Recommend me a rip-cut hand saw

What hand saws would you recommend for rip cutting?

I’m not after a back saw, because I need to cut reasonably deeply, so a panel saw would probably be better. I’m guessing that 7 TPI would be good, but would welcome recommendations from more experienced woodworkers.

I have been very pleased with the hand saws that I have from Wenzloff & Sons. I have only 1 rip saw - not a Wenzloff - but a vintage (early 1900’s) panel saw from Henry Disston

Lee Valley has a limited selection of Wenzloff - and the Lee Valley site says that the panel saws are temporarily unaivailable :,42884,57152

but I think you can order a custom-made panel saw in 2 styles directly if you can wait:

I’d buy a rip saw on eBay and learn to sharpen it or buy from

And learn to sharpen it.


Good thought about a used saw. My old D8 rip saw was handed down through the family - belong first to one of my mother’s uncles who owned both Disston and Atkins saws - now in my shop.

I see older Disston hand saws from time to time at garage/estate sales - but some look to be more modern versions after the company was sold off. My understanding is that these 1960’s or 1970’s vintage Disston hand saws are nowhere near as good as the older ones. I also have seen some saws for sale with cracked or broken handles - but there are resources (patterns, applewood etc.) to help you restore/remake these. Missing teeth may be another issue - one or two may not be too bad if the price is right - but the old machines for re-toothing a saw may be hard to find.

As you point out - an old hand saw will probably need to have its teeth sharpened (perhaps jointed and set too) - and all the rip saws I know of seem to be easier than crosscut saws - because you can file them (probably as made in the factory) without introducing any fleam (although a few degrees of fleam will smooth out the cut).

Saw sharpening files are inexpensive (probably a 7 inch slim taper for a 5-1/2 or 6 point rip saw) , a saw vise can be made or bought and the learning curve for sharpening is not too steep.

Your link - shows that a good old rip saw might cost something like $200 and may be something like 26 to 28 inches long (I think Disston made ones from 22 to 30 inches) . My recommendation about Wenzloff - was made - thinking that it would work very well right out of the box. Learning to sharpen it - will still be a very useful skill.

I also thought that a shorter saw (20 inch) was more akin to modern thought on panel saw length and working a bit lower to the ground - although the extra length of the older saw may have the advantage of making straighter/easier cuts (letting the saw do the work as I was taught)


IMO some of the early 60’s saws are as good as earlier ones. You can get a serviceable panel saw from Brown’s auctions for $40-$60 U.S., as well as several other online sellers of le tools. More then like
it will need to be sharpened. The link I posted earlier has great instructions on how to sharpen a handsaw.

I wouldn’t limit the search to Disston alone, look at Atkins, Bishop and Simonds as well.


Good to know

I’m no saw collector - and as I said my Disston and Atkins saws were all hand-me-downs from original owners who were 2 or 3 generations removed from mine (folks born in the 19th century).
I hadn’t known about Bishop or thought about Simonds for hand saws (knew them more for SystiMatic saw blades and files). I also see some Simonns-Keen Kutter saws advertised for sale - and have no idea if they might be any good - but they seem to have asking prices that suggest that they might be Okay.
I do have a few vintage Keen Kutter hand-me-down tools - all for lead work - yarning irons, caulking irons etc. - no saws.

I picked up a pair of old saws, 1 rip and 1 cross cut. I got a cheap file and spent a couple nights sharpening them. They work great now

Good deal - Old is often better than new (as I keep telling my wife) and those saws should serve you for years to come.

Thought I add this link to a Lee Valley sharpening set that has a combined rake and fleam gauge:,43072,43086

Nobody has mentioned Japanese-style rip saws. Is there a reason? I’ve ripped with my double-edged ryobas, but not much. They seemed to work okay, but they weren’t the huge improvement that Japanese-style crosscut saws are.

Here’s a single-edged Japanese rip saw, just for reference.

I wasn’t around when this topic was posted over 5 years ago but I’m surprised of the lack of mention of Japanese saws as well. They were an epiphany for me when I first discovered them.
Bad Axe Saws makes some fantastic saws if you want something with a western style; their copy of the Disston D8 panel saw is nothing short of amazing, or if you want something smaller you can’t go wrong with any of their Tenon saws.

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In the end, I bought a Japanese saw and never looked back at Western saws. Is there any advantage to Western saws (I haven’t found one yet)?

Well, sometimes its good to have thick, stiff saw blades, and Western saws are typically heavier than Japanese to resist buckling. But you can get heavy Japanese saws too, and even the thinner ones often have a spine reinforcement that gives a lot of the same benefits (while cutting faster and cleaner, at least in crosscutting.)

Maybe some people prefer Western-style handles. But I’ve seen Japanese-style teeth on a Western-style back saw with traditional handle.

It’s easier to hand sharpen Western saws, with their short, blunt teeth. But I’d rather get replacement blades for my Japanese saws, or have them sent out for sharpening, than use Western saws.

So… you got me!

Wow, so you see a big advantage for Japanese saws in ripping too? Is there a brand or model you like?

I prefer Japanese-style saws for most tasks. I do like the handle of a traditional Western style Tenon or Backsaw, be it the American style or the classic Sheffield pattern, I prefer its ergonomics for cutting tenons or miters. However this assumes we’re talking about a quality saw whose handle is the correct size for my hand. If we’re talking about a generic Japanese saw vs. a generic western Backsaw (which I can assume to both not fit my hand, and to be improperly set and sharpened) then I’ll take the Japanese saw any time.

Sorry I wasn’t all that clear Koko, I actually agree with you that the main benefit is with crosscutting. I had previously written a much longer post where I went into that in more detail but when I edited it down I suppose I had cut out too much.
The finer toothed ripcut Japanese saws, which are the only ones I have experience with, don’t offer that much of an advantage over western, except maybe the thinner blade allows for greater precision if you’re doing delicate work. Maybe things change when you get to the really large coarse-toothed saws I’ve seen in books but I’ve never had the opportunity to use one those.

Now I do have a Silky Temagari 500, which is a bit of an odd duck. From the side it resembles a classic ripsaw for softwood in Odate’s book about Japanese Woodworking Tools. But its teeth have a crosscut grind despite being remarkably coarse (up to 2 tpi at the tip). It is a beast for crosscutting, cutting lumber or firewood or big pruning jobs without a chainsaw. It can rip but it’s not anywhere near as good at that as it is at crosscutting. I would be curious to try a saw like that with a rip style of tooth but honestly it would just be a curiosity as I don’t have any need for a saw like that.

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