Home » Paul Sellers’ Blog » Two-Cherry Picking

Two-Cherry Picking

What’s saddest of all is what I said about new woodworkers picking up the saw. There is something thats true about all of us when we start any creative craft. We tend to think buying something less expensive will match our amateur-status skill level and that “it will do until we find out of we like it; before we spend too much money.” In reality it doesn’t work at all well that way. On the other hand buying a saw ten or twenty times that price is not the answer either and neither is usually necessary unless nothing else exists. People have picked up on the fact that the Veritas 14 tpi rip-pattern back saw is something I do recommend and that is primarily because the saw quality and price works in tandem for anyone. Very fair and of course resharpenable.  I cannot really advocate people spend over £100 on any saw no matter the maker unless it is antique and collectable. It’s just not me. I say the same for planes and chisels too. Being perfectly frank, Aldi’s chisel set has been hard to beat. For 8 quid you have a good working set. Yes the fineness of the side bevels could by a mil or two thinner, they could have a little finer grinding, and there will always be snobbism out there that creates exclusivity, but we’ve used these chisels in the classes for 7 years now and they have proven to be faultless.

It is extremely sad that Two Cherries are so high and lofty that they may well not even know that the saw they make is on a scale of 1 to 10, ten being best, doesn’t even register as a 1. They simply may not know. I saw this with Spear and Jackson saws too, same scale, but maybe a 5. But with the S&J I worked on it and in terms of cut quality, within about four minutes it surpassed say a Lie Nielsen and all of the Pax UK range. Cost is a factor. In my classes abroad last week I took a S&J tenon saw and totally transformed it.

No, the real problem is that new woodworkers discover a very bad cut and think that it is them, but then they don’t know that it is not them and they don’t know how to or that they can indeed fix it. We have made many videos on Youtube and written many blog posts to help new woodworkers to address the arrogance issue by companies like Two Cherries and also give them the confidence that they can. It’s tiresome to have to address issues like this and to take on the giants backed by wealth and undeserved status, but I cannot help myself. An issue came up with a US magazine  recently over misrepresentation of information. The editor in chief refused to face his responsibility to make certain what was said was indeed so. All that needed to happen was admit it was wrong and get back on track. In that case, articles misrepresented fact and I pointed out to all woodworkers that they should not follow the articles as an answer or solution to an issue as the false representations of methods might appear true but were indeed falsified to make the articles that were not truly viable viable. This is the same as plane makers saying their planes reduce the chatter associated with other planes when in fact they never chatter. As I said, I find these things important enough to counter if false information is given. I only call out bad products because people might indeed believe the ‘authority‘, but it is draining to have to do this. Had Two Cherries not had a good reputation established by their forebears (and not by them) I would have cared less, but they live, as do many such companies nowadays, on their father’s reputation when they should have stood on their father’s shoulders to see further and do better. They simply gave in to the arrogant greed and clawing for survival at any cost mislead others. They did not consider that they have a responsibility to their customers and caused the damage they were doing. Nicholson files and other such companies did the same and should be well shamed by their endeavors.

57 comments

  1. Gavin Proctor says:

    Your last post inspired me to ask some questions about the cost of tools in previous generations and I had a little look at some old tool catalogues. In a 1930’s Marples catalogue I found a price of 9 shillings and sixpence for a similar saw which works out at roughly £30 when adjusted for inflation over the years. So prices haven’t really changed, even as production costs drop and automation takes over from skilled work we haven’t seen a penny of the savings. I think the factory owners are laughing at all of us.

    • Marc D says:

      The standard of living in 2017 is much higher than in the 1930s. Higher life expectancy, better access to services and such. And natural resources exist in less quantities, not more, while the world population has soared. It is not necessarily easier or cheaper to make a product now, so if the cost of tools has remained relatively stable, it is not a bad thing. An additional element is that hand tools have massively fallen out of favor due to power tools, so in essence they are a niche product whose price could be (and in some cases it is) much, much higher.

