Defining saw handles #1: Reshaping saw handles revisited Part II

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Blog entry by Paul Sellers posted 06-02-2011 10:49 PM 4601 reads 4 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Defining saw handles series Part 2: Finishing redefined saw handles »

Well, hopefully you enjoyed shaping the saw handle and making it fit your own hand instead fo the minuscule hand the makers intended it for. I have always liked the wheat stalks on saw handles and here is how a accomplished it on mine. There is another method which I will show in a second blog using carving chisels.

Here is the one I began in my previous blog, replete with wheat carved handle

And here it is before carving began.

Disston saws once had lovely wheat stalks carved in the handles. I copied one for this exercise, but generally I like to design my own as I go.

I begin by drawing the center lines on the wooden handle. These are lines I begin each leaf or stalk with. Every leaf, stalk or stem has a centre cut line., which starts each piece of carving. This line is a stab-cut line.

I then clamp my saw handle to the bench top as shown. Take care not to apply uneven or wrongful pressure on weak points as this can crack the handle.

I am using a Stanley knife with a sharp, strong point, but a chip carving knife will work equally well. I begin by pulling a center line down the center of each leaf and stalk, beginning with the stalk or stalks. That way all of the leaves come from each side of the stem.

With each center line I complete I make a scalloped incised sweeping cut in toward the center line in the shape of a half boat shape using the very point of the knife. This is one half of a leaf. Sometimes I stop at one half because it looks nice, other times I make the second half.

I work the leaves on either side of the main stem or branch using the same technique. They need not be symmetrical and they need not be all the same shape. It’s personal thing.

This is how my saw looks with the carving and shaping completed. About an hours work in all.

-- Paul Sellers, UK

3 comments so far

View Brit's profile


7387 posts in 2869 days

#1 posted 06-02-2011 11:14 PM

Wonderful blog Paul, very clear instruction.

I wish I’d seen this before I refinished those two D8 handles. Guess I’ll just have to buy a few more saws so that I can have a go. :-)

Thanks again.

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

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3142 days

#2 posted 06-02-2011 11:36 PM

thankĀ“s for sharing Poul :-)


View mafe's profile


11730 posts in 3116 days

#3 posted 06-16-2011 04:59 PM

Paul I missed your blogs… Now I’m almost finished with my saws… Bad luck.
I will add you as a buddy so I get infor when you blog.
Thank you,

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

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