New Rip Saw

I sold my trusty Atkins rip saw a few weeks ago with the intent of replacing it with a custom made saw. It took a little longer to finish than I had anticipated, but it’s finally done. This is the result.


I designed the saw to be a better fit for me than my old Atkins ripper. I’m only 5’6″, and the Atkins was 28″ long; too long for me. If I wasn’t careful, I would hit the floor with the toe of the saw in use. Of course I could have made my saw bench higher, but this would not be ergonomically appropriate as it would put me off balance and uncomfortable during sawing. Better to make the saw bench to fit your height (about knee high) and make sure your saw fits you as well. I had made do with the too long for me saw for long enough. Now I no longer have to make do. This one fits me perfectly.

The specs on this one:

  • 24″ Long Saw Plate (0.032″ thick 1095 steel from Dom Greco)
  • 9/16″ Slpit Nuts and Saw Bolts (Wenzloff)
  • Cherry 18th Century Style Handle (oil & wax finish)
  • 5-1/2 PPI, Rip, 4 Degrees Rake

The handle on this was blatantly copied from the pictures of the saws that Adam Cherubini sells on his sight. While I would never copy Adam’s work for a saw I intended to sell, this one is for my own personal use, so I’m sure Adam won’t mind. The handle is kind of unique on this 18th century design as it is actually not possible to grab it with 4 fingers. Not that you’re supposed to anyway, but most newer style handles are much more roomy than this style. I can grab my Kenyon style handle with four fingers. I can grab pretty much all more modern style handles (Disstons, Atkins, etc.) with four fingers. This one I cannot. It forces you to use a proper 3 finger grip, which I think is a good thing. I have only given it a few test cuts at this point, but I think I’m really going to like this saw.



24 thoughts on “New Rip Saw

    • Not tapered. I haven’t noticed a huge difference, but haven’t used it a lot yet. As long as it is set properly it shouldn’t matter much except in weight. But being 4″ shorter than the Atkins it’s already balanced better for me.

  1. Great looking saw Bob. Love the handle. Nothing like being able to make one custom fit to YOUR hand. It really makes the saw feel like an extension of your arm. Did you receive the saw plate already toothed?

    • Thanks Jamie. The plate was punched by Dom Greco but it was a 6-1/2″ rectangle as received. I cut it to shape, added the nib, and finished the shaping and sharpening.

  2. Hin Bob,

    this is a nice saw at the seamless boarder between panel rip saw and full rip. Plenty enough for 99% of the work in a furniture shop, IMHO.

    I like these patterns for the handle (a few centuries older than Adam) for their deep hung handle. Gives much more control than the later Disston et al. patterns.


    • Thanks Pedder. It won’t win any beauty contests, especially compared to the saws you and Klaus make. But it is perfectly functional and more importantly it fits me properly.

      • Bob,

        don’t say that. A gränfors axe is a beauty and so are Konrad Sauer’s planes. Wellmade has it’s own beauty, that does not fully relate to the bling factor.

        Thank you for the kudos nontheless.


  3. Beautiful saw, Bob. Inspiring work, as always.

    I actually had a question about the resawing frame saw that appeared in Episode 41. How thick is the plate on that saw, and how thick would you make it if you were building a new one? On the one hand, the blade is tensioned by the frame; on the other hand, the teeth are huge and the saw is taking a very deep cut (producing lots of heat).

    • Hi Dan,

      The frame saw blade is 0.042″ thick. I think it’s a good size for a saw of this size with teeth as large as they are. Even tough it’s tensioned in a frame, I think the thicker blade makes for stronger teeth.

      • Thanks Bob. The frame saw is pretty exciting. The ability to resaw opens up all kinds of possibilities, but I live in a tiny apartment and a bandsaw isn’t an option.

  4. I was wondering what is wrong with cutting the toe down on a saw to make it fit you? Your new saw looks great by the way! I love the lines of it.

