We’ve been working on a house project this summer. I had a couple of 8-foot boards that needed to become twice as many 4-foot boards. I own a perfectly good power saw. It’s cut a lot of lumber but I would rather use the handsaw. If I need to cut a piece of wood, I almost always reach for the handsaw. As I was sawing through these boards, I was contemplating the reasons why I prefer to use a handsaw.

Rhythm: Maybe it’s because I am a musician and I love rhythms. There is nothing more magical than falling into a groove with a handsaw and a piece of wood. I just spent 20 minutes trying to type the sound that happens when a saw makes that magical vibration. It looked ridiculous. If you aren’t familiar with this sound, invest in a handsaw and hear it for yourself.

Exercise: The handsaw is a better exercise. If time permits, exercise is better than efficiency.

Legacy: People have been doing this particular task in this manner for a long time. The power saw feels like cheating. The handsaw feels like a connection to humanity. The handsaw is the way it’s always been done.

I prefer a handsaw. I prefer acoustic guitars to electric guitars. I grind my coffee by hand every morning. It occurs to me that there is a fine line between quaint and neurotic.

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