Bowsaw #1: Nice Kit!

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Blog entry by Jon3 posted 07-15-2009 07:03 PM 3060 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Bowsaw series Part 2: Completed! »

The ever popular Joel over at Tools for Working Wood (also Grammery Tool), whom I also got my excellent Holdfasts from, has produced a nice bowsaw kit. I’ve been interested in picking up a tool like this for a while, as I’m inherently lazy, and I don’t like to take the resaw blade off my bandsaw for light scroll work, so I’ve been considering a hand tool to save me that time.

The website also makes some excellent measured drawings available in PDF form, even if you don’t buy their kit and blades, although I strongly recommend it!

I had some excellent leftover workbench Ash, and I found a nick thick piece with straight grain in it. Or at least straight after I do a little riving. I found good grain lines, then ran a mark off with a ruler.

Then I sliced off the offcut.

Repeat a few more times, and you’ve got some nice straight grain pieces for your stretcher and arms.

I decided to do all my joinery first, while my stock was still square and indexable. First the tenons.

Then drilling holes for the blade and handle retainers.

I marked mortises from my tenons.

And cut the tenons. Note that since I have not yet shaped anything, the tenon is extra deep.

I started gently on the shaping. I know that I can easily take this too far.

I clamped up the stretcher and went to down with a spokeshave, until it felt and looked good. Very little measurements went into this part, other than locating the ‘middle’ for my eye.

Stretcher completed

Here I kind of just sketched onto the arm from the diagram, then bandsawed and sanded until I liked it. Then I traced the first arm onto the second, and repeated.

Some more sanding and shaping later, we’re looking good! I also whipped out a quick toggle pin.

With a blade temporarily tensioned by string, we’re starting to look like a saw! I need to hit the sporting goods store and pick up some braided fishing line. The cotton string you see is just for show, and won’t hold up under tension.

I did notice that the saw definitely has taken on a tilt upwards. I think this is in part to me roughing the parts to size without leaving myself enough room to shape. Since this is a fairly easy tool build, I may end up replacing the wooden parts later. I’ll have to make sure I don’t permanently affix the handles so that they can be replaced easily later. Maybe some set screws.

Enough for today though!

5 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4158 days

#1 posted 07-15-2009 07:15 PM

cool. and thanks for the heads up on tools for working wood – I’m in the market for some holdfasts, but wasn’t able to find any that I really liked – the one on that webpage actually look really nice. I might order a couple from them.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4095 days

#2 posted 07-15-2009 08:37 PM

Really nice !!!! They tell me these saws are great I’ve never tried on myself are they really good?Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3796 days

#3 posted 07-15-2009 11:33 PM

Oh Great! Now there’s another tool I “Have” to have.
Actually, I’ve been eyeing those for a while. I’m glad to read your blog.

Thanks, good job.


View a1Jim's profile


117722 posts in 4087 days

#4 posted 07-15-2009 11:36 PM

Looks cool and fun good build.

View Jon3's profile


497 posts in 4615 days

#5 posted 07-16-2009 06:56 PM

I have those TFWW holdfasts. They’re quite nice!

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