Trying Pine

Eleven-Foot Pine Plank

I have made ample mistakes during my journey as a hobbyist woodworker and wasted a fair amount of good, expensive wood. Bookshelves and their like which use dados, rebates and grooves are easy to put together but when it comes to more difficult (for me) joints such as dovetails, mortise and tenons, things are different. 

Often something goes wrong and I have to start all over again. I have to either trim the piece that has gone wrong or use it for some other purpose. This is often frustrating because I have been using Teak, which is expensive and takes a lot of milling. 

One reason why I have been using Teak despite its cost is the paucity of decent furniture grade wood available in the suburb where I stay. Recently, however, while shopping for some plywood at a local timber store, I spotted some pretty nice looking slabs of Pine, two inches thick, eleven wide and eleven feet long. 

I bought a couple of pieces for about ` 2,200 and had them band sawn in half. Each piece came out about 7/8th of an inch thick, which was fine. I thus had 4 eleven-foot planks costing about ` 600 each (including the sawing and delivery). It is not a bad deal given that this is to be an experiment with Pine and I won’t feel bad if my project goes wrong.

I plan to make a two and a half feet wide tool chest for my hand tools. I have figured that a tool chest with two drawers, a bottom slot for hand saws and a shallow box on the top will accommodate the bulk of my hand tools, and all of the most frequently used ones.

Measure First
To make matters manageable, I first marked and sawed the pine planks to three smaller pieces.

Pine is very easy to work with
I found Pine to be extremely easy to work and quite liked the figure. I also found the strong scent of Pine very appealing. 

One problem was that the planks had cupped after being band sawn and to avoid excessive labour, I cut them in half along their length, and then milled each piece separately. 

Pine Planks
I was left with a lot of planks that I painstakingly glued together to make the 15 inch plus wide panels for the top, bottom, sides and divider of the chest.

Flattening the Panel
After the gluing, they had to be planed down to remove the cup in each piece as well as the pronounced band saw marks. This is a lot of effort and planing and sanding them down (with a random orbital sander) is going to take some time. Hopefully I will have prepared the sides for dovetailing by next week.

Till then, best wishes and cheers.

My Cacti
Great weather here in north India by the way: cold but ideal for a lot of eating and drinking. My cacti too seem to be enjoying themselves!

Indranil Banerjie
18 January 2014


  1. Hi Indranil,

    You had reviewed about the Japanese hand saws and had mentioned about their superior cuts. However in your recent project photos you seem to be using the Stanley Hand Saw. Is there any particular reason why you are not using the Japanese saws ? Are they not useful for general purpose cutting ?


  2. tbucks: Good question! These days I generally use my Japanese saws for cutting joints and very precise cuts. The teeth of the Japanese saws are very fine, which slows them down. Also the teeth can be damaged and eventually the blade will require replacement. The Stanley saws, on the other hand, are far more robust and great for cutting large pieces to size. I have a Japanese saw meant for cutting larger pieces of timber but I found it rather rough. For most jobs I still rely on the big Stanley multi-purpose saw and a smaller Stanley fine cut saw.

  3. Indranil

    For cross cut, would back saw be a better option? Any reason for using the hand saw? I guess you have back saw too. Trying to learn from your experience.

  4. Satish: The Large saw you see me using in the photograph is called a multi-purpose saw by Stanley and I find it cross cuts pretty well and rips too. Backsaws are a fine option for crosscuts as they generally have crosscutting teeth configurations. Some backsaws like tenon saws have rip teeth configurations. A regular back saw like the one Stanley sells in India would be fine for cross cutting as well for small rip cuts such as for tenons and dovetails. I tend to experiment with my saws and use ones that I think will best suit the job.

  5. Can you please post the handsaw model number?

  6. Satish: The two Stanley saws I find extremely useful are: the mini utility sharp tooth saw (Part No 20-221, 10 inches, 12 points per inch) and the General Purpose Saw (Part No. 20-080). I am not sure if the part nos. are correct because the Indian Stanley Works website appears to have a lot of errors, including spelling mistakes and so on. So double check before you buy. Good luck.

  7. Indranil

    I bought 20-080 Stanley handsaw today and tried it on a 12mm plywood. I could hardly move the saw on the wood. With great difficult I could do the pull stroke but could not do push stroke.

    Am I using the wrong saw for plywood?

  8. Satish: I am mystified by your problem. 6mm plywood should not be a problem for any saw. I really cannot say what the problem could be. The only suggestion I can offer is that you should clamp the plywood firmly onto something before sawing.

  9. Tried once again after watching your video. Same result.

    I bought the saw online. My saw did not have "general purpose saw " label . It is labeled Cross cut saw and seven points.

    Planning to take it to a carpenter to verify.


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