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Reshaping saw handles revisited

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Blog entry by Paul Sellers posted 06-02-2011 10:13 PM 5316 reads 5 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Many people underestimate the value of reshaping handles to suit your personal hand and also create saws that reflect the owners quest for aesthetic value. Ultimately we ten to undervalue those qualities esteemed with high regard by 17-18th century makers of tools. Turning the trend takes only two hours. here is Part I of a Two-part work.

I began this saw before I decided to write out the steps so some work I began, but only a little as you can see. This saw is an Atkinson & Walker. It is in excellent condition but I have not worked on the steel at all as yet.

I begin by deciding which shape or shapes I like and combine features I think will suit the saw. I work within the constraints of the existing saw shape and take into consideration the orientation of the grain: Any cutting should not weaken the saw handle and many graceful lines can be achieved without actually removing too much wood. It’s all to easy to run to the bandsaw and cut the shape without considering the strength issues.
You don’t have to own saws to determine the shape you want, you can go to eBay or a book or other online resources.

Sanding off the old finish makes it easier to draw the shape you want onto the handle.

Instead of the bandsaw I prefer a coping saw to cut the shape.

I further refine the shape with files and or sandpaper. Sandpaper wrapped around the fines works well and if you don;t have files you can use dowels with sandpaper and they work equally as well.


I use chisels and files to further define the shapes I want. It’s a good exercise in working with the grain too.


The handle starts taking more defined shape.

A spokeshave helps with outside convex areas like the horn area.

Sanding evens out tool marks and roughens the surface to take a dye and finish. I end with 240-grit paper.

I use a fine saw to cut the initial channels where necessary and then make incised cuts with the chisel.


A three-cornered file perfects such cuts.

I will show the chip cut carving shown here next blog Part II

-- Paul Sellers, UK http://paulsellers.com/paul-sellers-blog



30 comments so far

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12302 posts in 2845 days


#1 posted 06-02-2011 10:24 PM

Thanks for putting this together Paul. I will be trying this out.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Paul Sellers's profile

Paul Sellers

277 posts in 1318 days


#2 posted 06-02-2011 11:02 PM

No special tools need, a rat-tailed file, 3/4” chisels (sharp), a file or two or sandpaper works as well too. I has some students in the workshop while I was doing this for tonight. They were amazed at the transformation of a saw in such a short time. Said they were going to do the same when they get hole next weekend. I do a one-day worksop on restoration of hand tools ever few weeks, which covers some of this stuff. so it’s not hard to post these now and again.

Have fun Wayne and remember it’s better to have tried and failed (heaven forbid) than to never have tried at all.

Also, remember that every perfect thing often began as a giant imperfection.

-- Paul Sellers, UK http://paulsellers.com/paul-sellers-blog

View Brit's profile

Brit

5308 posts in 1591 days


#3 posted 06-02-2011 11:23 PM

Another great blog Paul. It’s amazing how some relatively minor changes to the shape can enhance the beauty and comfort of a saw handle immensely.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

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WayneC

12302 posts in 2845 days


#4 posted 06-02-2011 11:26 PM

I’ll find myself some $2 saws to try this out on…. Also want to try differnt techniques to derust blades and sharpen them.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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Paul Sellers

277 posts in 1318 days


#5 posted 06-02-2011 11:35 PM

Yes, look at this Tyzak. I changed this one a few years ago and use it as a modle now.

See how incised cuts and a little carving can give the appearance of shape and grace, i.e, the bottom of the saw, the top of the saw near the brass back. This is not one and the same saw, but both Tyzaks, one showing the old 60s style and my work on a 60s one.

-- Paul Sellers, UK http://paulsellers.com/paul-sellers-blog

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Brit

5308 posts in 1591 days


#6 posted 06-02-2011 11:37 PM

That’s gorgeous Paul.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

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Brit

5308 posts in 1591 days


#7 posted 06-03-2011 02:35 AM

Paul another source for inspiration are the saw handle patterns Mike Wenzloff has added to his site.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

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WayneC

12302 posts in 2845 days


#8 posted 06-03-2011 03:48 AM

Looks like the link combined with your text Andy.

I believe this is the link you intended.

http://www.wenzloffandsons.com/faq/36-saw-kit-tech/71-saw-patterns.html

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Paul Sellers's profile

Paul Sellers

277 posts in 1318 days


#9 posted 06-03-2011 08:44 AM

Thanks for the help and the correction both of you. Those are lovely details of saw handles everyone can benefit from. It’s so good I wish it could be more prominent in the site. Bob Wenzlof has done a tremendous job on redefining saws all round. I may well make actual size drawings for this purpose, so people can indeed copy them.

-- Paul Sellers, UK http://paulsellers.com/paul-sellers-blog

View Brit's profile

Brit

5308 posts in 1591 days


#10 posted 06-03-2011 09:15 AM

Thanks Wayne. It was late. :-)

Paul, the Wenzloff saw handle patterns are actual size if you resize them to 100%.

On another note, here’s a saw handle that I came across yesterday with an unusual handle shape. It is a D76 made by Disston to commemorate their Bi-centenial.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1863 days


#11 posted 06-30-2011 03:37 PM

thank´s Poul for a good blog :-)

Dennis

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1441 days


#12 posted 06-30-2011 03:50 PM

Andy, that handle is a looker. I might steal it for my Disston rehandle.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Paul Sellers's profile

Paul Sellers

277 posts in 1318 days


#13 posted 06-30-2011 08:13 PM

Hello Dennis,
You are welcome. I think we all learned a lot from this and it makes me realise even more how little I know in the overall scheme of things. I held a one day plane and restoration workshop last weekend at the woodworking school and that was really a great day for everyone. We really demystified the misinformation that’s out there for one thing, but then everyone got to work on their own newly acquired saws and planes and took them home good and sharp ready for use. Nothing works better than getting your hands in the dirt.

-- Paul Sellers, UK http://paulsellers.com/paul-sellers-blog

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Paul Sellers

277 posts in 1318 days


#14 posted 06-30-2011 08:14 PM

Andy,

I’m with Al re the saw handle and also the saw plate too. It looks like it will do the job to me.
Get sawing.
Paul

-- Paul Sellers, UK http://paulsellers.com/paul-sellers-blog

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1863 days


#15 posted 06-30-2011 11:06 PM

:-) always good to have an eyeopner of the bigger ones from time to time

I`m sorry I posted the alu-frame saw on the other blog thought it was and other blog
just realised the fail today

but have you seen the sawblog DonW have posted I asked if anybody new why the
angle on the handles on panelsaw was so different so we had a little back and forth
Andy (brit) came with an exelent expplanation on it but I still don´t understand the .... why
it shuold be an advance to have a steaper cutting angle …. Andy call it the hang factor
maybee you can skim in with a comment

here is the blog
http://lumberjocks.com/topics/27984

Dennis

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