On New 22″ 10pt S & J Saw–Great Saw

P1250768A couple of months have passed since we mentioned the new Spear & Jackson saws I tested out, refined and upgraded to create dedicated rip and crosscut saws. Someone wrote me recently to ask about the shorter 22″ 10pt saw, to get my opinion on it. Fact is, for those of us who want to master sharpening, own saws that can indeed be resharpened and then have a panel saw to boot, The Spear & Jackson really fits the bill for me. I remember about ten years ago when a USA tool catalogue supplier asked me to test out the saw.Back then these S&J saws including their tenon saws were very much kits and that was how I advised purchasers to view them.

P1250785
The existing crosscut pattern to the teeth works exceptionally well across the grain in any wood.

I wrote an article for a US mag when I was writing articles and explained the down sides of buying such saws but also suggested not disregarding them as a solid option for buying a new saw as an inexpensive option. That’s not really the case today. The last blog article I did a few months back now was well received and of course I am sure S&J thought it was them that made the saw popular and the sudden spike was their strategy when in reality it was of course us. So, here comes another spike in sales even though I may not like their business model much at all. Fact is these saws do make excellent panel saws and are great to use, they are very comfortable and they are indeed lifetime saws. Lets look in a little closer.

P1250775
What a stupid thing to print “Traditional Skew Back” on the saw plate in this way. Of what value is it to state the obvious. Well, the reason is you must read between the lines. It’s what’s not said that counts. It does not tell you anything on the plate about the size of the teeth or where it’s made or whether it’s a rip or crosscut. Emboldening the unnecessary distracts you from finding the truth.

As with all companies like S&J they manage to cheapen their own product and the fastenings used to connect the handle to the plate are indeed, well, less than they could be. That said they do work and there is no movement between the handle and the steel plate. If it bothered you you could buy decent ones and replace them.P1250779

The handle is surprisingly smooth and comfortable even though the opening is bigger than it need be. Made from solid beech and nicely sprayed with a lacquer finish I still feel it falls short of good looks if good looks is what i want. In this case I wanted a saw I could recommend to anyone starting out without losing any of the emphasis on functionality and longevity. If you did buy this saw you would have no need to upgrade to own a better working saw. This saw is not a stepping stone but one I would be glad to use for the rest of my life. P1110613

Offering the saw in a ripcut cut the saw cuts fine along the grain. That said, with a minor change as shown above it could be easily and quickly transformed to a dedicated ripcut saw. We walk you through this in our video on YouTube. In my view the saws are inexpensive enough to buy one and keep it as a crosscut and a second one to reshape as a ripcut. I must say that it does cut fine as a ripcut but as a crosscut it’s superb. I cut down into 22mm (7/8″) thick white oak in ten strokes to get down the distance shown. The cut was  extremely smooth and clean and the saw just stroked through the grain easily. P1250783

For £22 delivered free the saw is very inexpensive. I tried it on 6mm (1/4″) plywood too. The result was a beautiful straight cut with non of the problematic jarring you often get with thin materials like this.P1250784

On the sleeve the one-size-fits-all-purposes is disgusting at best. “Plastic pipe”, MDF, plastic laminate. Aaargh! Forget that.

52 comments on “On New 22″ 10pt S & J Saw–Great Saw

  1. Paul ,
    does the skew back offer any real advantages ? I was brought up with them around as were you and have often wondered, Particularly as I use the `Jack’ (now Irwin Jack ) brand most of the time nowadays, and they have no Skew Back and don’t seem to suffer any disadvantages.

    • Absolutely, it does, or perhaps I should say it did. It’s not really an equal comparison to compare a throwaway with the older type saws that were much more metal in that they were a good inch wider in the plate. The skew gave ability to redirect an off course cut by using the curve nearer to the toe end to flex the saw in the cut. It still works but is less necessary because the saws are narrower, but it does help.

      • Paul, this has been one of the more useful tips I ever got on sawing a straight line. And you are quite right the skew advantage is much more noticeable on my antique saws

  2. Thank you Paul. This kind if article is exactly what those of us wanting to learn how to sharpen saws need to give us the confidence to give it a go without having to worry about buying (and potentially wrecking) a new high end model, or an old vintage masterpiece.

