Backsaws, with their stiffened blades and relatively fine teeth, are ideal for precise joint-making. Frame saws, designed for cutting curves, are useful tools for removing waste from intricate joints.

Handsaws Fine Toothe Pattern

Tenon saw (traditional pattern)

Tenon saw

The general-purpose tenon saw is perfect for cutting most workpieces square and for sawing comparatively large joints. A well-balanced tenon saw with a 250 to 300mm (10 to 12in) blade is comfortable to use for extended periods.

Tenon saw (traditional pattern)

Dovetail Pattern
Dovetail saw (traditional pattern)

Dovetail saw (modern pattern)

Dovetail saw

A dovetail saw has even smaller teeth than the tenon saw, and is reserved for cutting fine joints in hardwoods. You can get a 200mm (8in) dovetail saw with either a traditional-pattern closed grip or a straight handle and a longer blade.

Coping saw

A lightweight frame saw with a 150mm (Sin) blade held under tension, the coping saw is useful for removing the waste from between dovetails and similar joints. The very narrow blades ^^^ are replaced when | l^ft^^B^f blunt or broken.

Picture Frame Rabbet GripsBroken Coping Saw

Coping saw


Bench planes are general-purpose tools used to smooth the surfaces of timber and to plane it square and true. Wooden planes are still available, but nearly all planes are now made from metal. In addition, you will need a few special ized planes for shaping and trimming joints.

Wooden smoothing

Wooden smoothing

Rabbet plane

This is no longer an essential tool, now that power routers are widespread, but rabbeting is surprisingly fast by hand. The plane has an adjustable fence and depth stop; with the blade mounted near the toe, you can cut stopped rabbets. The pointed spur mounted on the side of the plane scores the wood ahead of the blade when rabbeting across the grain.

Jack plane

The 350mm (1 ft 2in) jack plane is long enough to plane most edges accurately. An even longer version, the try plane, is perfect for preparing edge-to-edge butt joints, but is expensive, so most woodworkers manage with the jack plane.

Smoothing plane

The smoothing plane is the smallest bench plane available, at 225mm (9in) long, and is ideal for final shaping and finishing of workpieces. Some woodworkers prefer the feel of a wooden smoothing plane, with its distinctive ergonomic grip and lignum-vitae sole.

Woodworking Joinery Machine

Shoulder plane (top)

A dedicated joint-cutting tool, the all-metal shoulder plane is designed specifically for shaving square shoulders on larger joints. Its blade is set at a low angle to enable it to slice through end grain.

Bull-nose plane (above)

A miniature version of the shoulder plane, the bull-nose plane is useful for trimming small joints.

Plough plane (top)

An inexpensive plane, used for cutting narrow grooves parallel with an edge, this comes with a range of interchangeable cutters, from 3 to 12mm (1/s to V^in)

Block plane

A block plane is small enough to be used single-handedly, yet strong enough to take generous shavings for fast shaping and trimming. It is a good general-purpose plane, much used for cutting end grain.

wide. Plough planes are fitted with a strong side fence and a depth stop.

Combination Plane Machine

Combination plane (above)

The sophisticated combination plane cuts even wider grooves than a plough plane, and can be used to shape a matching tongue along the edge of another component. The tool can also be modified to plane a raised bead along a tongued edge.

Router plane (left)

Once the preferred tool for levelling housings and hinge recesses, the hand router plane has largely been superseded by the power router. Nevertheless, because of its relative cheapness and simplicity, it is still a worthy tool, and is capable of very accurate work. Special adjustable cutters are made for levelling square and dovetail housings.

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

THIS book is one of the series of Handbooks on industrial subjects being published by the Popular Mechanics Company. Like Popular Mechanics Magazine, and like the other books in this series, it is written so you can understand it. The purpose of Popular Mechanics Handbooks is to supply a growing demand for high-class, up-to-date and accurate text-books, suitable for home study as well as for class use, on all mechanical subjects. The textand illustrations, in each instance, have been prepared expressly for this series by well known experts, and revised by the editor of Popular Mechanics.

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