simple bowsaw

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Project by kiwi1969 posted 10-21-2009 11:55 PM 2053 views 8 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I,ve always wanted one of these and they really are so simple to make I don,t know why I didn,t make one before. It only took a couple of hours start to finish and cost about 50 peso,s (around a buck US). Plans for these saws are all over the internet, some fancier than others useing brass fittings and exotic woods, but this is a working tool not a showpiece so I kept it simple. The arms are shaped on the bandsaw and the stretcher is joined to these with a tenon that should be a push fit across its width but loose across the length so the arms can move to allow for tensioning. Trick here is make sure the tenons are straight otherwise the blade and the arms will not be aligned under tension. The handles were formed useing a block plane and a chisel. To hold the blade is also simple. It,s two lengths of threaded rod, or bolts with the head cut off will do, inserted into a hole drilled into the handles and secured with cross pins made from a cut down nail. Just cut a slot in the other end of the rod and cross drill a hole for a small nut and bolt with a matching hole in the blade and the frame is done. The blade itself is just a section of busted bandsaw blade and the tensioning string comes from a old pair of converse all stars.
I have done a few test cuts and found it a bit different than a standard tenon saw. Obviously the hand positioning is not he same and the extra bulk above the blade is a bit strange but you soon get used to it and being able to saw two handed is a nice bonus. The blade is a little agressive but I haven,t snapped any other blades yet so this one will do for now. It also means I can replace my plastic handled atrocity, maybe to be recycled into some srapers.
Interesting note. In a book on ancient crafts of the middle east it,s noted that in Syria they use these saws on the pull stroke japanese style rather than pushing it like the Europeans. I,ve tried both ways and think i will stick to pushing my saws, it just feels more normal for me.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

4 comments so far

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3595 days

#1 posted 10-22-2009 01:12 AM

I’ve got a broken blade! Sounds like a project for tomorrow to me. Good looking saw!

-- Hal, Tennessee

View woodworm's profile


14471 posts in 3948 days

#2 posted 10-22-2009 01:42 AM

Very nicely made bow saw, and most importantly low cost & functional.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

540 posts in 3839 days

#3 posted 10-22-2009 03:18 AM

Looks great. I’ve never used a bow saw, they always seemed a bit awkward to me, but I guess I should make on and try it out. Thanks for the post.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View sharad's profile


1117 posts in 4162 days

#4 posted 10-22-2009 07:28 PM

I was eager to use this saw when I first saw it in a shop making wooden toys. You have given a very good description of how to make it. Thanks for posting.

-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

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