Well, I am drooling over all the pretty saws, and will take the plunge one a these days when I can save up enough pennies! Lots of good recommendations here, but I started at ground zero with one of Mark's Bad Ass bench hook sets. Boy are they beautiful!! I am almost afraid to use em for fear of scratches! They are very well made, match up perfectly, and pre-cut angles are dead on. If the saws are as well made with as much attention to details as the bench hooks, then they are works of art.
You wouldn't cut a loaf of bread fresh out of the oven by mashing down on it with your bread knife, would you?Neither would you start a saw cut by digging into the wood. It's the same thing--just let the saw do the work, as you would let the serrated edge of a bread knife gradually slice into the crust of fresh bread.
Remember that the bench hook has three main parts: the hook, which grabs the edge of your workbench, the fence against which you brace the piece of wood you will cut, and the bed, which is what your saw bites into, rather than the nice Roubo bench you've just constructed. Use your body weight as the force behind your hand pressing the work against the fence of the bench hook set. Let your sawing hand glide the teeth along the cut line of your work--just as you would slice a hot french loaf with a bread knife. Before you know it, your kerf is established, and the weight of the saw alone will deepen the cut.
I've posted a YouTube video below to demonstrate:
Bench Hook sets are a great accessory to have in your shop. You can stabilize them with bench dogs or clamps, or simply through the force of your body weight. They keep you from sawing into your bench, and they're just absolutely indespensable. You can easily make your own, or pick up one of mine on my bench hook product page.
|"I told Mark about my ‘bench hook add on’ and he decided to revamp these great work shop aids and sent me a sample that arrived this afternoon. Of course being the perfectionist he is, instead of just nailing a fence across the support rest as I did on my old set- he made these things bombproof by locking the planing stop fence into a dado cut into the support rest. The dado holds a walnut fence along with a dash of TiteBond III making these things practically indestructible. The two fences on the main hook are also made in this fashion so you can be sure they’ll never budge. I tried the miters and the planning stop tonight and am happy to say they’re spot on." ~ Tom Fidgen, from his review of the redesigned Bad Axe Bench Hook Set|