    • Paul Sellers says:

      Whereas automation should produce as a good a saw with lower costing it never does. Most of the work is in the handle. All Thomas Flinn saw handles are CNC router cut. It takes under three minutes of man-hours to assemble the components and about the same for manufacture. The plate is just rolled steel prehardened to consistent hardness so not much to it at all. Same for the brass backs on pinch steel or brass splines. Manufacturers can cut all the teeth in a roll of steel 10 metres long in about three minutes even using old Foley Belsaw equipment. Filing by machine is about as quick too. So the cost of even a high end saw is very low and very low tech too; about three machining processes I’d guess.

      • Marc D says:

        I look at the entire picture. Machines are fast and quick, but whether to make the handles, sharpen the teeth, or move material in and out of the facility, people are still needed. Having people around means payrolls, insurance, meeting code of all kinds, and paperwork, reams of paperwork. Don’t ask me how I know. Life was indeed simpler (and cheaper) in the 1930s, although the standard of living was really crummy in those days in places that today are considered to be the “developed” world.

        • Paul Sellers says:

          Not really sure how this affects the topic. Are you saying no one else can see “the entire picture” but you, then, Marc? The issue is nothing to do with machine made or hand made, but to do with ultimate responsibility for producing low grade products with advanced equipment where with proper supervision and manufacturing standards, machine or individual, the product should be fit for for purpose. This has nothing to do with cost at all. Nothing. It is simply proper business practice for all companies everywhere in the world. They chose to produce a low price to monopolise the market and put better makers at higher prices out of business. If or when that happens we will be left with them as the sole provider unless we pay £200 for a small saw. Reality of what has and is happening.

          • Marc D says:

            I was replying to the other gentleman in relation to the cost of tools in the 1930s versus now. My point to him is that they are not necessarily overprized now considering all the added complexities that go into making anything now versus then, regardless of the existence of more efficient manufacturing equipment. That is the “entire picture” that I was referring to. That the quality of some current tools is poor is unacceptable without doubt. I did not state that only I can see the entire picture.

    • Scott says:

      I expect economies of scale factor into it too. The huge factories of 100+ years ago churning out hundreds of thousands to millions a year compared with smaller production now.

      • Paul Sellers says:

        I am sorry Scott. I allow no excuses on this issue. One man, one saw file, one minute’s work and this saw will cut with the very best of the best. This is nothing more than stamped-out greed on the part of Two Cherries and it makes no sense whatsoever to self-destruct their name in this way. People should no longer look to this company for quality products. Their lack of quality workmanship speaks for itself.

        • ken says:

          Is it greed or a complete lack of knowledge on how a saw should function, or a combination of both? As an engineer I see this a lot today. Just 15 years ago the engineering world moved from a profession, of trial and error, Research and development and creativity, to one of computer automation. engineers coming out of school today rely heavily on computer simulations and software that does the heavy lifting. I would wager the engineers at 2 cherries today have never even picked up and used one of their products, but instead rely on computer simulation that tells them it will work. Design engineering used to be fun, we would calculate by hand the stresses and strains, draft out the design, and work out in detail every element, determine how we thought it could work, build a prototype and test it in the lab everyway we could think how, and reiterate until it was perfect. then it would go to a group of users and we would test and prototype and refine before it ever went to market. that way is gone now made way for the all powerful computer simulation.

          • Paul Sellers says:

            many people blame other countries and continents for the demise. `i just know that any and all blame rests with the companies that make demands on the makers not matter where they are. In our present consumerist economy, outlets, that’s ALL the big box names, tell the manufacturer what they will pay for something they make and the manufacturer dumbs the product down in quality until they can at least turn a profit. We the consumerist demand low prices in many cases and compare apples for pears, when the products look the same but are not. In this case, as I said clearly, Two Cherries took good materials and made a mess of making their thousands upon thousands of saws and sent them out in their pure unadulterated arrogance caring nothing for the outcome. They should, as I have said, be ashamed of themselves.

  2. Ben K. says:

    Paul,
    As a new woodworker myself, who has benefited greatly from your efforts in tool information and recommendations, thank you. To find a voice such as yours in our commsumeristic society was invaluable.

