I've tried a few times to make useful yet portable things out of wood and never really succeeded. To cut a long story short, what I never realized was that handsaws sold in home improvement stores are worse than useless, and all I needed to do was get something else.
The Gyokucho Ryoba Saw — itself $20 or so at Amazon — changed everything for me. Instead of crude, difficult, frustratingly slow cuts irrespective of grain, it glided through so easily that woodworking became instantly fun and creative instead of a grueling waste of effort.
To woodworking naifs like myself, the Japanese design might be alarming at first: you cut on the pull instead of the push, and (at least on this type of saw) there's a second set of teeth instead of a reinforced back. One set's filed to rip with the grain, the other to make crosscuts. I got used to it in moments, and so will you.
I'd almost forked out $100 on a fancy backsaw, but I doubt I'll ever need something like that now even if I spend the rest of life sawing random lengths of wood in my garage.
The first things I've made: a workbench, two radiator covers and a new desk.
Woohoo! I know these are beginners' work, but these items are solid, stable, and exactly what I wanted. Dirt cheap too: perhaps $30 of wood each. (The $200+ cost of custom-fitting covers for big old radiators is what motivated me here).
Honestly this thing makes sawing wood so easy it's like playing fucking Minecraft. Read the rest