Building A Chicken Coop

When discussing hand tools, often the questions that power tool users ask, are about the relative speed and accuracy. If you want to go exclusively to hand tool use, what do you lose? I am used to using a power drill/screwdriver, and a circular saw for a lot of my outdoors, get it done, work. Every so often I try to mix it up though. Since the love of my life was going to be out of town and I needed to build a chicken coop, this was a perfect opportunity. The circular saw is perhaps the third most dangerous tool we use, I decided not to use it, instead I would use a handsaw.

For those who are interested the most dangerous tool is a chain saw. Arteries and deep leg cuts are bad. The second most dangerous is the table saw. Fingers, hands and eyes tend toward danger here. The third most dangerous is the spinning blade of the circular saw. With my wife missing, I was not going to use any of those tools for safety sake and her peace of mind. Not that I am much tempted to use the chainsaw to make a chicken coop.

As far as speed goes, when making single cuts, on cedar picket, with a Razor Saw 650, the hand saw was about the same speed as the circular saw.

When cutting a 4×4 the hand saw won, hands down. It can make the cut precisely with a single pass. The circular saw is dependent on having two parallel sides, in addition to clear markings. The circular saw requires two passes.

When making cuts on already assembled structures, the handsaw also won hands down. When cutting to a precise line, and stopping, the hand saw was able to do what the circular saw could not. The handsaw also left much cleaner edges than the circular saw would have.

Small shapes are not a good option with the circular saw. The circular saw requires more setup and setup time. Angled cuts require a wedge to hold the blade guard back. Care must be taken to be sure you are not going to trip or cut the cord. The cord must be run and taken up at the end of the job.

When cutting three or four boards at a time, or cutting angles, the circular saw would have been faster. Some of the wood I cut was a touch damp, the circular saw would have been a lot less work. Both saws require a good square, pencil and marking knife to do a good job. The hand saw leaves a cleaner cut. All in all, since a lot of cuts are repetitive, the circular saw would have made my work faster.

Given speed of work as a major requirement, both saws are needed. If I could only have one, the more agile and flexible choice is the hand saw. The hand saw also has the advantage of not needing power. While I was sawing our local deer came nearby and looked at me for a while while as she was browsing for acorns. This probably wouldn’t have happened if I was using the powered circular saw.


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