  3. Brian says:

    I admit. I said those exact word of I’ll just use the cheap low quality tools until I know if I’m going to be able to do this or want to continue. I was probably a little naive thinking they would still work and it was just inexperience that was causing my problems. Believe me….. watching the videos on how to set tools up and get them ready for use has been instrumental in the success I’ve had so far. I assume a resharpening and reset fixed this saw. Its sad that a few mins work corrected the issues when you would hope a quality check would have found that out.
    I have been slowly finding used tools to build my arsenal and am now seeing the quality difference. I would not buy any more of those bottom end tools but I wouldn’t change the way my journey started.

    • PAUL PHILIP says:

      Yes, but to be clear the point being made is that high price doesn’t necessarily mean high quality. Look at the comment made about aldi chisels.

  4. Stephen Roberts. says:

    The biggest problem I see here is what do yo expect for your money? I personally expect that when I buy a saw that it cuts the way it’s supposed to, yes maybe I mite have to pass a file over the teeth or something miner like that. But I do not think I should have to file the teeth off and retooth a new saw. I know this saw is cheap yes I was hoping the name brand Two Charrie was going to give me a good saw not great but good instead I got (for the lack of a better term) shit on and was lid to by the company. I bough this saw off Amazon because my in-laws sent me a gift card for my brithday to help me buy tools for my woodworking. So returning it and going else where is out of the question and well once bitten I don’t think I’ll be buying any more tools off line.

    • Paul Sellers says:

      You don’t need to file off all the teeth. I am producing a video on this shortly. Sadly, it is not that people are demanding a cheap saw but that they thought Two Cherries was a good company regardless of the price.

      • Stephen Roberts says:

        Thank you for putting this information out there and I really look forwards to your video on this matter. It’s sad that this kind of thing happens.

    • Rod Riffel says:

      Its not just online purchases for things like Two Cherries saws. I purchased one from a local tool store and even with my very limited woodworking experience could tell it was lacking anything resembling a quality tool. I purchased it thinking that Two Cherries was supposed to be a quality tool line. I found out otherwise.

  5. scott says:

    In terms of beginners, is there anything wrong with using disposable hardpoint saws? Just until you’ve gotten the taste and want to move on to quality craft tools.

    I can see problems with the handles on hardpoint saws, often massive, but other than that, they tend to cut well enough.

    Quality resharpening saws on the other hand need not just investment in the saw itself, but files and saw sets to make full use of them.

    • Paul Sellers says:

      Good question, Scott. Technically, no. Morally, yes. Let me say this; if you bought a resharpenable saw, even the Two Cherries, plus a £7 saw file, you could sharpen the saw 30 times with the one saw file. Even if you are not perfectly proficient at first, within ten sharpenings you will become competent at basic sharpening and the saw will last you for say 50 years. With a hard point it will usually on ly last you a year. Also, just because you are a beginner doesn’t mean you should postpone starting to sharpen. Everyone has to start somewhere so why not straightaway as being a competent woodworker will not enhance your saw sharpening skills. And yet further, hardpoint saws are mostly developed for the carpentry trades used on construction sites. These saws are always made for crosscutting even though the makers declare them to be hybrid cross- and rip-cut. That’s not really true at all.

    • S Richardson. says:

      Scott ,
      Personally I think an Irwin Jack saw is exactly the right saw for a beginner, take the laquer off, rub the sides with a bar of soap or a candle stub and have at it ! These saws Will be sharp and Won’t need any fettling up, don’t do anything silly with it and it will last long enough to find out if you like woodworking or not. Then you can make the decision to buy a better saw and learn to sharpen it, in the knowledge that you will use it !!
      In this way you can get over the dilemma that beginners have about buying expensive saws you may not use. Two things, do not buy any hardpoint saw with a spearpoint pattern (the teeth snap off). and stay away from chipboard, it’ll blunt anything you take near it in record time !!

  6. Jim says:

    If when purchasing a plane or chisel one expects to have to sharpen them before use, why then would it not be so for a saw?

    • S Richardson says:

      Jim,
      I agree with you, even to making the point that when I was a kid 99% of edged tools came from the manufacturers unfinished/blunt because everybody who knew how to use them had their own way of sharpening that suited what they did. But this question was asked from the point of view of a beginner, and when you were…could you ?

