Hand Saws #9: Bow Saw build

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Blog entry by Don W posted 08-05-2011 02:36 AM 4643 reads 7 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: S. Biggin & Sons Backsaw Restore Part 9 of Hand Saws series no next part

So I’ve wanted to build a bow saw for a while. My goal was to get it completed this week.
Additional finished pictures in the project.
Wood used was Ash for the frame and white oak for the rope tightener.

So I started by cutting the 2 side pieces. I marked them out free hand and cut them on the band saw.

Next I cut the mortise. So forgive me I used the machine.

I used the radial arm saw to cut the tenon, and cleaned it up with the shoulder plane and chisel.

I then took two 5/16 bolt over to the metal band saw. I cut the heads off. I drilled a 5/16 hole through a piece of scrap wood so I could cut the slot for the blade.

I drilled the hole through the bolts for the blade pin. I cut a section of band saw blade and drilled the holes in it.

Then its off to the make the handles. Off to the wood pile.

I cut 4” off the firewood stick for the 2 handles.

Off to the lathe. 2 cool points. I got to use a new live center I bought and the new tool rest I made.

I then drilled and tapped the handles. I’m not sure if I will epoxy these in, or pin them.

Its now sitting on my bench with a coat of Danish Oil. Tomorrow, I hope to have a finish picture.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

16 comments so far

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2105 days

#1 posted 08-05-2011 02:47 AM

Great steps through the process. It made me feel like I helped you with it. Very nice work. Makes me secretly want a lathe. :=)

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View venicewoodworker's profile


100 posts in 2094 days

#2 posted 08-05-2011 02:57 AM

Very nice…...I just bought 2 saw blades (24 in) to make a rip and crosscut saw. Now you inspired me to get out and complete them.
Will post later.

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3114 days

#3 posted 08-05-2011 03:05 AM

great build Don, this one is on my list whenever I’ll have the time for it. thanks for the reminder. some great ideas here.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View MShort's profile


1776 posts in 2884 days

#4 posted 08-05-2011 04:38 AM

Very Cool !!! I will have to try this. Thanks for the great instructional.

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View WayneC's profile


12642 posts in 3563 days

#5 posted 08-05-2011 06:23 AM

Well done. I plan to make one when I get back into the shop and the shop is in order.

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

View saddletramp's profile


1098 posts in 2104 days

#6 posted 08-05-2011 01:12 PM

Great tutorial and a very nice saw.

-- ♫♪♪♫♫ Saddletramp, saddletramp, I'm as free as the breeze and I ride where I please, saddletramp ♪♪♪♫♪ ...... Bob W....NW Michigan (Traverse City area)

View mafe's profile


11157 posts in 2555 days

#7 posted 08-05-2011 04:14 PM

That sure looks migthy good!
What a fine saw you have made, you are becoming a real self made man now.
What drill did you use to drill in the blade? I guess a HSS will just burn…
Beautiful chisel in the top left corner on the last photo.
Best thoughts,

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

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

17970 posts in 2033 days

#8 posted 08-05-2011 05:34 PM

David, use a lathe once and you’ll wonder why you didn’t get one years ago.

Mads, thanks for the commnets. What you see in theat last photo is actually a vintage screw driver. I’m not sure why its there, left over from the previous project maybe, or a “sub” project working in tandem.

I’ve still got some writing to do, and a box from woodcraft just arrived. Sometimes working from home can be a problem. Just a few more paragraphs, then it maybe break (shop) time.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View mafe's profile


11157 posts in 2555 days

#9 posted 08-05-2011 06:24 PM

Ahhhh! Merci.
Yes once a lathe always a lathe.
Big smile,

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

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 2506 days

#10 posted 08-05-2011 06:46 PM


-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Mauricio's profile


7115 posts in 2617 days

#11 posted 08-12-2011 08:31 PM

Nice Saw, This is one on my to do list.

I like the idea for using the bolts as saw holders. And I think its awesome to use the branch for the handles. I have some branches from my oak tree I’ve bee saving that would work well.

How is that piece of band saw blade working out for you? It looks like a pretty aggressive pitch on the teeth.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Johnnyblot's profile


319 posts in 1742 days

#12 posted 05-19-2012 02:03 PM

Very Nice Don- another one for the ‘To Do List’


-- Gossamer shavings just floating around the back yard….-Bandit

View Emma Walker's profile

Emma Walker

560 posts in 1576 days

#13 posted 01-24-2013 06:39 PM

I just Googled “how to make a bow saw” and guess what I found… a Don W thread on lumberjocks!

Does anyone know of any printable bow saw templets?

-- I'm a twisted 2x4 in a pile of straight lumber.

View waho6o9's profile


7176 posts in 2042 days

#14 posted 01-24-2013 06:53 PM

View waho6o9's profile


7176 posts in 2042 days

#15 posted 01-24-2013 06:56 PM

Gramercy has kits as well. Great folks to deal with and I’ve found them also
to be helpful on the phone.

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