Okay, I was kinda looking forward to sawing the ends off my bench. I knew I didn’t have a circular saw that was up to the challenge and there was no way I was getting that beast up on my table saw, so I was going to have to break out the panel saw. I also got to play with a new toy I got from Lee Valley: mutton tallow.
I’ve been kinda obsessed with tool lubrication recently, which makes for a lot of interesting google searches. So when Lee Valley started carrying mutton tallow, I had to pick up a tin. When I received it, I immediately smeared some on my plane soles. It worked well, but it wasn’t as convenient as the chunk of paraffin wax I keep in my apron pocket. But the downside to paraffin is it sucks at lubricating saws. Imagine rubbing a candle on a sawblade; yeah, that bad.
And that is where mutton tallow really shines. Smear a little on my thumb and forefinger, slide them down the backside of the teeth and the first inch of the plate, and it’s cutting like a brand new saw (which is important, because my panel saws are terribly in need of sharpening). But the best part is the material. Mutton tallow is essentially lamb fat. And if you’ve ever cooked lamb, you know the fat has a very distinctive smell. Every time I open that little tin and catch that whiff of lamb, the first thing that comes to mind is “No meat? We have lamb!”
But back to the sawing part. After spending about a half a day pondering that “square framing square” (and even “square square”) is a complete verb phrase, I got around to squaring my square. The old Home Depot square was more than a little out of square, but a few minutes with a dead blow hammer and a screwdriver fixed that.
For the sawing itself, I used a combination of two grips. I started with the typical “overhand grip” that is usually associated with using a panel saw. Then, after I made significant headway, I moved on to a vertical grip. I moved off to the side of the bench, rotated the saw to a vertical position, gripped the handle in 2 hands and pumped the saw straight up and down, like a miniature pit saw. Which worked out great. Overhand sawing produces a long, angular cut and the vertical sawing follows along that path. Alternating the grips kept my arms from getting too tired, which is easy to do when cutting a massive block of wood with a very dull saw.
Speaking of massive blocks of wood, I had to take a picture of the “offcut” from one side of the bench. Yeah, that’s about 3 inches thick, 8 inches wide, and 22 inches deep.