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I’ve always cut tenons with a handsaw. I’ve used Japanese pullsaws and small Western backsaws successfully, but they all have drawbacks. For example, a typical dozuki has too many teeth, so it cuts very slowly. The rip teeth on a ryobi cut quicker, but without a back, the blade can buckle. The Western backsaw is close to perfect but it, too, has too many teeth for a fast cut. It’s also fairly short, so it takes a lot of strokes to make a tenon.
The Lie-Nielsen 16-in. tenon saw ($175, lie-nielsen.com) solves these problems. It has 11 teeth per inch, filed for a ripcut. Spread that over its 16-in. blade, and you can really move through the wood. The saw is well-balanced and has a comfortable handle. It really is the perfect saw for tenons.
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