Tool Musings - Thoughts about tools and working with them. #5: Made from scratch.

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Blog entry by David Kirtley posted 07-25-2010 04:54 AM 1339 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Well, I am going to build another bow saw. I don’t need another one but this one will be more special to me. Last time, I used the hardware from Grammercy. This time, I made my own hardware.

This is what the Grammercy hardware looks like:

I picked up a metal lathe a while back and finally took it out of the packing crate. The lathe is a little 7×10 from Harbor Freight. I decided that my first project would be to make another set of pins for a bow saw. It is pretty simple but, hey, you have to start somewhere.

The first attempt was with some mystery aluminum alloy from Home Depot. Total disaster. As I was turning the second end, the metal failed from me pushing too hard. Basically, it was mush. That’s ok. I didn’t expect it to be perfect the first time around.

I went by to get some lumber for another project and thought I would try again. I picked up a piece of 1/2 in. hot rolled steel rod to try out cutting something else. This was a lot stronger but it is a lot harder to work with than the aluminum. Then it came time to slot the blade holder. My hacksaw was not up to it and I ended up cutting the slot out crooked and messed up the blank.

Third time was the charm. I had done some dumpster diving and pulled some pieces of 6061 Aluminum from the scrap bin at work. A world of difference. It cut really well and was strong enough to support itself without bending. I left the handle end a bit longer than the Grammercy set and cut the slot for the blade with my multi-tool and cleaned up with files.

I rank it pretty high on the fun scale but unless you really want to practice on a metal lathe, I really suggest buying the hardware if you are going to build one.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

2 comments so far

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3390 days

#1 posted 07-25-2010 01:03 PM

I would just mention that brass and other malleable metals can be turned quite well on a woodturning lathe. I have turned a lot of brass on mine using my hss turning tools and got very good results. Another alternative, though slower is using a drill press and files.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3054 days

#2 posted 07-25-2010 05:15 PM

Hi Mike,

Yes, I have done some brass on my wood lathe too. It is a lot of fun and I really like the combination of wood and brass. It makes some really nice ferrules on handles to use brass compression fittings and turn down the flats. I just grab a scraper and have at it.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

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