LumberJocks

Bow Saw Build #1: Getting Started

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by HokieKen posted 08-24-2017 11:57 AM 604 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Bow Saw Build series Part 2: Cuttin' and Fittin' »

Well, my buddy Bill (builtinbkyn) recently made a couple of turning saws and I knew I had to have one.

Click for details

So when my Mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday earlier this month, I told her I’d like one of the Gramercy bow saw kits from Tools for Working Wood. For $29 you get 3 blades and the brass pins needed. You can buy various other parts as well but, where’s the fun in that? ;-) So, I started with that and off I go…

First I chose my woods and milled my blanks to size with hand planes. Here you see all of my materials for the build:

I’ve never built a saw of any kind so I’m excited about this one. So excited that I decided to tap into some of my “special” woods for it :-) The pieces being used for the frame of the saw are some “Gummy” Cherry gifted to me by my buddy jeffswildwood. This stuff has some killer curl to it and it’s denser and seems to have tighter grain than most Cherry that I’ve worked with. I thought it would be good for the frame, not to mention sexy as heck! I know that generally speaking, figured wood isn’t very strong structurally. But, like I said, this Cherry is dense and tight-grained. It may be a bad choice but I hope it’s not. If it is? No big deal, I’ll just have to re-make any parts that break.

Then another buddy, Dave aka ki7hy gifted me a bunch of his AZ desert wood that I’m always drooling over in our last tool swap. I chose some of the Eucalyptus he gave me that I’ll use to turn the handles and the tensioner.

TFWW sells the string to use to tension the saw as well. But, I have a bunch of 550 Paracord that I keep handy and I had the Olive color you see in the picture that I think will look good with the woods chosen.

For my saw, I am going to start with the Gramercy plans and templates. I’ll make some changes along the way to lighten it up and to make it more friendly for my shop vs. the production shop the plans were made for. I’ll poke some holes in places on the frame the way Bill did in his project linked above. I’ll also likely modify the handle to have flats for registration with the blade orientation and to be a little bigger for my sausage fingers. I’ll discuss points where I deviate from the Gramercy plans along the way and give reasoning at those times.

Unfortunately, I didn’t think about blogging this build until I was underway so I didn’t get a lot of pictures in the first stages. Luckily, that stuff is pretty straightforward and you won’t need pictures :-)

But, just for clarity, all I’ve done up to the point of the picture above is cut my pieces to rough size and hand plane them to be square and the dimensions recommended by Gramercy which is 1-1/4” x 23/32” for the vertical pieces and 5/8” x .90” for the horizontal piece. I left all of the pieces over-long and will trim them to length later. My turning blanks are left oversized in all dimensions since I’m not sure what they’ll end up looking like yet.

Thanks for reading. Hopefully this blog will be helpful for folks who decide to make their own. At a minimum, I hope it’s useful for me if I make any more in the future! Next time we’ll get down to business and make our frame pieces and make sure our basic dimensions work with the supplied hardware.

If you’ve made one of these, please add any tips or suggestions in the comments! If you have any questions, they are welcome as always.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!



13 comments so far

View Douglas's profile

Douglas

422 posts in 2375 days


#1 posted 08-24-2017 02:43 PM

Have fun with that build. I’ve built a couple of these, and they’re tools I use all the time in my shop.

I guess it’s too late to mention, but I would recommend not using curly or weirdly grained wood for this. Straight grained wood what you want here, as it is a tool that will be under stress and tension. Your wood may hold up, but if it breaks at a cross grain part of the figure, try some nice, clear straight stock for the next round.

Let us know how it comes out.

-- Douglas in Chicago - https://dcwwoodworks.com

View KelleyCrafts's profile

KelleyCrafts

2668 posts in 554 days


#2 posted 08-24-2017 02:57 PM

I was going to rip off some of Bill’s design ideas for mine. Now I’m looking forward to see what I can rip off of yours as well in the process. Looking forward to the build!

-- http://kelleycrafts.com/ - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

4464 posts in 953 days


#3 posted 08-24-2017 02:59 PM



Have fun with that build. I ve built a couple of these, and they re tools I use all the time in my shop.