    Do you still recommend Bahco saw files?

  3. everyone wants the tool (whatever it is) that PS uses. If I only had the right saw I could cut a clean perpendicular line just like Paul. All the cooks peddle their own brand of pots and pans. I think it’s time for PS to cash in and put his name on a line of good tools and stop making Aldi and S&J rich. When PS carves a spoon, the price of a Stanley spokeshave goes up on eBay. Sheesh.

    • Phil, three words for you: “Conflict of Interest”. The minute PS has his own line of saws or any tools is the minute his credibility is called into question, irrespective of the reality of how impartial PS remains. Yes, PS’ recommendations of Aldi Chisels and S&J saws might be making those companies money, but PS already has the means to make money through the provision of his knowledge in the form of books, DVDs etc. I bought the PS Essential Woodworking Hand Tools book on the basis of Peter’s expertise and opinion, and his philosophy that we don’t need to spend gazillions to own Sauer Steiner planes to do good woodworking (or even Lie Nielsen for that matter). So there’s at least one avenue for making money already.

    • I just purchased the 22″ saw and the Brass backed Tenon saw for a total of 54 US dollars with shipping only costing me 20 US dollars.

      Heckuva deal, getting saws shipped to my door from the UK for so cheap.

    • with delivery to California I Paid a whole 42$ for the 22″ 10tpi saw choosing the cheapest shipping method and still got it inside a week.

  4. Woodcraft sells a 7 tooth rip saw made in Germany for about $70 US that works well. I have used this saw for several years. I can only find the S&J at amazon.ca for about twice that price.

  5. This is a really handy review, thanks Paul. A couple of years or so ago I couldn’t find an affordable re-sharpenable handsaw and had to go for old ones. That worked out fine but easily ends up costing a bit more than £22 unless you luck out first go.

    To put a bit of perspective on your complaint about the nuts : to make a saw widely available for £22 Spear & Jackson have to find ways of making it for some figure likely less than £5. Packaging, distribution, retail and final delivery costs unavoidably eat up the rest. All else being equal nicer nuts or whatever translates down the line to say an extra £2 retail. But all else is never equal because higher prices reduce sales and so requires further upward hikes in price to cover the fixed costs of all those involved. For all we know nicer nuts might mean a £35 saw

    • Worth adding that once volume starts to slide distributors and retailers will often drop product completely. And that then is the end. This is quite possibly the reason why there are hardly any mid-priced saws on the market. Maybe only once you get to LN prices do lower volumes start to make sense.

  6. Thanks Paul. I live in a very rural area in the US and have been having a really hard time finding quality old saws that weren’t abused beyond use. I’ve now purchased the 22″ saw and the brass backed tenon saw from amazon.co.uk, shipped to my New Jersey doorstep for 74 dollars.

    I’d never even considered it to be possible to order directly from UK’s Amazon. Thanks for all you do in making traditional woodworking accessible to all.

  7. Hi Paul, I bought one of these saws after seeing your Youtube video, and I must say I agree with the saw. The handle is butt ugly, but the metal is good. I intend to make a handle. For the money, this could seriously jeopardize some mid price saw manufacturers, whose blades are good but so so handles. I can buy 4 of S&J for the price of one of those. Of course the top end will be the top end, and people buy them for the pleasure of owning luxury item with fine handles so they won’t be affected.

    On the subject of sawing technique. Despite following your technique of lining up arm motion, dropping the saw to get a line, I still find my cut drifting, and I don’t think it is the saw. It is drifting so that it is no longer perpendicular to the board in the forwards/backwards direction. Can you do a video on how to recover from drift mid cut? You give a glimpse above with bending the blade?

  8. I have one and my only regret is that i haven’t bought two. I have cut , crosscut but mostly rip although it is not resharpened to be rip saw (i will do that with next one i buy) 6 cm hard walnut planks i don’t remember but i think about 20m or so totally. My circular saw could not touch it. Ans there is not yet a dull sport on the teethes.

