicknesses, and we even determined the correct length of saw for my body size. I told him that I was reluctant to buy an older saw myself on eBay, and he said that he could find one for me and even tune it up. It did not take too long for Matt to find a very pretty Atkins #53 rip saw (mostly likely made in the 1920’s to 1930’s). Then he sharpened it up and mailed it to me. Of course I paid him the saw, and for his services which were extremely reasonable.
When you are an orthodox Jew, you don’t work on Shabbos (Saturday), so when the mail truck pulled up and delivered the package I was excited, but it was forbidden for me to open it up. You don’t know how hard it was for me not to touch that package. I was like a dog with a treat balanced on its nose waiting for his master to give the okay. As soon as Shabbos was over, I was on that package like white on rice. I knew what the package was, but my three little girls and wife did not know. So I unwrapped it very slowly, making sure that they could not see it until it was fully released from its packaging. You should have heard all the wild guesses about what it could be! Once I popped the saw out, that look of joy on their faces instantly disappeared. However my face lit up! First thing Sunday morning, I was out in my shop testing the saw on the saw bench I made for the Hand Tool School. It was a smooth and straight ripper! It’s hard to describe the joy you feel when you use a properly working hand tool for the first time. Ahhhhhhhhh, a little bit of heaven.
Matt filed the rip teeth with 5 degrees of negative rake. With the 6 points per inch, it should be able to handle all of the woods I usually use with a good compromise between speed and smoothness. Oh how sweet it is!
Naturally one can’t have just one good hand saw, I need a good cross-cut hand saw too. So I already emailed Matt and he is looking for a Disston D-8. If you also suffer from Hand Tool Fever, and you need information about hand saws, then I can not recommend Matt’s blog enough.
When I think about it, my Hand Tool Fever is not too bad. Right now I only want; a good tenon saw, drawbore pins, dividers, a scrub plane, low angle block plane, a bigger brace, a plow plane, a set of molding planes…… well, errrr. Yea, I got it bad.