I guess it s too late to mention, but I would recommend not using curly or weirdly grained wood for this. Straight grained wood what you want here, as it is a tool that will be under stress and tension. Your wood may hold up, but if it breaks at a cross grain part of the figure, try some nice, clear straight stock for the next round.

Let us know how it comes out.

- Douglas

Thanks Douglas. I normally wouldn’t have gone with the curly stock for something like this. But, I’ve seen so many others made with figured stock that look so nice I couldn’t help it! ;-) I have some nice clear hard maple on standby just in case though.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

4464 posts in 953 days


#4 posted 08-24-2017 03:00 PM



I was going to rip off some of Bill s design ideas for mine. Now I m looking forward to see what I can rip off of yours as well in the process. Looking forward to the build!

- ki7hy

Oh, I’m definitely going to be ripping Bill off, along with others :-))

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View jeffswildwood's profile

jeffswildwood

2489 posts in 1792 days


#5 posted 08-24-2017 03:04 PM

Glad you putting that wood to use. I do believe it will work, very hard and dense. But I guess time will tell. Have fun with your build!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

6748 posts in 1858 days


#6 posted 08-24-2017 03:25 PM

I can tell its been fun in building by the way you are describing it. They are a great tool and should last a long time. I built one a little different and used it a few times now and can say they are very useful. Well done.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

1067 posts in 397 days


#7 posted 08-24-2017 05:57 PM

I’ve got one of those kits sitting at home waiting for me to get the time to build it, too. Be interesting to see how yours comes out.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

4464 posts in 953 days


#8 posted 08-24-2017 06:27 PM

Thanks Jeff, Dave, and Dave :-)

I do think the Cherry will hold up just find Jeff. It’s got a nice “spring” to it but it’s strong too. As you say, time will tell, but I’m not expecting any issues.

Dave (IL), I saw your bow saw a while back. I plan to make a larger one about that size to try out as a tenon saw.

Dave (MN), just look at Bills. I’m fairly sure mine won’t come out nearly as nice as that ;-)

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View builtinbkyn's profile

builtinbkyn

1873 posts in 755 days


#9 posted 08-24-2017 06:40 PM

Looks like a fun project Kenny ;) One tip from me if you didn’t think of it already – use rub-on to glue one of the template pieces for the two vertical beams and glue it to a blank. Then use some blue tape on the other side of that piece and on one side of the other blank. Then use super glue to glue the two of them together. You can then bandsaw both pieces at the same time and clean them up at the same time with a rasp or sander. That way you can get them pretty close to being identical in shape and size. You can separate them with a knife after your done.

I’ll be keeping tabs lol

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

4464 posts in 953 days


#10 posted 08-24-2017 07:19 PM

That’s funny Bill. I just discovered the masking tape superglue tip not long ago on youtube. I have actually already cut the vertical pieces out. I did it exactly as you suggested except I used spray adhesive to put the template on instead of rub-on. Excellent tip. Another tip that I plan to cover in the next entry, is to cut the mortises and drill the pin holes in the vertical pieces before cutting out the profile.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View builtinbkyn's profile

builtinbkyn

1873 posts in 755 days


#11 posted 08-24-2017 07:30 PM

Hmmmm. Sounds risky. You’ll have to have both pieces perfectly aligned and the template perfectly placed for that to work. No room for error.

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

1067 posts in 397 days


#12 posted 08-24-2017 07:30 PM

Sounds like all good ideas. If you look at my frame saw, you see I still haven’t cut profiles everywhere. I’ll get around to it one of these days, and I didn’t glue anything together so all I need to do is let off the tension and take things apart. Figure that’ll be a good wintertime project.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

4464 posts in 953 days


#13 posted 08-24-2017 10:02 PM



Hmmmm. Sounds risky. You ll have to have both pieces perfectly aligned and the template perfectly placed for that to work. No room for error.

- builtinbkyn

It’s already done so it wasn’t that risky. Even a caveman like me can do it!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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

HomeRefurbers.com