      • Paul Sellers says:

        In this case the tooth geometry is completely and utterly wrong and whereas I, as an expert, can correct the wrong, one, why should I? Two, what if I can’t and don’t have a file to hand of the right size and or shape or the knowledge to know which file to buy or, in my novice state, I have yet to learn the technique? As you can tell, I am on the warpath here. Every distributor and sales outlet should send these saws back and demand a refund for the product and shipping because THEY ARE NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE!!!

    • Ioannis Dounis says:

      Hello, the real problem here is not dull saw teeth that need a touch with the file, but incorrect geometry teeth. Like buying a bench chisel only to find out that the maker decided it needs a 50 degrees bevel(it happened to me with a cheap carving tools set years ago it was really 50 degrees :D).

      • Paul Sellers says:

        It’s actually much worse than geometry though. Imagine no sharpening whatsoever. Just punched out teeth and no refinement. That’s how Two Cherries dealt with this. Worse still, it’s a punch in the teeth to their customers and they have shown no regard in this issue whatsoever. The connection between a post I did on this in 2012, five years ago, has come to light. Bad dudes on the tool making front!

    • Paul Sellers says:

      That’s not the point at at all. Pun deliberate. What we are addressing would be the equivalent of sending a plane iron or chisel out with edges looking like the lid of a can opened with the lowest grade of can opener.

  7. Philipp J. says:

    The entire quality thing may be down to location namely germany. I think the industry is similar if not pretty much the same as its here in Austria.
    Namely theres no real demand for good Handsaws anymore, apart from apprenticeships. In reality everythings done with Powertools, most commercial shops ive been in maybe had a couple dozukis and an old framesaw or two and thats about it.
    They just arent used same as Handplanes which is sad but considering the wealth of Materials used not surprising. Granted i havent been in the sector for too long but it sure seems like that to me.
    Whats you opinion on this Paul?

    • Paul Sellers says:

      We are not really looking at equipment for professional woodworkers here we are looking after those who are looking for decent tools to use more in the amateur realms and looking out for them as they are the ones most likely to look for developing hand skills and to work with hand tools.

  8. Patrick Price says:

    Paul,
    Could you provide a close-up photo of the Two Cherries saw AFTER you sharpened it so that we can see the difference between the two?

  9. Jonathan Ard says:

    Sadly, I would have to say that beginning with my generation, people have lost pride in their work. Companies no longer produce quality products. Where “Made in USA” used to mean something, now it is simply another marketing strategy to sell more product. I am in the middle of a move and paid a young man to cut my grass in the back yard yesterday. When he was done, I paid him at the front door and went about my business. When I went out back later and saw his “work” I immediately brought my 11 year old outside and asked him what was wrong with the young man’s work. He pointed out half a dozen areas the young man had missed: areas that I later had to fix by borrowing my neighbors trimmer. It was a good life lesson that allowed my son to see the quality of work that is produced by a careless individual with no pride in their work and motivated by quick profit. I make no allowances for age – in my own life and in the lives of my children, I demand the best you can produce. Otherwise it’s just not worth doing.

  10. Mario Fusaro says:

    Paul, my wife posed a good question about the cost of tools. Could it be possible with the rise of you and others resurrecting the use of hand tools and converting power tool users (such as myself) that the tool companies also see this and try to “cash in” on this change? This is all too familiar to me as 35 years ago, I could purchase a new radial arm saw for about $100 US or less. Then the “This Old House” series took off on television and radial arm saws shot up over $200 to $300 US within a few months. The exact radial arm saw I purchased for $80 US shot up to $350 US! The only difference between the two was you could now take the mass produced saw home in your truck and spend days trying to set it up due to the lousy quality control. My saw arrived almost a month after purchase and was ready to go in an hour or so. By the way, I finally vacuumed the poor thing off as I haven’t even powered it up in over 2 years thank# to my hand saws!

  11. Thomas Hanson says:

    It is ludicrous to argue Two Cherries management hasn’t read your first very damning article by now.
    The big question is how long will it take to make changes to the factory. I’m very curious to find out. They may have to change the name to one cherry or half a cherry.
    Since I reside in the USA I’ll never know unless you keep up with the saw and let us know the effect Paul Sellers’ articles have on the world of hand tools. i suspect the effect is tremendous.

