Bow Saw for Saw Swap

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Project by Hammerthumb posted 10-04-2014 04:21 PM 3848 views 5 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is the Bow Saw I made for Waho for the saw swap. Below is the letter I included with the saw:


Here is the bow saw I made for the saw swap. I have wanted to try one of these for quite a while, so this was the opportunity. I used a Gramercy kit and purchased 2 of them. The kit comes with 3 blades and the blade holding pins. The 3 blades should perform any task the saw would be used for. My first thought was to fabricate the pins myself, but after reading the literature on the Gramercy website, I decided that their pins would be much better than anything I could produce. The next objective was to choose the wood for the saw. My reading about this type of saw recommended a tough wood like Hickory as the wood will have a lot of stress during tensioning. It was also recommended to use something with straight grain. I had just finished a project using some Bubinga and had some left, so that is what I picked. The Gramercy kit comes with some shop drawings (which I have provided) with basic dimensions, so I roughed out the individual pieces. The end pieces and the crossbar are held together with mortise and tenon joints. The shoulders of the tenons and the mating mortises have a radiused surface that allows some movement as the saw is being tensioned. I have to tell you that the end pieces are interchangeable from front to back, but the pieces will fit best when assembled with the piece marked with an “H” in the front, and the one marked “T” at the handle end, and the indent for the toggle on the left side of the saw. I also made some little notches in the crossbar to help the toggle pass by the bar when tensioning. The indent is to position the toggle after tensioning and should keep it from moving while in use. I made the tensioning twine out of braided fishing line as recommended by Gramercy. If you ever need to replace the twine, it is easily found at any fishing store. Just make sure it is braided line and not mono-filament. It is 80lb test with 3 pieces that I braided together. Please be aware that the saw does not need very many twists of the toggle to get the proper tension, and the saw can easily be over-tensioned. I think over-tensioning would only hurt the blade pins, but be careful of this. Gramercy warned of this in their literature. The pins for the blade holder are made of bronze and are very durable. I had some 1/16” bronze plate from another project, so I decided to inlay some strips on the crossbar and toggle. I hope you have one of the bronze hand planes from LN to go with this! The finish I used is just a couple of coats of Danish oil which I sanded in with 400gt paper, and then a coat of dark wax. It should be easily repairable, and if it gets a little dull, just give it another coat of wax. I gave the saw a little test run and was surprised how much better it works than a standard coping saw. It is very easy to control and adjust mid cut for a different angle. I hope you like it and get lots of use out of it.

Your LJ friend,


-- Paul, Duvall, WA

20 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118163 posts in 4740 days

#1 posted 10-04-2014 04:39 PM

Very nice work Paul,looks great.


View crossfacecraddle's profile


131 posts in 2774 days

#2 posted 10-04-2014 04:41 PM

Excuse me while I drool on my keyboard.

-- i love the smell of sawdust in the morning, it smells like victory. John

View summerfi's profile


4385 posts in 2850 days

#3 posted 10-04-2014 04:43 PM

Great job Paul. The saw turned out beautiful.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works -- ~Non multa sed multum~

View JayT's profile


6427 posts in 3374 days

#4 posted 10-04-2014 04:51 PM

Awesome, Paul! Those inlays are very well done and give it a great look.

How is the fishing line attached to the toggle? Usually you see the line on both sides of the toggle, but you obviously found a different way to do it.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View waho6o9's profile


9036 posts in 3740 days

#5 posted 10-04-2014 05:15 PM

Thank you for a beautiful bow saw Paul, I truly

appreciate your efforts. The finish on it is silky smooth

and thanks for the extra blades. :)

View Hammerthumb's profile


3098 posts in 3138 days

#6 posted 10-04-2014 06:16 PM

Thanks guys.
JayT – I actually slotted the end of the toggle just deep enough so when the twine is pushed to the bottom of the slot, the other side of the toggle aligns with the indent in the crossbar. Hope that explains it clear enough.

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View waho6o9's profile


9036 posts in 3740 days

#7 posted 10-04-2014 06:54 PM

Here ya go

View GMatheson's profile


478 posts in 4132 days

#8 posted 10-04-2014 06:56 PM

Beautiful saw Paul and I bet it cuts just as good as it looks. Those inlays really adds a lot of pizzazz. Looks calendar ready.

-- Greg in Ontario, Canada

View Hammerthumb's profile


3098 posts in 3138 days

#9 posted 10-04-2014 07:03 PM

Thanks Greg.

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3761 days

#10 posted 10-04-2014 08:04 PM

Gorgeous saw Paul. It really turned out great.

View woodcox's profile


2386 posts in 3175 days

#11 posted 10-04-2014 08:47 PM

Nice Paul, good idea with the toggle clearances and the brass. Jimmy’s pics in the sun light show some beautiful grain there.

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View Don W's profile

Don W

20121 posts in 3730 days

#12 posted 10-04-2014 09:15 PM

very beautiful work. It came out great.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View CL810's profile


4157 posts in 4151 days

#13 posted 10-04-2014 11:03 PM

WOW. Beautiful work Paul.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View terryR's profile


7650 posts in 3471 days

#14 posted 10-04-2014 11:45 PM

Love it, Paul! The inlay is nicely done, and adds just the right touch.

The joinery…my goodness…

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Jeff82780's profile


204 posts in 4157 days

#15 posted 10-05-2014 12:48 AM

Very impressive paul! You do amazing work!

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