Bow Saw Build Finale

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Blog entry by paratrooper34 posted 01-07-2016 01:06 AM 1263 reads 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well, after getting all the pieces rough cut and mortices and tenons complete, it is time to start smoothing and finishing the pieces. Little did I know prior to taking on this project that this stage would be far and above, the hardest part. Wow!! I spent an awful lot of time shaping, scraping, sanding, and fiddling with this saw. Getting this thing symmetrical took a lot of work. But patience and perseverance paid off. Here is how it went down.

As mentioned in the previous entry, I had to make a new stretcher because the first one was just a bit too short. Here is the other one, cut to the correct length. There is a positive to take away from doing a second stretcher; experience. Having already made one, I knew how to do this one better and faster.

Lots and lots of shaping. I am going to give a plug for Auriou rasps. I bought before this project knowing I would be using it heavily. I did use it heavily and it is a beautiful tool. The one I have is a 10” 9 pitch. I am very impressed with it and am now looking at tools I no longer use to sell and fund purchasing a couple more of their rasps! Anyway, more shaping.

One “tool” that was great for smoothing and forming the many shoulders was a blade from a Stanley 151 spokeshave. Glad I gave this a shot as it worked excellently.

After I completed smoothing and sanding one upright, I took notice of how much wood was removed and thought it would be a good idea to put the saw together and tension the blade to make sure the one finished upright could stand the stress. Of course it just fine. But I noticed a problem. Can you see what it is in this picture?

The dang toggle is just a tad short. I decided to do a through tenon on it and did not account for the extra coming out of the whorl. 1/8” too short. Well, like the stretcher, experience helped me knock out a new toggle. Also, since I had the saw together, I figured I would give it a test run. This baby will cut some nice tight stuff.

After I got all the pieces smoothed and fared, it was time to make the handles. I drilled the holes in the blanks to accept the brass fitting that would go inside it and then used a scrub plane to knock of the corners prior to turning.

I didn’t get any pics of turning the handles. I am very new at turning and somehow managed to get some pieces of wood to look like and perform like handles. I got lucky I guess. The brass pieces were epoxied into the handles as was the whorl to the toggle. I then applied a coat of boiled linseed oil and assembled it once it was dry. For the cat who talks smack about BLO, save it, not interested.

All in all, this was a very challenging project. The forming and shaping and getting this saw symmetrical was a ton of work. It isn’t perfect, for sure, but to get it to where it is was hard work. That coupled with turning handles definitely got me out of my comfort zone. I guess that makes this saw that much more special to me. I suspect it will perform as it should and will come back here to give a review after I live with it for a while.

Thanks for reading!

-- Mike

10 comments so far

View putty's profile


1292 posts in 2217 days

#1 posted 01-07-2016 01:35 AM

Nice work Mike, What kind of wood … Osage Orange?

-- Putty

View lysdexic's profile


5291 posts in 3233 days

#2 posted 01-07-2016 02:19 AM

Very nice work. It is so true about the hardest part is just getting started. Is this the first time you have worked with Osage orange?

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - out_of_focus1.618

View onoitsmatt's profile


439 posts in 1787 days

#3 posted 01-07-2016 02:24 AM

Great looking saw. Really enjoyed the blog.

-- Matt - Phoenix, AZ

View theoldfart's profile


11058 posts in 3062 days

#4 posted 01-07-2016 06:19 PM

Cuts a nice tight curve Mike. Great looking saw, should last a few lifetimes.

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

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 3562 days

#5 posted 01-08-2016 12:32 AM

lysdexic – Yes, first time I worked with Osage Orange. Definitely not an easy wood to work with. It is hard and heavy and the grain is crazy. That is why the spoke shave blade was so useful; I used it like a scraper.

Thanks for the compliments.

-- Mike

View Disneytodd's profile


31 posts in 1989 days

#6 posted 03-21-2016 08:30 AM

Nice work I should snap a couple pic of mine I went with quarter sawn oak. I am drooling over your rasp. I am carving my whorl out now and can’t wait to fit my stretcher so I can see what it will look like. I love hand rasp work and playing with my LV spoke shaves. I can’t believe how light my frame is and it’s only 60% shaped and I went with 4/4. I think my next one will be out of lignum vite or however you spell that heavy wood .

-- Focus on what you can do not what you can't do!

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 2743 days

#7 posted 06-20-2017 03:21 AM

Fantastic! What blade did you choose?

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 [email protected]

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 3562 days

#8 posted 06-21-2017 12:28 AM

Fantastic! What blade did you choose?

- Handtooler

Russell, I went with a standard size blade offered by Grammercy. Actually, there were three blades in the package and I don’t remember the price, but it was reasonable.

-- Mike

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4708 days

#9 posted 06-21-2017 02:01 AM

Pretty. Thanks for sharing.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 3562 days

#10 posted 06-21-2017 10:23 AM

Thanks Wayne

-- Mike

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