  12. Paul L Dallender says:

    I know Paul has either advised or at least been asked and given his opinion by certain manufacturers in the design stage on some of their new products. Why? because of his reputation worldwide as a craftsman that uses the sort of product they make.

    If two Cherries hasn’t seen Paul’s reaction to their saw then I will be amazed. As any good company surely needs to keep a finger on the pulse of the industry it serves. The question is, if they decide to act upon it.

    I certainly don’t think the bad cut and set of teeth on the saw is down to cost-cutting. Those will be done by machine and surely to change a cutting angle or set is simply a matter of machine adjustment, not a complete re-tooling. What is sad is that cutting some wood in the way it was intended is not seen as a requirement of part of their quality control. Had they done that then it would have been obvious they were not fit for purpose.

  13. kddomingue says:

    It’s not just woodworking tools and the companies that make them. It’s endemic in hand crafting tool companies of all kinds. So many companies whose names have stood for quality and craftsmanship for decades are no longer creating quality tools. And it’s disheartening to see a novice give up on a craft thinking the fault lies with them. They don’t know enough yet to realize that it’s a flawed tool or tools that are, very often, the real issue.

  14. Mike says:

    I work for a large corporation and I interact with a lot of people from other large corporations. These big companies do care about their product. You’ll find people at them that care very deeply and passionately about product. The problem is that these big companies care even more deeply and passionately about making money. Way back when, people invested in big companies to receive a dividend or portion of profits. These days, investors want growth- it isn’t enough to make a profit and continue doing so. Growing revenue tops the list. Generating profit is a close second. This leads to an operational model that simply isn’t suited to sustaining quality products- too much pressure to sell more to anyone and everyone regardless of real demand or product fit, and too much pressure to cut every possible corner on the cost side. Here in the states, we do see a lot of entrepreneurial activity where a new small player will jump in the market and do a better job. In many cases the new player will will do well. Too often, however, the new player will get snapped up by a big company sooner or later, and the big company will then take advantage of the brand and reputation of the acquired company while cutting costs to drive short term profit. This might seem short sighted, but from a revenue and profit first perspective it works fine because this sort of acquisition is a rinse and repeat sort of thing. I do think we have a lot to be thankful for in the present day, but it is also sad to see how rare it has become to see a true focus on quality and product fit from companies.

  15. Joe says:

    Thanks Paul. What I really like about you is that you will give a poor review for a company that is resting on its laurels (many are). Being new I rely a lot on what you say. Two Cherries are off my list. I know magazine writers quite well in a different industry. They had doing product reviews. Mostly it’s because they can’t give a poor review due to the advertising dollars. You aren’t hindered by this since you don’t rely upon sponsorship. Mostly I hope Two Cherries reaches out to you to discuss it in more detail and then fixes the problem. There is no reason they can have this completely fixed in 3 to 6 months if not sooner. I won’t hold my breath though.

    • Paul Sellers says:

      I can’t take sponsorship because I cannot compromise my freedom. When I wrote for magazines a decade or so ago I realised I had to stop. No compromising. Total freedom to be true. Magazines are mainly billboards. When you get behind the scenes you face the reality.

  16. Joe Bouza says:

    I’m happy that someone highly respected in the field (Thank you Paul) finally has addressed the Two Cherries’ badly manufactured back saw. I was given one two years ago by a friend as a gift. Upon examining it I realised the teeth looked oddly shaped and were not the least bit sharp. Just a badly stamped out piece of metal not a proper saw.
    If you own one people, …consider that you own a bread knife not a saw. Don’t waste your money!

  17. Jerry Thompson says:

    I have said it before and I will say it again. There is a lot of junk that’s made to sell, not to use. Look at all the crap on TV for only 19.95. “BUT WAIT , buy now and we will include an additional one absolutely free. Just pay $10.00 for shipping and handling”.
    Give me a break!

