Building the Gramercy Carcass Saw Kit #1: The Build

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Blog entry by doorslammer posted 12-05-2011 04:03 AM 4960 reads 3 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I recently purchased the Gramercy Carcass saw kit to add a nice crosscut saw to my till and if Chris Schwarz and Roy Underhill prefer it I thought I’d give it a try, but at $200 it’s a bit pricey. The kit however is a little more than half that and all that’s left to do is attach the brass spine and shape a handle. The kit comes with the saw plate sharp and ready to go, a bent brass back, a pair of split nut saw bolts and instructions with a scaled handle pattern.

I chose a piece of walnut for my handle and milled it to a thickness of about 15/16”. I cut out the paper pattern and chose the best grain orientation according to the instructions.

I then covered by stock with blue tape before using spray adhesive to attach the pattern. The blue tape will allow me to remove the paper pattern easier later along with another benefit I’ll get to in a minute.

Following the instructions, I first started drilling a countersink for the slit nut heads, followed by a 3/16” thru hole. Drilling slowly and testing the depth with the bolt head.

The rough shape is achieved by drilling several large holes and removing the waste with a bandsaw except for a square block area to be kept where the sawplate attaches.

The handle must be “let in” for the saw back by drilling a series of holes with a 3/16” drill bit and cleaning it up with chisels.

Next I tapped the folded brass back onto the sawplate. The instructions suggest making a wooden bat sort of like a small cricket bat to tap the saw plate into the back by using the bat to whack against the teeth. Instead, I clamped the sawplate in my vise and used a plastic headed hammer to tap the back onto the sawplate. This was really easy and worked well. Then you need to saw the kirk for the sawplate to fit into the handle. I scribed a deep line with a marking gauge around the square box left on the handle and used my dovetail saw to make the cut. The dovetail saw wasn’t quite deep enough to finish the cut so I used the sawplate and back assembly to finish it. With a little adjustment, the handle and sawplate fit together nicely.

Now, back to the other benefit of using the blue tape before attaching the pattern. I scribed the lines on the pattern with an exacto knife and peeled away the waste. This gave me very clear lines to work to on the walnut.

From there it was just a matter of some work with the rasp, files, scraper, and sandpaper over a couple evenings to shape the handle.

-- Aaron in TN -

5 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4089 days

#1 posted 12-05-2011 03:30 PM

lookinfg real good …. congrats with your new toy :-)

thankĀ“s for sharing

View Woodwrecker's profile


4240 posts in 4549 days

#2 posted 12-05-2011 04:46 PM

That came out excellent Aaron!
You are smart buying the kit and making it yourself.
Gives it an extra personal touch and you saved a lot of dough.
I would like to get one of those and hope it comes at least close to as nice as yours did.
Good job !

View JaLatham's profile


52 posts in 3343 days

#3 posted 12-05-2011 09:23 PM

If it works as good as it looks, you’ve got a killer saw my friend. Best wishes and may sawdust and shavings fill your shop floor.

View Brit's profile


8233 posts in 3816 days

#4 posted 12-05-2011 09:47 PM

Fantastic job Aaron. I have both of their carcass saws and their dovetail saw and I can’t speak highly enough about them.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View BigTiny's profile


1684 posts in 3862 days

#5 posted 12-09-2011 06:15 AM

A quality tool is a joy for a lifetime. One that you built yourself is doubly so.


-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

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