    Blade is protected with lacquer from rust but i have removed it with nitrocellulose thinner (it also removes stamping on the blade) and it performs even better (put instead thin coat of bees wax dissolved in mineral spirit or naphtha)

  9. I got one of these, and having medium sized women’s hands, the handle is incredibly, ridiculously huge, I could put three hands in there (as a comparison, a Veritas saw fits well if I place four fingers including the index around the handle). It is also way too big for my boyfriend who has wide hands. This makes it very difficult to control the saw. I don’t know what they were thinking.

    I suppose I should make a handle for it, but I have no idea how to remove those rivets which are smooth on both sides.

    • It is an issue for those with smaller hands (at least half the worlds population) but for the majority it will work. It is a lot of work making a handle too, so a bit off-putting and a serious drag when the hope is that the saw will indeed be a way f getting going straight off with the minimum of hinderance. For me the handle works just fine. Not the best but up to the task. One day manufacturers will see that woodworking is no longer a gender-specific craft and that two sizes of handle could actually be helpful and could even enhance sales too. I will indeed contact Spear and Jackson to ask if they can correct the incorrect sizing on these saws and even perhaps suggest my posting a more negative revue on them if necessary. The only way to remove the studs is to drill them out with a 3/16″ bit centred on the centre of the studs. This ruins the stud and you would need to replace them with something better I am afraid. If you were definitely going to replace the wooden handle you can split the handle off and that will give you the studs which can then be parted with two pairs of pliers.Not exactly what you want though.

      • Yes Paul, as long as those with small hands are a minority in the craft I suppose we will not be catered for. But there are degrees, i was pleasantly surprised the Veritas wasn’t larger than it is. I can’t expect a one size fits all saw to fit me, but indeed it is possible to remove a little material for people with very large hands.

        Thank you for the tips on removing studs or splitting the handle. That’s a job I’ll have to collect some courage for.

      • I found that the handle on my saw (the same one you discussed) is a little lose. The slot, in which the sawplate is inserted is too wide, so the steel moves from side to side which results in less control while sawing. Do you think I could fix this issue by lightliy tapping the rivets in order to bring them tighter together? I did not try i yet because i did not want to damage them not knowing if this operation is likely to improve the fitting. Would you share your point on that matter? Thank you in advance. Alle the best from Germany

  10. I think it is unfair to lower rating for the saw costing this much. 4 bras saw nuts will cost you around £8-10 if purchased separately. I don’t know how much costs a saw handle but i know that replacement front knob and rear handle for hand-plane are from £13-25 and those are easier to make than saw handle. That is £21-35.

    Replaceable handle would be nice but it will rise the price of the saw.
    However price is so low that this is not a bad idea at all (It is cheaper than good replacement blade for Japanese saws).

    An i am sorry for people with small hands because I know the opposite end of the problem. I have large hands and that is causing me big trouble finding hand-planes for example.

    For the same reason i can not use Spear & Jackson 9550B, as is, but with a little rasp work i have managed make it work for me.

    Point here is that Spear & Jackson has made great tool even for significantly higher price range.

    • It is of course too big for the majority. I have large hands and it is too big for me, that’s in all their range of saws, so it is time S&J listened and made what is actually a very minor change in the making process required no additional equipment and probably no more than a digital change to their CNC router. That would mean that the minority with large hands would need to make the adjustment to fit the handle to them, but that would actually be the fairer option.

  11. I like your idea of inexpensively pairing saws into rip and crosscut functions. I inherited a pair 12″ of “Warranted Superior” back saws (Steel backs), one with an eagle medallion and one with a keystone. They were both crosscut, 13tpi, but one was so weird, I’m half through retoothing it to 12 tpi rip.
    Then there are panel saws . One is a 12tpi CC Sandvik Hogboo 20″ (did enough research to be reasonably assured that it was made before the beancounters took over. The other one is odd: a 20″ Disston No. 240 15tpi 18″ long “Metal Cutting” rip saw. I researched “metal cutting” It meant don’t be afraid of nails and screws in the wood. Beautiful kerf even before sharpening. (Calling these two panel saws would be accurate here, right?) They are not precisely a matched pair, but, hey.
    I like the idea of going up to Maine for a month with a minimum kit in the car, and forget everything else but the dovetail and the coping saw.
    Two matched S&J 22 inch skewed back saws (rip and CC) would also fill that bill. Just how much is that bill?
    I looked at Amazon UK. The numbers kept changing but —
    Grand Total: GBP 50.43; Payment Grand Total: USD 68.81 (For both)

    I bought’em. Have to reread Paul’s post and get out the files..