    Jerry

  18. Mark says:

    Hi Paul

    I appreciated (and enjoyed) both the origional article and this one. The specifics and technicalities are interesting and i agree wholeheartedly with your position. What I admire most though is your the integrity and passion. This clearly matters to you 50 odd years after first cutting a piece of timber. That’s why so many of us can’t wait for your next post or your next video. Thanks on so many levels.

  19. Hans Schipper says:

    Dear Paul,
    I’ve a lot of respect for you and admire the way you try to make woodworking accessible for everyone.
    But, I’ll have to make a critical comment:
    Everything has it’s fair price, be it food or tools or whatever.
    In Holland there is a lot of outcry at the moment about the horrible way animals are treated in the slaughterhouse. It’s really to horrible to describe, but…
    A lot of people who are making the outcry should look to themselves, because they want their meat very cheap and won’t pay a fair price. So, someone has to pay for it, in this case the poor animals.

    I’m afraid, for tools it’s the same. Are those very cheap chisels from the ALDI or LIDL you’re promoting really so cheap, or does somebody else have to pay the price?
    Are they made with child labour?
    Are the workers (children or not) treated well?
    Are they made with respect for the environment?

    I don’t know, but what I do know is that companies like ALDI don’t have a very good track record as far as respecting human rights is concerned.

    I’m not saying that you shouldn’t promote/buy those tools, but I think you should ask yourself the question:
    Why are they so cheap?

    I’m not trying to be morally superior, I’ve an iPhone and have heard about the Foxconn scandals so I can’t say anything. Besides I’m privileged that I can afford more expensive tools.
    But I think if I had to buy cheap I would opt for second hand or maybe something like Narex tools.

    I do hope you don’t mind my crital note.

    With kind regards,
    Hans

  20. Mike Towndrow says:

    It’s a shame more companies don’t realise that production automation still needs some quality control of the final product (including design) before it reaches its paying customers. It surely wouldn’t cost that much and the increase in sales due to producing a useable decent saw/plane/chisel would surely pay dividends both in increased sales and customer satisfaction. I guess the problem with saws is that they don’t want to sell you just one saw that you can keep sharpening for the rest of your life.

    But all is not lost. To those starting out and not wanting to overcommit financially too soon, you can pick up good quality used saws and other tools on eBay. Or, even cheaper at car boot sales, as I did last weekend; for example a nice 14 TPI, 10” brass backed dovetail saw made by W.Tyzack, Sons & Turner of Sheffield, for just £1.00! Just needs sharpening. Loads of bargains to get you started are out there if you look hard enough.

    • Michael Ballinger says:

      Yeah not so much in Ireland, or at least not in Dublin. Not sure where you are but I’m sure the London and the likes would have mountains of tools.

      • Mike Towndrow says:

        My apologies, I guess it will vary from place to place. I can’t speak for London, but I can certainly say there aren’t exactly mountains of woodwork tools in the Oxfordshire car boot sales either. At the one I attended on Sunday there was only one seller with two or three woodwork tools which included the saw I bought. On other weeks at the same car boot sale there have sometimes been more stalls with woodwork tools to sell, and other times none. But persistence has been worthwhile because the tools I have found worked out considerably cheaper than those on eBay or buying new. So really just saying to anyone out there who hasn’t tried looking in car boot sales for tools, give it go. You might find nothing, but on the other hand you might find them a source of cheap, good quality, useable tools.

      • Joystick says:

        Michael,
        I agree, there are not many places to pick up a 2nd hand tool bargain in Ireland but investing some time and patience sometimes pays dividends.
        I attend Castlebar Town (County Mayo) boot sale on an irregular basis (about a two hour gentle drive for me) and the last time I was there I picked up a Record No.06 plane for €20. It needs a bit of work but otherwise I see it as another quality tool for my tool kit.
        There doesn’t seem to be the same history of boot sales/flea markets that the U.K. has enjoyed here in Ireland but they do exist and sometimes you can be lucky. Even if you found nothing of interest and came away with no purchase, the trip to another part of the country is a nice occasional Sunday excursion usually finishing off with a pub meal with your partner who has no doubt picked up a bargain or two.

