Making your own saw isn’t beyond the skill of the amateur woodworker. In fact, many of the techniques we use may be familiar to you from other projects.
In this course, you will make a small, general-purpose backsaw complete with a brass back and an attractive handle made to fit your hand. A good handle is one that you can hold without effort and makes the saw easy to control. If you have a medium to small hand you may find the average saw handle too big to hold comfortably. This is something both Sam and I have struggled with, so we decided to rehandle several of the school’s saws.
We will cover in depth the technical aspects of saw blades including understanding rake, fleam, tooth pitch, and set; the importance of plate thickness; the difference between rip and crosscut filing, and why hybrid is a good way forward.
What is a Backsaw?
A backsaw is a saw plate stiffened by a brass or steel strip. These include gents saws, dovetail saws, tenon saws and carcase/carcass saws. In this course you will be making a small tenon saw, good for joinery including cutting dovetails and small tenons. It will be filed hybrid so that it can make rip cuts and cross cuts equally well without any loss of performance. Don’t be surprised if this becomes your favourite.
Saw Handle Patterns
We will base our handle patterns on late Georgian/early Victorian patterns which date back to when saws were made by hand and each one showed the personality of the maker. They were also a good deal smaller than factory-produced handles which tend to be bulky and bigger than the average palm.
We have chosen an open handle for our saw because it is lighter and easier to make than a closed style.
Before coming to class please supply us with your palm measurement. You’ll find instructions for how to do this here.
Blackburn saws also has a range of templates including some of the early styles, be sure to check them out if you’re curious.
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