Half Back Saw

  • Advertise with us
Project by BrentParkin posted 01-15-2018 11:20 PM 3253 views 3 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have always been intrigued by half back saws. Since I make the occasional saw, I thought I might try my hand at making one of these.

The handle was shaped from my last piece of Bubinga. The shape comes from a handle used by Cresson on their half back saws many years ago. I liked the shape and figured why not. I found a picture of a Cresson handle and brought it into AutoCAD. I then scaled the raster image until I had the saw nuts scaled to their real life size. Then I simply drew over the raster image to create my own Cresson handle template. I printed that out and glued it to the wood, drilled and cut the waste away and then shaped it with rasp/file and sand paper. This was the most challenging handle I have ever made. Cutting the mortice for the saw back into the coves was laborious and I had to go slow.

The saw plate came from a rusty old unnamed skew back saw I picked up at a garage sale. I cut myself an 18” plate out of the 26” mess and then cleaned and polished the steel. I recently purchased a Foley retoother and used it to punch new teeth. The old 6TPI plate became a 10TPI plate. I have not sharpened it yet, but will file it hybrid to use as a general bench saw.

The spine was a remnant from a 28” mitre saw I had cut down to 20” to use in a Stanley 150 mitre box. It was just right to use for this saw and I used cold bluing to finish the steel back.

The saw bolts also came from a wrecked saw I found. They look polished in the photos, but they are just cleaned up with Oxalic acid and have a nice soft brass look to them. I gave them a coat of lacquer to keep them that way as long as possible.

I like that the old saw plate seems to give the saw a bit of instant character. I’m really happy with the look and look forward to putting it to good use at the bench.

-- Regards,

17 comments so far

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1802 days

#1 posted 01-16-2018 12:15 AM

Good looking saw … thanks for sharing!

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile (online now)


17431 posts in 3772 days

#2 posted 01-16-2018 12:18 AM

Very, very nice Brent!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View CFrye's profile


11322 posts in 2994 days

#3 posted 01-16-2018 01:10 AM

Agreed, Beautiful saw, Brent! Are the nuts split?

-- God bless, Candy

View BrentParkin's profile


152 posts in 2089 days

#4 posted 01-16-2018 01:39 AM

Agreed, Beautiful saw, Brent! Are the nuts split?

- CFrye

Nope no split nuts on this one. If I had some on hand I might have used them. But I worked with what I could scrounge up. If I was using all new materials, I would have got some new split nuts for sure.

-- Regards,

View TheTurtleCarpenter's profile


1053 posts in 2220 days

#5 posted 01-16-2018 04:20 AM

Looks Great Brent, just add a Nib !

-- "Tying shoelaces was way harder than learning to Whistle"

View Don W's profile

Don W

20120 posts in 3722 days

#6 posted 01-16-2018 12:19 PM

Nice project. It came out great.

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

View theoldfart's profile (online now)


12728 posts in 3605 days

#7 posted 01-16-2018 01:19 PM

Brent, really nice work. Heirloom tool for sure.

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

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4187 days

#8 posted 01-16-2018 01:34 PM

Nice Saw Brent!

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View waho6o9's profile


9035 posts in 3731 days

#9 posted 01-16-2018 02:53 PM

Better than store bought, excellent work Brent!

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4021 days

#10 posted 01-16-2018 05:50 PM

This is a very creative tool and you have done a fine job on it. Nice work!

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Tim Royal 's profile

Tim Royal

325 posts in 2641 days

#11 posted 01-17-2018 03:44 AM

Gorgeous… been drooling over half backs for a couple years. Hmmm… Since I cannot die until all my projects are done guess I’m gonna live a little longer now!

-- -Tim Royal -"Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real." -Thomas Merton

View therealSteveN's profile (online now)


8188 posts in 1728 days

#12 posted 01-17-2018 10:57 AM

Love the detail on that handle, nice work BTW. I also have to give props to using pieces of history to create this new saw. So many pitch items if there is some work to make them usable again, love the re-purpose use.

So how does it cut?

-- Think safe, be safe

View BrentParkin's profile


152 posts in 2089 days

#13 posted 01-17-2018 01:00 PM

So how does it cut?

- therealSteveN

Well I have not had the time to do the sharpening yet. But I couldn’t resist trying to cut a scrap of walnut I had on the bench. I mean heck, the new teeth should be able to rip right?? I could sink 2-3 inches deep in a straight line before the lack of set started slowing me down. It’s too cold here to go out to the garage and file it right now. I don’t do the dirty parts of making the saws in the house. But as soon as this arctic air mass moves off, I’ll get at it.

-- Regards,

View Just_Iain's profile


331 posts in 1570 days

#14 posted 01-17-2018 06:45 PM

Brent, get it etched and in 100 years, Lumberjocks will go nuts trying to track down the manufacturer!

By the way, it looks great.


-- For those about to die, remember your bicycle helmet!

View therealSteveN's profile (online now)


8188 posts in 1728 days

#15 posted 01-18-2018 04:53 AM

I understand the “COLD” shop syndrome Brent, no hurries.

-- Think safe, be safe

showing 1 through 15 of 17 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics