One hour hacksaw

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Project by Dave Polaschek posted 04-27-2021 08:22 PM 1114 views 0 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have a little hobby hacksaw I use when cutting small pieces of metal. It takes the 6” (150mm) pinned blades. At some point, it got bent, so the blade was slightly twisted and slack. It didn’t work very well that way.

Rather than go to the hardware store and buy another, only to have it fall apart after a couple years use, I decided to dig through the scraps, and knock together a new saw.

The arms are from a piece of 3/4 thick ipe flooring. The cross-piece is ash. The toggle is a chunk of red oak. Tools used were a gents saw, a 1/4” chisel (for the mortises), a 1/2” chisel (for the tenons), a round file (for the grooves for the string), a cigarette lighter (to trim the ends of the nylon string to length), a knife, and a piece of 120 grit sandpaper.

The pins are from Gramercy Tools bow-saw kit. Guess I should turn a knob for one of them some day.

About 1 hour elapsed from searching for the pieces to making the cuts I needed. Then another 1/2 hour spent smoothing the hand grip, edges of the cross-bar and the toggle with the sandpaper and wiping on a little BLO.

Cuts better than the hardware store model did, even when it was new. There’s more tension on the blade, which makes all the difference in the world.

Update: Photo 2 is after ten days of fiddling with it between other projects. I turned a knob from an offcut of cherry I had after roughing out another bird.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

24 comments so far

View therealSteveN's profile


10241 posts in 2071 days

#1 posted 04-27-2021 08:32 PM

I dislike hacksaws. So many are junk. Nice build, something you can control blade tension with, and as you say that make a world of difference.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Oldtool's profile


3542 posts in 3688 days

#2 posted 04-27-2021 09:02 PM

Well done sir, that is a very nice hack saw. If you do indeed make a knob, be sure to post it. I’d be curious to see how you attach it, in light of the Gramercy pins being very smooth & round.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10525 posts in 2079 days

#3 posted 04-27-2021 09:10 PM

Agreed, SteveN. Ditto most coping saws, which was what gave me the idea of making my own hacksaw.

Thanks, Tom! Attaching knobs to the pins is pretty easy. I just file one side of the pin flatter (there’s already a flat on them, but it could be bigger), then drill a 1/4” hole in the knob, load it with (slow, not five-minute) epoxy with either sawdust or brass filing filler, then jam the pin into the knob and wipe up the mess from the excess epoxy that went everywhere. Seems to have done the trick with the four or five previous kits.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View JohnMcClure's profile


1502 posts in 2137 days

#4 posted 04-27-2021 11:31 PM

Great job Dave! You are a true craftsman.

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

View Tom Regnier's profile

Tom Regnier

536 posts in 4044 days

#5 posted 04-27-2021 11:40 PM

Nice spur of the moment build…its what a workshop is all about!

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10525 posts in 2079 days

#6 posted 04-28-2021 12:10 AM

Thanks, John! I feel like a hack a lot of the time, but stuff gets done.

Thanks, Tom! Honestly, I wouldn’t mind buying a quality hacksaw if I could find one, but when it’s quicker to build one than to buy one, I guess that’s the way to go.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View pottz's profile


26617 posts in 2481 days

#7 posted 04-28-2021 02:35 AM

nice work my friend and i agree with TRSN about hacksaws.that saw is a step back when people hand crafted tools that would last a lifetime.nad it’s beautiful.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View crowie's profile


5531 posts in 3448 days

#8 posted 04-28-2021 02:38 AM

Very nice solution Dave….

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10525 posts in 2079 days

#9 posted 04-28-2021 03:08 AM

Thanks, Pottz! The nice thing is that every time I use it, I’ll probably improve it a little. Round off a sharp edge here, thin out a too-thick piece there…

Thanks, Peter! Solving problems is fun!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View MikeB_UK's profile


1080 posts in 2532 days

#10 posted 04-28-2021 09:17 AM

Neat job, you’ve gone really minimalist on this one :)
Do you have any issues with the blade rotating just using pins?

Mine seems to get a bit of reshaping everytime I use it.
Currently looking like this

-- Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

View recycle1943's profile


7086 posts in 3119 days

#11 posted 04-28-2021 11:05 AM

good job on this Dave

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10525 posts in 2079 days

#12 posted 04-28-2021 11:58 AM

Thanks, Mike! I wanted to get the job done, so no time spent on prettying it up beyond a coat of BLO.

They don’t move at the moment. The pins are pretty close to a quarter inch diameter, so a quarter inch drill bit makes a tight fitting hole. I have to get out a hammer to tap them out in order to remove them, at least for now. Over time, they may loosen up, but if so, I’ll file them square and cut mortises, rather than drill holes in the arms.

Thanks, Dick! Having a couple pieces of 3/8 square ash and oak saved was perfect for this project, which means it’ll probably enhance my wood-hoarding propensities. Plus this is the second saw that’s used one of the pieces from the inside of a piece of 550 paracord I took apart almost a year ago.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View mafe's profile


13872 posts in 4586 days

#13 posted 04-28-2021 09:49 PM

That’s a cute saw!
Really fine Dave.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10525 posts in 2079 days

#14 posted 04-28-2021 09:56 PM

Thanks, Mads! I’ll update over time as I pretty it up, but today was spent carving another bird and shopping for groceries. Frittata made with last weekend’s leftovers for dinner tonight.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View splintergroup's profile (online now)


7142 posts in 2719 days

#15 posted 04-28-2021 10:46 PM

A true “hack” Dave! I didn’t know there were 6” blades available, hmmmm.

I recently took stock of my hack saw collection (all 12”ers). Five are the typical “junk” where the blade twists all over the place or completely busts free when cutting (typical plastic handle low-lifes). One is a HF cheapie, but it is quite solid with a good rubbery grip.

I was frustrated enough to seek out a “good” saw and settled on a Bahco, best hacksaw I ever had.

Your “old school” version really shows why they made them that way, simple and rugged, coping saw on steroids 8^)

I bet once you fine tune it, I’ll be the last one you ever need!
Hopefully your house has the thick walls that provide the really deep window sills. NM tradition to load them up with all sorts of “artsy” objects, pure eye candy for visitors. People proudly display their rock and mineral collections around here that way.

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