Baby bow saw #1: First day’s construction

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Blog entry by Dave Polaschek posted 12-26-2020 06:54 PM 791 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Baby bow saw series Part 2: More shaping »

I decided I don’t like the metal-frame coping saws. I find that the far end of the saw will often twist when I don’t want it to, and I’ll end up cutting a curve when I don’t want to, or cutting a straight line when I want a curve. So I decided I’d make a bow saw that uses the standard coping saw blades to complement my bigger turning saws ( 1 and 2).

First I cut the arms out of a piece of citrus I got from AZWoody a couple years back. Then I drilled holes in the arms for the pins (from Gramercy Tools) and inserted the pins with one of the coping saw blades I want to be able to use in this saw. This let me figure out the length of the cross-piece. The important thing is to remember to leave material for the tenons that will stick into the mortises in the arms (DAMHIKT).

With that done, it’s time to chop the mortises in the arms.

Just chisel work with a ¼” chisel. Aim for about ⅜” deep, because I’m working with ¾” stock.

Then it was time for a little break, so I fired up the lathe to make the handles. The citrus turns pretty well, I think.

Time for some tenons. Cut them to match the mortise, then pare with a chisel to make them fit. They can be a little loose – the shoulders carry all the load.

Do a test fit and mark the pieces for orientation.

Then it’s time to start shaping the arms. I do one dimension at a time, roughing with a coping saw, then a spokeshave, then a knife, and eventually maybe a rasp (if I can’t get a nice finish with the knife).

Then it was time to take a break and get some food. Next up will be shaping the other arm (they don’t have to match exactly, but they need to look good together) and the cross piece, then doing the same in the other dimension for all the pieces. Also need to epoxy the pins into the handles, find some string, and carve a toggle to tension the string.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

8 comments so far

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9152 posts in 2004 days

#1 posted 12-26-2020 08:35 PM

aww cute baby :<)))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View crowie's profile (online now)


5125 posts in 3243 days

#2 posted 12-26-2020 09:13 PM

Now this is getting fancy Dave, remaking your tools to suit yourself, nice one sir

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

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Dave Polaschek

8849 posts in 1874 days

#3 posted 12-26-2020 10:19 PM

Thanks, Tony! Isn’t it a cute little guy? Be even better when it’s done.

Peter, bow saws and turning saws are so easy to make that I kinda figure there’s no reason not to make one, especially since I ended up cursing the coping saw again when its frame flexed enough to lose one end of the blade while I was shaping the arms today.

I’m pretty sure I’ll have a functional saw in two days. Whether I decide to decorate it or not… we’ll see how I’m feeling, but this citrus looks like it would really look spiffy with some kohlrosing on it. Maybe I’ll sketch some designs this evening, and have my sweetie save me her coffee grounds tomorrow morning.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Oldtool's profile


3354 posts in 3482 days

#4 posted 12-26-2020 10:45 PM

Looking good, home made tools are a satisfying task.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

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Dave Polaschek

8849 posts in 1874 days

#5 posted 12-26-2020 11:04 PM

Thanks, Tom! Yeah they are, and then using them in the future, there’s a little, “Hey, I made that,” every time I pick one up.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View bandit571's profile


30115 posts in 3975 days

#6 posted 12-26-2020 11:07 PM

Have the saw’s big brother…

9 ppi crosscut…

Your’s is starting out nicely…

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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Dave Polaschek

8849 posts in 1874 days

#7 posted 12-27-2020 12:01 AM

Bet mine will cut a tighter corner, Bandit. ;-)


-- Dave - Santa Fe

View doubleDD's profile


10805 posts in 3335 days

#8 posted 12-27-2020 01:41 PM

This is a cool little project Dave. Coming along fine.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

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