Other Peoples Videos
For some reason, we have created a culture over the last fifty or so years that is terrified of voiding warranties. We all seem to be afraid to tamper with stuff from the manufacturer, as if they are watching over our shoulder or as if their product is so perfectly designed and engineered that any tweak will ruin it forever. I say rubbish. This has gone as far as manufacturers (ahem...apple...cough) sealing their products or using proprietary fasteners to hold them closed. This unfortunate mentality often spills over onto tools (power tools included) as well, especially when we pay top dollar for good ones. I wouldn't hesitate to sharpen a dull blade or flatten the sole of a plane, so why then would I flinch at fixing a tool that hurts my hand?
If a tool is uncomfortable in the hand I find myself hesitating to use it, or not using it as it is intended which makes working with it more difficult. Why not then, adjust it to fit properly? The video below was one I was planning to shoot until I watched Mr. Paul Sellers do it better than I ever could. The music is a little dramatic for woodworking, but the information contained within is golden. New tools, and many old tools for that matter, scream for modification, refinement and a little tweaking (true tool collectors avert your eyes). If you are squeamish about modifying an antique tool to fit your hand, pick up a new one and tweak the hell out of that little guy. Handsaws with wooden handles are a great place to start. In order to make the handle modifications worth your time you'll need to get one with a decent saw plate and something that can be sharpened. Many new saws have hardened teeth, which makes them an enormous pain to sharpen but lets them stay sharp for a very long time. Here is a "2 pack" of stanley saws with "resharpenable" blades, the handles are horrible but that can be changed. They also have a pre-made "hang hole," as if hanging a saw from the handle somehow hurts the saw. If you like the hardened teeth you can always tweak a handle or replace the plastic ones with a home made tote and just swap the plate for a new one later if it gets too dull to cut well.
In any event, here is a great video covering the tweaking of a saw handle made by Mr. Paul Sellers (his entire instructional DVD line is excellent). I should like to get my videos to this quality some day, but first I'll need to organize my shop.
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