Slotted vs. Folded backs

Discussion in 'Saw Makers Forum' started by TraditionalToolworks, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. TraditionalToolworks

    TraditionalToolworks Most Valued Member

    Funny that this would even be a controversial topic. There are people who still believe that a folded back functions better on a handsaw, as they did during the 18th and 19th Centuries.

    For the life of me, I can't figure why they would think so, after all most all the saws I have with folded backs on them have been dropped at some point in time and have the front of the back smashed down on the plate.

    And it's really odd that if you do fix one and position the back where it should be, it can fall to floor again and do the very same thing.

    A slotted back, OTOH, is fixed for the most part and in place. It really doesn't change, even if it is dropped on the floor.

    I have exchanged quite a bit of mail with Pete Taran in the past about this, and he pointed out that the very reason they came up with the slotted back was because of how the back becomes repositioned when it drops.

    What do some of you others feel about that? Do you think the slotted back is superior to a folded back, or is it just something me and a select few that feel that way?
  2. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

    Hi Alan,

    I love how the internet makes such "controversial" discussions even possible. It's always great reading why people hold different opinions.

    I've only ever made backsaws with slotted backs, well except one a long time ago which was a three piece laminated contruction. A slotted back has the advantages you mention, and additionally has a production advantage that it is easier to make without access to a large press to do the folding.

    TFWW make folded backs, Mike Wenzloff does both folded and slotted, Lie Nielsen make slotted.... I don't think it matters all that much, for robustness I would vote for slotted.

  3. TraditionalToolworks

    TraditionalToolworks Most Valued Member

    Yes, I agree...although some folks just take it too personal, and have spoiled that on many of the fora, at least for me. I won't mention any names, but suffice to say that some people have such tunnel vision, that they find it wrong to think outside the box.

    I, OTOH, believe we can almost always improve.

    In that regard I see no reason to stick with a folded back, if in fact the slotted back in superior, which it does in fact appear to be.

    Interesting to note however that Mike Wenzloff is the only one making both styles, and if you ask Mike (which I have) he will tell you that he prefers to make slotted backs.

    I wouldn't expect Joel to believe anything other than a folded back, as that is how it was done traditionally.

    In that regard, a canted blade means nothing to me, and I make my saws with the same amount of plate below the toe as I do the heel. I use a slotted back as I feel it's superior. I also use superior materials.

    I try to incorporate new ideas into my saws, such as putting an inlay in the handle...something I wanted to do, not that I had seen somewhere.

    Another new idea coming soon...stay tuned...;)
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012