Monday Woodworking 101 - Hand Sawing And 1st/2nd/3rd Cuts
Monday Woodworking 101 - Hand Crosscut Sawing and 1st/2nd/3rd class cuts
First Class Cuts refer to cuts that are made in the most sensitive of ways, on cuts that will be part of the joint that will show in the final phase of the joint.
Second Class Cuts refer to cuts that are made as part of joinery and are sensitive in nature, but may not be directly viewed as part of the final piece. Think tenons and half lap joints, etc.
Third Class Cuts refer to cuts that are made early on in the process and are meant to dimension lumber to a close to final size. The name of the game here is speed and efficiency.
First Class Cut
Second Class Cut
Third Class Cut
The tools of the trade:
- Third Class Sawing Tools
- First/Second Class Sawing Tools
- Sharp Chisel
- Saw Bench Hook
- Precision Square
- Crosscut/Carcass Saw
- Making Knife
Third class sawing is all about speed and getting the lumber close to the final dimensions. You're not worried about getting that perfect show quality cut here, but rather just get everything roughly sized so it can be cleaned up in the future cuts. The tools of choice here are a pencil, some measuring tool, and an aggressive crosscut saw (in this case, a crosscut panel saw).
Mark your line. Remember, speed is the key here and you can use a pencil. Even just connecting measurements across a piece is fine.
Secure your piece to something that's stable and gives you a good cutting surface. A sawbench is best here, but I still haven't made one. I know right...
What I was trying to show here is to put your thumbnail against the line, which forces the saw against the waste side of the line. Take a couple light backstrokes to start the cut.
There we go, the cut is started. Start to take some strokes at about a 30 degree angle until your cut is finished.
Rough, but only took a second or two. Not to fret though, we'll clean this up in the future cuts.
In First & Second class cuts, we use a marking knife (or sharp edge) and a precision square to make the line. Place the square flat against your reference surface and take a very light pass with the knife to start a line. Then take a couple passes with progressively more pressure to establish a nice deep line. This works to sever the fibers and leave the show cut nice and clean of tear-out.
A nice crisp knife line has been formed.
Place the piece against your bench hook. Use a sharp chisel and light hand pressure to form a small channel or "V" against the line furthest away from you.
Place the saw in the new "V" and start taking back strokes with very light pressure. Work your way from the corner furthest away from you towards the corner closest to you. Once you start getting close, take a couple forward strokes and connect the front and back lines.
A pretty clean Second Class Cut.
For a First Class Cut, only the finest of showing quality cuts, use a sharp chisel to define a gulley or "V" along not just the furthest corner of the line - but along the entire line. The objective here is to create a kerf for the saw to ride in and a nice clean edge along the show edge of the cut.
Gulley or "V" formed. Now to be honest here, I grabbed the closest chisel I had on hand which wasn't exactly the sharpest chisel after being beaten into Purpleheart for weeks. With a nice sharp chisel and only slight hand pressure (DO NOT beat on this with a mallet), you should be able to get a nice clean V here.
A pretty clean First Class Cut.
Another angle of a pretty clean First Class Cut.