3 Saws and a Miter Box.
A beginning woodworker needs enough equipment to make only two types of cuts; the cross cut and curve.
For cross cuts, I suggest a Japanese-style “pistol grip” carpenter’s saw for older makers, age 7 & up. For very young makers, 4 to 7, I suggest the smaller flush-cut saw. These two saws are a good start without sacrificing functionality and capability.
Both saws really stand out making crosscuts. The Japanese-style “pistol grip” carpenter’s saw can cut through wood, plastic and plywood with ease, easily create joinery and dimension lumber, all while being perfectly sized for young people 7 & up. For the very small, I suggest a Japanese-style flush-cut saw. Sharp, small teeth attached to a small, comfortable handle.
Coping saws round out the kit. Specialty carriers carry great saws for between $10 – $15. If that is too much (say, you are buying in bulk for a makerspace) look for one-piece hard-plastic or wood-handled coping saw, not over-molded soft plastic. All of my blue plastic-handled coping saws have failed within two years of use.
A miter box helps makers saw accurately, focus on technique and minimize injury. Miter boxes can be found at any big box or woodworking specialty store for just a few dollars, or can be made easily. Check out my instructions here!
Once a maker gains a skill, the dual-edge ryoba saw adds long rip cuts and hand-cut joinery to the maker’s toolbox.
The best part of all? Cheap saws work just as well as the expensive versions. A full kit (flush cut saw, coping saw, ryoba saw, carpenter’s saw) costs just under $30 at import tool dealers. With these tools, beginning makers can cut any problem down to size.
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