    • Paul, Amazon always prompts a buyer to buy more related items. For these saws, they said:
      Customers Who Bought Items in Your Basket Also Bought
      your bench knife;
      your stropping compound;
      your Bahco sharpening files;
      your Thor hammer;
      your clamps;
      a Stanley No. 4 plane;
      your Narex chisels;
      your combination square, and;
      last but not least — your book.

      • Makes you wonder where the tool manufacturers heads are at. If I were the head of one I would be sending Paul a fat check, my tools I make, review form. I mean for the life of me I just can’t understand it. Everything Paul recommends works, is cheap to do and will sell.

    • I just wrote a response to an other sharpening video of yours, working through my misunderstanding of setting teeth. Now I’ll have to opportunity to do a comparison on two identical saws (Two S&J’s just ordered for low prices).

      I’ll file one as a ripsaw. New rake, but same set as the crosscut. As I now understand a couple hours in front of this screen and checking sets on old saw and new saws in the “shop”, the newly created rip 22″ S&J rip saw will rip better than the untouched one.
      QUESTION: Should I equally sharped the other saw, except doing it as a crosscut blade with alternating angled fleam?
      Then, with the unaltered (but maybe simply sharpened) crosscut saw, compare rip cuts and cross cuts in the same wood? Should the crosscut saw cut crosscuts better than the other, but also cut rip cuts, but not as well as the newly created S&J rip saw?
      There’s my test, and the reason I am getting a matched pair (of inexpensive) saws. One to rip and one to crosscut.
      This is all also the reason I have not purchased any premium saws. I’ll probably have stick a “RipCut” label and a “Crosscut” label on the saws as I start to use them.
      Thank you, again. Shall I post my results?

      • Still agonizing about these matters I’ll convert one of the S&J’s to RIP and try my Liberty Tool Recycle Store rasps on the handles.

        I just reposted the nagging question about the two very similar back saws at https://paulsellers.com/2012/01/minimalist-tools-dovetail-saws/
        Still trying to figure it out. If I get them right and they rarely cut wood, I’ll count them as a win.

        It really would help to get guidance. The reason my posts are far apart and sometimes repetitive has to do with a medically-induced shortness of my effective working day. On one hand, I’m frantic to get things done, but the guys who go “quack” advise me to pace myself and listen to my body. Your indulgence is appreciated.

  12. Some interesting comments, questions and answers regarding the possible modification/improvement of the S&J panel saw handles. I bought one 7TPI 24″ and two 10TPI 22″ saws. They do seem to cut very well, even I as a complete novice was impressed. I intend to convert at least one of these saws to rip cut. However the handles are a bit too big for my hand (I have quite dainty hands for a male) and thought I’d have a go at modifying the handles to suit my hand. Those damned rivets are putting me off as I’d like to remove the handles to do the necessary re-shaping. I suppose I’ll have to look at sourcing some brass saw handle screws first before drilling out the dome headed rivets. Any recommendations as to source and size?
    I hope the vailed threat of adverse publicity from Paul will make S&J (and other tool manufacturers) take to heart what their customers feedback is asking them to do at little or no cost to the manufacturer.

  13. I tried reporting this price discrepancy to Amazon. I doubt anything will come of it. Ideal World is selling this for 19.99 pounds which is $26 USD. Amazon is selling this saw for $98.93 plus shipping charges. The company doing the supplying for Amazon is Blessingstore.

  14. Hi Paul,

    In the past, you have recommended a rip saw for both ripping and crosscutting. Why recommend a dedicated crosscut saw now?