  21. Jeff Mazur says:

    Thanks for the head-up, Paul. I’m a beginner in woodworking (not just hand tools, but all woodworking), and have gravitated toward your recommendations a few times (diamond sharpening plates, hand planes, router plane being a few) and not been sorry. You’re a good egg, thanks for the help. Will continue to support you as my means allow (saving for a copy of the Essential Hand Tools… book right now 🙂 Cheers!

  22. Greg Marshall says:

    As a new woodworker myself, I’ve no idea if I’ve fallen into traps like this. For example, I’m able to get really nice results with a cheap Irwin plane after following Paul’s sharpening and setup instruction. However, no matter what saw I use, I am not happy with my results. I’ve got a couple of older saws I tried sharpening myself and I have a couple of PAX saws. I even have a Veritas dovetail saw. What’s missing, in my opinion, is a way for new woodworkers to learn the basics of using some of these tools properly.

    Perhaps I’ve forgotten (I think I’ve watched all of your videos, Paul – what a blessing!) but there’s not much resource that I can find to learn how to properly use handsaws. Maybe it’s just practice I’m lacking still. Any advice on how to learn enough to determine if technique vs tool is the issue?

    • Neil Horn says:

      Saw set has a big impact on the direction of your cut. Paul hasn’t addressed the issue of beginners learning to set their saws to correct direction of cut. Too much set to one side leads the saw in that direction.
      It takes fine tuning to make a saw cut straight. That’s why people keep paying high prices for new saws hoping to buy one that cuts straight. Your grandfather’s saw will make a fine cut if it is tuned to go in the correct path.

  23. Bill Anderson says:

    I will turn 60 in November of this year, and the older I get the more cynical I have become. The reason for this is because what Paul is saying about so many manufactured goods being poorly made have become rampant around the world. As a younger man, I seemed to be rather excepting of this fact. Now, I get angry. But One person’s anger isn’t enough to stem the tide of this ugly trend even if a letter of complaint is sent to the offending company. We must all do so as a cohesive body of disenchanted end users of inadequate goods.

  24. Mike Z. says:

    I went through this recently with another brand saw sold in the US, but obviously made in the same exact factory – down to the same blue item tag no less. Had it not been for Mr. Sellers telling me to look, listen and indeed learn I would have been stuck with a saw that worked as well as this one he wrote about. Not a bad saw indeed, but not even remotely close to a finished product by any means! Basically a starter kit, and had I been able to see through the packaging I would have known that. So much for a cheap price being any kind of bargain. Our coping saws here are no better, and why retailers still sell these defective designs is beyond me. They do not really even work! Thanks again AS ALWAYS Mr. Sellers for really teaching us true knowledge and the ability to look and learn for ourselves. Keep up your good work, these companies should be ashamed of themselves.

  25. Mark Edsforth says:

    I would like to offer my thanks to Paul for knowing when to call-out brands when they are misguided. I would go further, and suggest that forums such as this might create and maintain a supplier list of “Best-in-Class” tools, led by Paul but with input from the wider readership. In the last 2 years, I have made a few mistakes, buying the wrong tools, and would really appreciate input from Paul and my fellow woodworkers as I expand my tools. Meanwhile, any information, based on sound opinion, is most welcome.

  26. Dick Sargent says:

    Paul,
    I agree with you on the poor quality of Nicholson files but you must understand that in the case of this company and many others here in the states that it’s even worse.
    Large conglomerate corporations like Cooper tools have bought out names like Nicholson, Simmonds ,Cresent and Lufkin tapes. They sell their cheapened and inferior tools to the unsuspecting or less knowledgeable craftsman. All the while touting the great qualities of these tools under the guise of once reputable makers names.
    So Paul please don’t confuse the Nicholson file of today with those of yesteryear. The shoulders you speak of being stood upon have been cut to their knees by these large greedy corporations.

    • Paul Sellers says:

      I understand all of this, Dick, but if just a few more people would join in the shout we would be heard. The woodworking magazines are in the pay of these companies via advertising and so too many online channels so we very much face the giants alone all the more. When I used to go to the woodworking shows and teach about hand tools no one else was doing it and all were laughing at me as the big joke there. I recall Bosch, Dewalt, and many others walking by my 10 by 10 booth and laughing at me but one by one they devoured each other and now we have the voice they can never have.

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