Difficulty finding 30" handsaws

The manual stated that it was best to use an antique handaw with at least a 30" cutting blade. I'm quickly finding that it is either a very expensive item (ex, stradavarious handsaws are 30" but are $110+) or they're are an antique (also expensive) and probably shouldn't be cutting anything let alone a boat that i've just worked on for the last few months. 24" and 26" handsaws however are fairly easy to find, but wondering how important it is to stay around that 30" to split my Passagemaker.

Anyone done it with a 24-26" handsaw? Or anyone find a way to source 30"+ good quality handsaws?

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RE: Difficulty finding 30" handsaws

I haven't cut a Passagemaker in two, but I have used a lot of handsaws since the LBJ administration. The first thing that comes to mind is that if an antique saw has a solid handle and the blade is in good shape (not rusty, teeth sharp, etc.) there's no reason not to use it on your boat. Remember, those old saws were built to cut hardwoods and your boat is a rather soft okoume plywood. The interply glue may dull the teeth a bit after a while, but you won't notice it while cutting the boat. I actually have plenty of hand tools from the 1930's and before that I use almost every day. In some ways, such as the quality of the wooden parts and tool steel, they are actually better than many modern tools, especially the cheap ones.

Next, I don't see why that cut would have to be done with a 30" blade instead of a 26" blade. I think that if you have the skill to effectively use those extra 4 inches, you also have the skill to make the cut with a 26" blade. The depth of the boat at the cut line is about 20" so a 26" saw should be able to cut entirely through while "riding" the gap for alignment.

Unfortunately the image of the passagemaker being cut in half has disappeared from the Life of Boats Blog so I can't link to a picture showing the process. If it was my boat I'd go ahead with the 26" saw.

One final thing to keep in mind - with saws, as with everything else, you get what you pay for. Beware of cheap saws made of inferior steel with poorly set dull teeth.



RE: Difficulty finding 30" handsaws

We started off with a longish (not sure if it was 30") saw my son had, but ended up finishing the cut with that Japanese style "pull" saw CLC sells.  If memory serves (this is 5-1/2 years ago), my son (he has the best hands of all the available crew) had some trouble with the longer saw getting into one or the other of the bulkheads, and decided to switch to the shorter saw for better control, taking it nice and easy with plenty of hands to hold and turn the work as needed.  We had to do a bit of repair work on the surfaces of the bulkheads and around the edges where the saw got off track, but it wasn't too bad.

The main thing is to have plenty of patient help to lift, turn, and hold the work as you progress.


RE: Difficulty finding 30" handsaws

   Thanks for your comments guys! I think i'm going to brave the 26" saw I have.

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