    Cheers,
    Praki

    • As a general practicality I use a simple rip pattern for 99% of work. I also have a crosscut for larger joinery and for more specialised work. As an instance, all of my back saws are sharpened for ripcut, but as the teeth get bigger on handsaws we might need a more dedicated tooth pattern. A 6 point rip saw is difficult to crosscut with so I have dedicated saws as they get bigger in tooth size. I never said you shouldn’t have a crosscut saw pattern, just that they are not essential in smaller toothed saws. Sometimes, depending on the work and the quantity of work, I will file a ripcut small toothed saw to a crosscut pattern and then resharpen back to a ripcut. This will usually be when I have a lot of crossgrain shoulders to cut or a lot of pieces I need to crosscut. When it comes to handsaws we also cut plywood and even pressed fibreboard with them and so a crosscut saw patterns works better for these. Also, I try to help people getting started not to follow the sales staff, who usually know how to sell not how to woodwork, and end up buying two saws in each size and ending up with ten saws. Sow small toothed saws will readily crosscut too, but not so large-toothed saws. In the case of these Spear and Jackson saws, they are inexpensive enough and well made enough to own two, one ripcut and one crosscut.

  15. I remember when I first started out learning to be a carpenter and having a new S & J crosscut handsaw which I used for well over a year and sharpened many times, then one day I visited an Uncle and noticed an old Sandvik handsaw (with a red plastic handle) hanging up in his shed (going a little bit rusty) I asked if I could have it as a back up spare in case of hitting a nail with my S & J. He let me have it and I took it home and sharpened it, after using it for a while it became my first go to choice over the S & J, much easier to use and a far better cut.

    • I have a set of Sandviks too, the old 1960s ones, and these were some of the best. I have them in my home shop. The plastic handles are durable but you should watch where the handle might hit the wood in heavy rip cuts as one of mine i bought in 1967 did crack and actually wore down around that area. I was more heavy handed in those days.

  16. I really do hope every ounce of work you and your team do rewards you all a hundred fold. There is simply nobody else with the experience or the willingness to part with said experience available. Thanks.

  17. Thank you for this series Paul. I have a few newish but second-hand S&J saws and I have found that when occasionally they get stuck in the cut they come away with a big old kink. I also have older saws which do not have the same tendency, and will bend quite a long way with no ill effects.

    Is this a change we just have to get used to with modern saws, or do you think I have some lemons?

    I’d be grateful to hear your thoughts Paul.

    Many thanks,

    Matt

    • Hard to say, Matt. I have never buckled or kinked a saw through normal and heavy work. The new S&J saws I have been bench testing these last three months have proven to be a good choice and I have thrust them pretty hard with no ill effects to date.

  18. It would appear that when Paul Sellers likes a product, it sells out quickly. While I have found it for sale cheap in the UK, I have only found a couple places in the US where these are still available, and at a price of $120 or more (secondary markets) Hopefully they will be back in stock on Amazon soon.

  19. Hi Paul, i just bought a new S&J 10ppi. As you show above its filed as a crosscut and i will be trying to file it to a ripcut pattern as you show in your video but you dont mention which file you used. I was wondering which file to use
    I have the Bahco 4-187-07-2-0 XSlim 175mm, and also the Bahco 4-188-05-2-0 XX Slim 125mm.
    I have plave the X slim one on the saw and its quite big. will it do? (I havent tried it out thought yet – just waiting for your repsonse), on the other hand i have just read in another thread that you recommended that the xxslim will file 15tpi.
    Can you help me please?
    Thanks
    Tassos

  20. I found that the handle on my saw (the same one you discussed) is a little lose. The slot, in which the sawplate is inserted is too wide, so the steel moves from side to side which results in less control while sawing. Do you think I could fix this issue by lightliy tapping the rivets in order to bring them tighter together? I did not try i yet because i did not want to damage them not knowing if this operation is likely to improve the fitting. Would you share your point on that matter? Thank you in advance. All the best from Germany

  21. Dear Paul,

    (my previous comment has never showed up in the comment, so please feel free to delete this duplicate if needed)

    The S&J you’ve been testing is the 9500R which is 22″ 10pts.
    This model seems to be out of stock everywhere I look, and I could one find some on ebay for a ridiclous price (>80£)
    However, I could find the 9515K which is 24″ x 7pts. I bought 2 of those, one for cross-cuts and one for rip cuts.
    Assuming the steel is identical between those 2 models, would you recommend resetting them both to 10pts (in cross and rip cut pattern) ? Or even greater tpi?

    As a more generic question, do you have a rule of thumb on tpi & anvil setting in regards to blade length for skew back saws and back saws?
    I know you seem to dislike generic dictatorial rules and multiple variables may apply but even a ballpark advice is quite hard to find on these matters.

