Bow Saw Build Part II

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Blog entry by paratrooper34 posted 01-06-2016 01:05 AM 1138 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

Onward towards the Bow Saw completion. After the parts are roughed out, I got them all trued up and square. The reason for this is because there are some mortices and tenons to make and they are much easier to do when everything is square. I made the mortices on the uprights first. The layout for them is pretty straightforward, right in the middle of the uprights and positioned near where they bend.

After the mortices are done on the uprights, the tenons on the stretcher are next. Before I go on to that, here are some points that will hopefully save you from making a mistake I made. I did not purchase blades for this saw from the source listed in the plans. I can’t remember why, maybe it was availability. So I bought blades from Grammercy as they are readily available. Now here’s the thing, the blade length dictates the length of the stretcher and the Grammercy blades are an inch or so shorter. That meant I had to roughly put the uprights on the bench with the blade holders and the blade in place to get a measurement for the stretcher. Somehow I messed that up (I think I did not factor the tenon length correctly) and the dang stretcher was too short. The second one was dead on however. Bottom line, be careful measuring the stretcher length. For more on that, check out The Renaissance Woodworker in the video where he makes the kit from Grammercy. He had to make three stretchers before he got one that fit.

This is the stretcher that ultimately was too short. And I am talking like 3/4” too short. Doesn’t take much to be off.

The joints between the stretcher and uprights have a curved mating surface to assist flexing of the upright when the twine is tightened to tension the blade. Here is what that looks like.

This was pretty easy to make. I put a compass about four inches from the end of the stretcher and drew an arc with a compass. I then transferred that arc to the upright. I used a chisel and rasp to make the curves after cutting the tenon. Really not very difficult.

To get the basic shape of the uprights, I used a French curve to help me out. I then made lots and lots of relief cuts to help pare away all the waste wood.

I saw the episode of the Renaissance Woodworker after I finished making the first stretcher (the one that was too short). Not wanting to waste more of the Osage Orange, I decided to make a stretcher out of a piece of scrap to make sure I got the length correct. Nailed it!

So now all the parts are ready for shaping and forming. I wish I could say that I was over the hard part, but the reality is the hard part is just beginning. Stay tuned.

-- Mike

1 comment so far

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11642 posts in 3227 days

#1 posted 01-06-2016 01:13 AM

Mike, thanks for the hint on the stretcher length. I have a set of arms and just need to make the stretcher and toggle. I will now buy the blade first THEN do the stretcher.
I like the arm shape you’ve chosen.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

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