Saw Making #5: Gents Saw Conversion Part 4

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Blog entry by AgentTwitch posted 10-02-2016 10:42 PM 1780 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Gents Saw Conversion Part 3 Part 5 of Saw Making series Part 6: Gents Saw Conversion Part 5 »

Finishing the Saw Tote

We are nearing the home stretch! Thanks for following along. To recap, we decided to convert a 10” gents saw into a western dovetail saw and selected the pattern and materials in part 1. In part 2 of the series, we bored out lots of holes to shape the tote, cut the tote out on the bandsaw, hogged out the mortise for the saw back and drilled stepped holes for the brass split nut hardware on the drill press. In part 3, we cut the saw spine down, notched the saw plate to fit the saw tote pattern, and drilled out holes for the split nuts using a carbide tipped router bit.

In this installment, we are going to shape the tote using rasps, scrapers, files, and sandpaper.

There was a section of wood left over on the tote to help us align the tote on the drill press. I didn’t feel like bandsawing this off, or using a coping saw. I just grabbed the rasp and it made quick work of the curly maple. A good set of rasps are worth every penny!

Now that we are on our layout line, I like to mark a center line around the saw tote to make sure we have a nice even gentle curve.

You can see below how the cheek of the saw tote tapers to the line.

And on the other side.

Sometimes it helps to scrape away the rough rasp marks before hitting it with sandpaper. I like my standard sized card scraper, but an old razor blade with a burr works very well in small spaces.

For the cheeks, I first rasp the chamfer close to the hook. These lines are purely aesthetic, but it does add elegance.
I follow up with a few strokes of a chisel.

The nib located between the top horn and the hook can be difficult to smooth. I find it best to use a small triangle file to clean that up. It works well on the bottom of the tote between the horn and the “clip”.

Shaping the tote is just a matter of rasping a round curve to the center line on the tote.
Another useful tool to acquire is the sawmakers rasp. It has a gentle curve and cuts on one face so you can maneuver it around the handle.

Next up I mark the round overs on the horn to make sure they are symmetrical. I like to match the shape of the saw tote.

Then we use to rasp to bring them to the line.

Next up we add a “chamfer stop”. Its not really a lambs tongue, but they are sometimes referred to as one.

If you still have the paper template glued on to the tote, a card scraper and a sanding block are great tools to remove it. I used yellow glue, so I had a bit of clean up afterwards.

I then sanded the tote with 100P followed with 150P sandpaper. This is as high as I am going to sand since I am using figured wood. Charles Neil says its best to sand the wood no higher than 180P so the oil will penetrate deep into the curly figure. At this point, we are left with a block of wood that looks like a saw tote.

For the finish, I am using Boiled Linseed Oil. I used one part BLO and 2 parts mineral spirits and simply wiped it on.

The wood obsorbed every drop of the BLO, so I added a second cote. I wiped off the excess after letting it set for 5 minutes, but 99% of this coat also soaked into the tote, really bringing out the figure of the curly maple and adding some nice warmth to the white color.

Now we wait. We will build up the finish with oil, then wax and buff. Next up, assembly!

-- Regards, Norm

2 comments so far

View bobasaurus's profile


3644 posts in 3985 days

#1 posted 10-03-2016 01:09 AM

Looks like a ton of work, well done. I too have the auriou rasps (and gramercy handle rasp), an love them so much. It’s hard to explain to other people though… “You paid how much? For a rasp???”. Yes, and I would do it again dammit.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View AgentTwitch's profile


631 posts in 4297 days

#2 posted 10-03-2016 01:28 AM

Thanks, Allen. I agree completely with you about the rasps!

-- Regards, Norm

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