Hand Saw Overview: Gent's Saw
The "Gentleman's Saw" is a western type back saw. It was generally of a smaller size and features a simple turned handle.
A Gent's saw cuts on the push stroke and has a brass spine to keep the blade straight and stiff. During the Victorian period, science and technology were considered proper pursuits for a gentleman's leisure time, and many Victorian men dabbled in woodworking, especially model and instrument making. The Gent's Saw was a simple yet versatile item found in many a gentleman's tool box.
Because of its stiff blade and fine cut, it is well suited for tenon cutting. Shoulder cuts are marked out, and cut to the proper depth.
The tenon is finished by making the cheek cut. A stiff blade is needed to keep the cut straight and true on the deep cheek cut. The Gent's saw also excels at dovetail cutting for the same reasons. With minimal practice, the home woodworker can make fast and accurate cuts using this fine saw.
When combined with a bench hook the Gent's Saw becomes a highly accurate miter saw for thin stock and small moldings. The Victorian gentleman could pursue his hobby with a minimum of fuss and bother by keeping such versatile tools at his bench.
Owning a few quality hand saws, and practicing your techniques with them will expand the capabilities of your shop, and often save you time and effort over setting up and testing cuts on a power tool. I hope this series has inspired you to make the cut.