Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bow saw

The dining table is getting to me. Planing large boards like this is much more difficult then I had thought. It seems that difficulty doesn't rise linearly with the size, it's at least exponential! But the second slab has now one very flat, very smooth and very exiting face.

To keep my mental sanity though this job I do some small projects in between. First it was the Ulmia saw, now it is an old fashioned, English style bow saw. I used the blades and the pattern from Tools for working Wood in New York. Sending a couple of bowsaw blades over the ocean isn't too expensive. The rest of the hardware I made myself. The frame is from some ash, with straight grain, because the tension puts a lot of force on the legs of the saw.

The handles were turned from a piece of American wallnut. I don't have a wood turning lathe, so I misused the metal working lathe at work to create my handles. I used an old gouge, sharpened as good as I can, but turning was not easy and in the end I had to use a lot of sandpaper to smooth out all the roughness. But it was fun for a while.

And this is the result. Not perfect at all, not even all the rasping marks have been smoothed out, but it works.  Not really easy to follow a line with this saw, it takes practice. I made one critical change to the design of the saw. I added some rubber washers between the handles and the frame, so the handles don't turn around too easilly. That makes it a lot easier to use.


  1. It looks great from here! It looks pretty light in color. Did you put a finish on it?

  2. Not yet, no time! I'll probably just dump some lineseed oil onto it.