The Table Saw According To Hodgson

The Table Saw According To Hodgson

Back in the early days of the internet, namely IRC rec.woodworking, there was an ongoing debate on what is a Table Saw, that long, thin handsaw every manufacturer offered but never explained what or why in their catalogs. Being the book and paper guy that I have always been, I referred to that tome of information on all things handsaws, Fred Hodgson's Handsaws: Their Use, Care And Abuse, 1883.

This excerpt from Hodgson explains why I typically refer to early texts rather than searching the internet for modern day myths and theories. There is little under the sun when it comes to most hand tools that has not been sorted out over the past 300 years. We like to think that we are inventing New and Earth Shaking hand tools but nearly all have been proven by use, back then. Change the look, change the materials, change the name but most are what they where.

Handsaws. Their Use, Care And Abuse by Fred Hodgson 1883

“The French workman sometimes places his plank on the saw horses and starts his saw in the wood the usual way, and then he gets behind the saw and sits astride the stuff, and cuts the plank with the saw-teeth pointing away from him. He grasps the saw with both hands, and follows up his work by keeping the saw moving forward after the saw. I have seen Germans using the rip saw this way with success, and have tried it myself with satisfaction.”
“The Table Saw, or, as is sometimes called, the Ship Carpenter’s Saw, has a long narrow blade, and is intended for cutting sweeps or cants having long radius.”