A Saw Till for Bad Axe

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Project by anneofalltrades posted 06-01-2015 05:24 PM 3750 views 9 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My first official “big name” commission has been signed, sealed and delivered to Mark Harrell, Mr. Bad Axe Saws. The majority of the build took place in the 12 days leading up to Handworks 2015. There were many firsts in this project- first time using blacksmith made hardware, first time cutting stopped tapered sliding dovetails by hand, first project done entirely by hand (including resawing the bookmatched front with my antique 4ppi Rip Saw), first breadboards, first time using my dowel plate, first time insetting hinges, first time making tongue and groove panels by hand… the list goes on.

This piece has a cool story; not just because it began my friendship with Mark; it was a piece of many firsts (that actually turned out better than I could have hoped) and all of the wood used came with a special history of it’s own. The Black Limba came from a gentleman who had been a cabinetmaker. His whole career he had been setting aside and saving the best of the best pieces from his projects to use someday when he retired. An unfortunate accident left him unable to build furniture with a huge collection of precious hardwoods collecting dust in his basement. He and I met when I was first getting into woodwork, and one day he called me up and asked me to bring my truck over to his house. He gifted me his entire collection on the caveat that I use the wood happily, share my work generously, and pay it forward in my own way as I went. I’ve been doing my best to do so since.

The oak backing, in it’s former life, traveled literally millions of miles as tonnage on the Trans Continental Railroad. It was given to me by my 94 year old woodworking and life mentor, Frank.

The build itself took place amidst a huge transition in my own life, my husband and I were just in the process of buying a dilapidated farm we hope to restore and use as an education center for kids. Mid-winter, we packed up and sold our house with my cozy, perfectly set up shop and moved all my tools into a building with no heat, no electricity, and a leaky roof. A series of funny/unfortunate events kept pushing the start of the project back further and further until finally, I had 12 days to finish and deliver Mark’s Saw Till in time for Handworks. 276 hours later, I packed it up (the finish was still wet when I did!) and delivered it just in the nick of time.

-- Anne, Seattle

14 comments so far

View Andre's profile


3696 posts in 2657 days

#1 posted 06-01-2015 06:06 PM

That is one beautiful cabinet! All by hand, amazing! still need to give them sliding dove tails a try, guess we are all learning all the time.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2858 days

#2 posted 06-01-2015 06:59 PM

Very nice box! And a cool story about the wood too !

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View mariva57's profile


666 posts in 2856 days

#3 posted 06-01-2015 09:18 PM

Great job, compliments.

-- The common man thinks. The wise man is silent. The stupid man discusses.

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 3805 days

#4 posted 06-01-2015 11:50 PM

Nice indeed.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View AJ1104's profile


1112 posts in 2511 days

#5 posted 06-02-2015 01:06 AM

Really nice cabinet and wonderful story. Thanks for sharing!

-- AJ

View ColonelTravis's profile


1976 posts in 2745 days

#6 posted 06-02-2015 01:55 AM

There is nothing about any of this that is not pure awesome.

View hybridn00b's profile


14 posts in 2104 days

#7 posted 06-02-2015 03:58 AM


View Tugboater78's profile


2796 posts in 3043 days

#8 posted 06-02-2015 04:53 AM


-- "....put that handsaw to work and make it earn its keep. - summerfi" <==< JuStiN >==>=->

View rdwile's profile


167 posts in 2963 days

#9 posted 06-02-2015 10:28 AM

I had a close look at this cabinet at Handworks, admiring the craftmanship. Very well done.

And now I have The Rest of the Story!

-- Richard D. Wile, IG: @rdwile

View Buckeyes85's profile


128 posts in 2540 days

#10 posted 06-02-2015 11:59 AM

Just beautiful work. I saw this cabinet at Handworks and now wished I would have looked more closely given the terrific backstory. Keep up the terrific work.

View bondogaposis's profile


5842 posts in 3203 days

#11 posted 06-02-2015 01:05 PM

Nice work.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View GreaseMonkey2275's profile


183 posts in 2005 days

#12 posted 06-02-2015 03:08 PM

Beautiful craftsmanship and the history makes it even better!

-- Jake

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2813 days

#13 posted 06-02-2015 05:04 PM

Very nicely done and great story too.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25188 posts in 3957 days

#14 posted 03-13-2016 04:25 AM

WOW..That is a cabinet that would do anyone’s saws proud. Nice work on it!!


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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