In case you haven't heard, there's a new breed of hand saws on the market today and they've been completely blowing wood workers away. Do a quick search for Bad Axe Tool Works on Google and you'll see what I'm talking about.
This post isn't about my Bad Axe saws, although I could write about how easy they are to start and how fast and straight they cut, maybe a note or two about the fine detailed handles or the incredible etching in the saw plates but no, this post is about my friend down in La Crosse, Wisconsin by name of Mark Harrell.
While writing my book over the past 16 months I got to know Mark a bit more and we exchanged ideas and thoughts about hand tools and book pages, Jamaican vacations and the environment. It's no surprise that he crept into the pages of my book (as you'll hopefully see) and the last time Mark and I made contact I told him I was going to send him a copy just as soon as I get my shipment. Well in true Techno style he said an honest 'thank you' but sent me a package that arrived here today. A nice set of bench hooks and a Bad Axe mug...nice. That's the kind of person Mark is, I certainly wasn't sending him a copy of my book with the hopes to get something in return but he said his thank you with a gift.
So I did like anyone would do and made myself a strong coffee and went down into the wood shop. The first thing I noticed about the hooks is the finish; on his website he mentions the surfaces are planed but not smoothed and the friction is a bonus while working. Well they are indeed planed and absolutely beautifully made. The Red Oak he uses is a perfect choice for this application and I'm sure they'll stand up to all of my abuse! They're the kind of accessory I'll leave on my bench top, always there ready to work and the fact that they look good is a bonus! He sells them as a 'set' which makes a ton of sense for working with longer stock over the width of your bench top. I took a few pieces of scrap wood and tried all the miters, no surprises they were bang on!
This is a real nice set for anyone who would rather go straight to work and not spend the time building your own. If you've already purchased a Bad Axe back saw you know exactly what I'm talking about but why not complete the collection with a set of bench hooks? They're a great compliment to these incredible saws.