Avatar Of Mike In TnMike in TN
Post count: 301

Please forgive me repeating much of what the previous posters have stated .

There is a lot of confusion around associated with the term “panel saw”. As I understand it, the term was originally used for a shorter hand saw that was sized to fit into smaller tool boxes and designed the more limited work normally performed by cabinetmakers and some joiners. One thing to note is that The idea was that the shorter saws was suitable for sawing panels, used in cabinet and wainscot work, as opposed to the long strokes used in carpentry work. The term is increasingly used for any of the handsaws used for carpentry work regardless of length. Obviously, Patrick is aware of the differences and is seeking a set of the shorter length saws. One thing to note is that the saws normally sold in “the big box stores” are about the same length as panel saws and, while not high-end, will preform most crosscut functions adequately well at much lower cost than many of the saws on the market. Also note that there is no real advantage to the panel saws except for easier storage and fewer teeth to sharpen when sharpening has to be done.  Sometimes, “cheap” is good enough, sometime it isn’t, and you get to make that decision.

Rip cuts are a different story. The old rip saws were more common in the longer length because most saws were produced, in general for carpentry work. Ripping long boards was difficult work  and longer saws, longer strokes, made the work go faster. Short board ripping was simply not as laborious. Common saw offerings are now shorter because power tools have pretty much replaced hand tools in carpentry and the shorter saws are easier to store. While some of the “big-box” saws will do some ripping, they aren’t really designed for that work and don’t do it very well. You can re-tooth a saw as long as the teeth haven’t been impulse hardened, but if you are going to do that, why not just do the work on an fine old saw that needs sharpening anyway? While saw sharpening really isn’t a difficult thing to learn ( I recommend it to any serious woodworker) and the necessary tools are relatively inexpensive, but it is beyond what Patrick wants to take on right now. Unfortunately Patrick may either be faced with purchasing a high end new rip saw, buying an older saw from  dealer who specializes in restoring old saws, learning to sharpen, or settling on a standard length carpentry rip saw and one of the options mentioned.

Buying a set of the saws Mr. Sellers recommends may be a good option. He typically tries to steer woodworkers to economical options. If you are like me, when building my tool kit I was focused on “bang-for-the- buck” and ignored the high end offerings unless they offered significant benefits that the other available tools didn’t. That is why I learned to restore, re-sharpen, and build. Most new tools are sold needing some tuning, older tools usually need restoring and it is a never ending task in the woodshop. Even though some of my current tools are “high end” I have never regretted developing those skills.

Have fun