    • There’s really nothing wrong with cutting the toe down on an old saw. But when you have a nice old saw that is in really fine condition, it only hurts it’s value to cut it down. If the saw isn’t anything special, or if the toe is already damaged, I’d say go for it. There’s no harm at all. But if you have a nice old Disston #7, or #12, and there’s nothing wrong with it except that it’s too long for you, I think it’s better to keep that saw in tact and look for another candidate to cut down, or find a shorter saw. They’s plenty of saws out there in lots of different lenghts, so there’s no sense in chopping up a valuable saw if there’s nothing wrong with it. But if it’s damaged or not particularly valuable anyway, have at it.

  5. Bob,

    Your saw is really nice. Though I don’t have a lot of experience, I think 28″ may be too long for almost anybody. I’m 6’2″ tall, have long arms and an appropriately sized sawbench, but hitting the floor is an issue for me too. I think I would prefer a saw this size.

    I notice that you used only two saw bolts. Is there a particular reason?

    • I’m 6’5″ and also use a 28″ saw, and the issue of saw length to sawbench height really confused me. I measured both my arm swing and the height to the bottom of my knee, and it was obvious that I wouldn’t be able to use a properly sized rip saw (with a working angle of 60 degrees) on a properly sized sawbench without hitting the floor. I thought I might have the body of an orang-utan.

      Then I had a very helpful conversation with Mike Wenzloff about this. He has several sets of sawhorses at a variety of heights. He uses his full-sized handsaws on higher horses; the sawbench is used mainly with shorter panel saws, or maybe full-length crosscuts (with have a lower working angle of 45 degrees).

      Similarly, on his blog post on building sawhorses, Mike Siemsen suggests that you build the horses to match your saw, not your knee height.

      I’ve found this idea quite effective. For crosscuts, the lower height of the sawbench lets you use your left knee (assuming you’re right-handed) to lock the board in place. When ripping on higher horses, you sort of have to climb on top of the workpiece, naturally using more of your body weight to really hold the work in place.

      • Sorry, I meant “right knee (assuming you’re right-handed)”. I can’t tell left from right before 8AM.

    • I used two saw bolts for no other reason than because that’s the way Adam’s (and the original 18th century saw’s) were done. Seems to be fine with only two. I think more were required later because of the way the saw blade was let into the handle and the handle was mounted more at an angle to the plate. Since this style mounts the handle basically right behind the teeth, there doesn’t seem to be a need for more than 2.

  6. Nice saw. After watching your other pod cast on making the panel saw a few months ago, I gave it a try. I took an old disstion d-23 and cut it down to a 20″ panel saw. It came out ok, but the blade is a little crooked in the handle, and I had an extremely hard time drilling the holes for the saw nuts. After looking at this saw, it makes me want to try it again. Does Dom Greco have a web site? when I google that name I don’t come up with any thing. Do you think I could use the saw steel that Wenzloff and sons sells and just shape it differently ?
    thanks, Duane

    • I don’t think Dom has a web site up and running yet. You can find him on Woodnet. His name is Dominic Greco & his Woodnet name is Blacky’s Boy. He’s a moderator in the Hand Tool Forum over there. A plate from Wenzloff will work too. Same thing as what Dom sells. For the holes, you either need a heavy duty punch or carbide tipped drill bits. I’ve found that this steel simply dulls out any HSS bit in record time. The carbide drills last for a few saw plates. They’re not cheap though. Alternatively, you can keep sharpening your HSS drills during the process if you have a Drill Doctor. They dull really fast in this steel though.

  7. Hi Bob!

    Did You tension the blade or does Dominic do that or is it not required with this particular steel sheet?


    PS. Very nice saw 🙂

    • For the most part, with the new spring steel that is used to make saws these days, the steel is already tensioned when you get it. It comes in rolled coils that spring right back to straight when the strapping used to keep it in the coil is cut off. More tension can be added to make the toothline stiffer if desired, but it isn’t required. I don’t add any additional tension.

      • That being the case, do you think it’s feasible for someone to make their own saw plate? In other words, if I bought some spring steel from McMaster-Carr, shaped the back with a hacksaw and files, drilled the handle holes, and filed the teeth, would I have a decent saw? I’m comfortable with all of these steps, but not with (re)-tensioning.

        • That’s exactly what you are looking at :). That’s how I’ve made all of my saws. In fact that’s pretty much how every premium saw on the market today is made. Buy some 1095 blue tempered spring steel and cut and file away to your heart’s content.

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