• Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Sometimes an inexpensive tool can be designed and made perfectly well enough to do its job.

I wanted a new crosscut saw for breaking down stock, something faster than what I had been using. I found it at my local Woodcraft store: a Pony brand 22″ handsaw, manufacturer’s model #66221, for $15.99. For the inelegant task of rough crosscutting, this tool vastly exceeded my expectations. It cuts like a Tasmanian devil and tracks surprisingly well.

The diamond ground teeth, 8 ppi, each have 3 bevels which make them essentially Japanese cross cut teeth with a negative rake. The induction hardening makes them unable to be sharpened in the shop, so when they dull, no doubt after a very long time, the saw will go to the metal recycling pile. The manufacturer states that the saw cuts on both the push and pull stroke, though the push stroke does most of the work. Not surprisingly, the saw does not rip very well.

I measured the saw plate, which is straight enough, at 0.040″ with 0.004″ set, each side. The plate is not taper ground (of course, it’s $15.99!) so it is helpful to keep it waxed to avoid pitch build up from some woods and thus slower sawing. The soft-grip handle is adequate, though it tends to lure my hand into a hammer grip rather than a better grip with the index finger extended. The handle acts as a 45/90 square, quick and handy for stock breakdown.

Several times in this blog, I’ve made the case for buying the best quality tools one can afford, going beyond tools that are just “OK.” Yet, I really like this saw because it does its job, which requires more power than finesse, very well and with ease. I think that makes it a good saw even though it lacks certain refinements that I can do without. That leaves more of my woodworking budget to devote elsewhere. Where? Take your pick of great saw makers – Lie-Nielsen, Bad Axe, Wenzloff, Lunn, etc., or what I own several of: Gramercy.

[As with other tool reviews on this blog, this is unsolicited and unpaid.]

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5 Responses

  1. 1

    I always like it when cheaper tools are adequate. Finding them can be an expensive experience.

    I have no experience with Japanese cross cut teeth, but this blade looks assymetrical, where one side was grinded deeper than the other. Does it cut straight?


  2. 2
    J Nelson 

    Hi Rob,

    Zona makes some inexpensive fine tooth saws for craft work that are excellent. I’ve got a couple and they produce a very fine cut. At their price (all under $10) they might be considered throw-aways, but I’m certain they could be converted to card scrapers when they get dull.

  3. 3


    Yea, an “expensive experience,” well said.

    The teeth are not asymmetrical and the saw does cut straight. The teeth with the three bevels visible in the photo are set away from the viewer, and the teeth with their bevels hidden from the viewer are set toward the viewer. Basically this is like Western cross cut filing but with a third bevel.

    Hi John,

    Thanks. Yea, some of those Zona saws would be a great way to do some low-budget woodworking. I found the #35-560 with 24 tpi rip, pull stroke, and 0.010″ plate is a decent dovetail saw for $9.90. Still, it won’t replace my much more expensive Gramercy or my rip dozuki. The 35-380, which I have not tried but might be a good push-cut alternative, has 18 tpi (not sure if rip or x-c) with a 0.020″ plate.


  4. 4

    I replaced plastic handle with real thing on my Pony Saw.
    You can see my modified Pony Saw here

  5. 5

    Nice job, Yuri. It looks like you’ve kept the “hang” angle of the original handle which feels about right to me.

    Some woodworkers like to make their own handles and this might eliminate the need to drill the saw plate.

    Thanks for the idea.