    Thanks in advances. Regards, Geoffrey

    • Ok! Unless the saws are going to be used on wet wood you should set them with the least amount of set for them to work best. In most cases they come from the makers with too much set so this means taking off the set. I have a vid on YT that covers this. Use the search box on my YT channel. When the saws come from, manufacturers, hard points and soft points, western and Japanese types made in Japan and elsewhere in Asia, high end, low end, they ALL come with TOO MUCH SET. Remember they are all makers, they are all engineers of some kind or level and they are not users as such as we are. You don’t need much set. Start with less and increase if needed for a particular wood, particular wood condition etc. Most people never cut wet or should I say saturated or green or greener wood. It’s simple enough really, basically based on logic. I hope that this helps. Don’t rely on makers for good information. They just want to sell saws mostly, and twice as many as you need at that.

  22. Thank you very much for your answer.

    So I will stick on 10-12 anvil for 8 to 16 tpi saws.
    Actually, your YT videos on the subject made me consider resetting or even reshaping the teeth without doubts on the method to apply. Thank you for that.

    Do you think, reshaping entirely the S&J from 7pts to a 10pts (one in a cross cut pattern, the other in a rip cut pattern) would be a must for it to function properly?

    Thank you very much,

    Geoffrey

  23. Hi paul . Great youtube vids and written pieces . I purchased both the skew and tenon saw before i read this and found them great , i am also learning to resharpen saws but i have a problem , the handle on the tenon saw has come loose and there seems to be no screw system . On the s&j site its says “rivots” can you help with this problem .

    • Upturn a hammer in the vise so that the hammer face is facing uppermost and secure. Place the each rivet on the face of the hammer and with second hammer strike the rivet. This will tighten the rivet as one slides inside the other and has a friction fit that holds. Don’t strike too hard, just enough to tighten each rivet. If the handle shrinks again you can tighten further. I maY not like this method but it does work and it does last.

  24. Hello Paul.
    Thank you very much for your advice.
    I bought a 24″ 7 tpi saw and converted it into a rip cut saw. It does work beautifully. I now have a decent saw for a very good price.

    Which makes me think about other S&J saws.
    Do you think it makes sense to repeat the trick on the “Spear & Jackson Professional 10 inch Tenon Saw 5410Y” and convert it into a rip cut saw? Is it possible to resharpen such small teeth& (13 tpi).
    I need a pair of back saws and if it’s possibe to convert the 5410Y saw into rip cut then I can also buy, for example, the 9550B saw (12″, 15 tpi).

    Do you think it’s worth trying?
    Or is there a reason to avoid these saws? (5410Y and 9550B)

  25. Dear Paul, Thanks for this post. I bought two s&j 10tpi and had one of them modified as a rip. I also bought another one 24″ 7 tpi. But i didnt notice the handle was a bit loose until after i used it. Is there anyway to fix the handle with these studs? or do you think i should get a replacement?

    By the way it ripped through 2″ stock of beech and the result was excellent! Thanks
    Paul.

  26. Paul, sorry to be double posting but i have just read is some other of your posts that you can drill out the non screwable rivets and use new screws? Where can i get new screws? ebay or do you recommend anywhere else? Also can i ask are the screws generally one size? if are there different sizes?
    I also read Paul that as a alternative you recommended once to use superglue as an easier way to handle the problem. Do you think this might help me the most or shall i go for the screws ? I mean will it last in your experience? Can epoxy be used as an alternative?
    I really like this saw and as i have used it well today, (the printed name is almost gone), i dont think they will replace it.

    • Either superglue or epoxy will work but epoxy will have strength superglue does not have and will be more permanent. Of course this is not a good idea as far as conservation goes but for a user I personally don’t worry. You can often buy screws secondhand on eBay or just find an old saw past its best from anywhere and extract the screws. Thomas Flynn saws UK sell them but whereas they may not be not cheap, they will be lifetime.

  27. Dear Paul,
    Problem solved. I used two hammers as i read in another of your posts. One as an anvil and another to careful bang the rivet. It work like a charm. Tight handles once more!!
    Thanks so much Paul.
    Kindest Regards
    Tassos Aristidou

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