Saturday, May 29, 2010

First attempt at saw making

Well, here's my first saw build, complete except for the teeth. I actually made the blade for this about 6 months ago but just got around to making the handle this past week.

The saw plate is from a sheet of .018 1095 spring steel from McMaster-Carr. The steel comes with a blued finish which you could leave on if you wanted, I chose to sand it off and have a bright saw plate. I wanted this saw to have the look of an 18th century saw so when I cut the saw plate, I canted it, 1 5/8" at the toe, 1 7/8" at the heel. I did this with a floor model metal sheer. I chose a steel back for this saw instead of brass. It started out as a piece of 3/4" angle iron from Lowes. I slowly and carefully bent this closed in a machinist vise, moving it in slow increments from side to side being careful not to kink or bend the back crooked. This is the hardest part of the whole process. Once I got it bent closed, I shaped it, filed the imperfections out of it, and then sanded the file marks out. Then it was time to install the saw plate. I started with the saw back on the bench and the top heel corner of the saw plate inserted in the rear of the saw back at 90 degrees to it. I tapped that corner in and then worked my way toward the toe, tapping it down into the back as I went. The useable depth under the back is 1 1/8" at the toe and 1 3/8" at the handle.

The handle is black walnut and the shape is modeled after the Wenzloff Early Kenyon Saw. Made a paper pattern and attached it to the walnut with a glue stick, cut the handle to rough shape with a coping saw, then lots of work with a couple of rasp and a chisel, followed by progressively finer grades of sand paper. The finish is four coats of wipe on clear satin poly. Stumbled across the hardware at a True Value. Not sure what they're supposed to be used for, but they work pretty well as saw nuts. And less than a dollar a piece. Now I just have to find to nerve to cut the teeth. Trying to decide between 15 and 17 PPI.

This project has been a lot of fun and I'll definitely do some more. Really want to make a copy of the Tenon Saw shown in Smiths Key.


Bob Rozaieski said...

Nicely done! Don't be nervous about cutting the teeth. It's not as hard as it might seem. Start by just locating each gullet with a pass or two of the file. Then make another pass down the saw to deepen the gullets almost to finished depth, but still leaving a very small flat on each tooth. Finally make a third pass down the saw and finish the teeth off. Making the teeth gradually instead of trying to go full depth in one pass gives you an opportunity to make adjustments as you go. Just take your time and you should have no problem. Again, really nice job!

baconj said...

Hi Bob! Thanks for the compliment and the encouragement! You were pretty much my on-line mentor for the metal work on this saw. I used your idea of the angle iron from Lowes for the spine. Worked great on this one. Having trouble getting 1" angle to cooperate for larger saws. You had mentioned to me previously about trying heat when bending the angle. May have to try this when I get time. As for the teeth, I'm thinking 15 PPI filed rip with maybe about a 5 degree relaxed rake. MIGHT do the first 2" or so at the toe at 17 PPI, thought I'm not sure it'll make much difference.
Thanks for the inspiration and for putting out an always interesting and informative blog.

Jamie Bacon

The Village Carpenter said...

Jamie, great job on the saw! I can't believe you're nervous about filing the teeth. Seems to me like you know what you're doing in the toolmaking department. :o)