The ever popular Joel over at Tools for Working Wood (also Grammery Tool), whom I also got my excellent Holdfasts from, has produced a nice bowsaw kit. I’ve been interested in picking up a tool like this for a while, as I’m inherently lazy, and I don’t like to take the resaw blade off my bandsaw for light scroll work, so I’ve been considering a hand tool to save me that time.
The website also makes some excellent measured drawings available in PDF form, even if you don’t buy their kit and blades, although I strongly recommend it!
I had some excellent leftover workbench Ash, and I found a nick thick piece with straight grain in it. Or at least straight after I do a little riving. I found good grain lines, then ran a mark off with a ruler.
Then I sliced off the offcut.
Repeat a few more times, and you’ve got some nice straight grain pieces for your stretcher and arms.
I decided to do all my joinery first, while my stock was still square and indexable. First the tenons.
Then drilling holes for the blade and handle retainers.
I marked mortises from my tenons.
And cut the tenons. Note that since I have not yet shaped anything, the tenon is extra deep.
I started gently on the shaping. I know that I can easily take this too far.
I clamped up the stretcher and went to down with a spokeshave, until it felt and looked good. Very little measurements went into this part, other than locating the ‘middle’ for my eye.
Here I kind of just sketched onto the arm from the diagram, then bandsawed and sanded until I liked it. Then I traced the first arm onto the second, and repeated.
Some more sanding and shaping later, we’re looking good! I also whipped out a quick toggle pin.
With a blade temporarily tensioned by string, we’re starting to look like a saw! I need to hit the sporting goods store and pick up some braided fishing line. The cotton string you see is just for show, and won’t hold up under tension.
I did notice that the saw definitely has taken on a tilt upwards. I think this is in part to me roughing the parts to size without leaving myself enough room to shape. Since this is a fairly easy tool build, I may end up replacing the wooden parts later. I’ll have to make sure I don’t permanently affix the handles so that they can be replaced easily later. Maybe some set screws.
Enough for today though!