I recently purchased the Gramercy Carcass saw kit to add a nice crosscut saw to my till and if Chris Schwarz and Roy Underhill prefer it I thought I’d give it a try, but at $200 it’s a bit pricey. The kit however is a little more than half that and all that’s left to do is attach the brass spine and shape a handle. The kit comes with the saw plate sharp and ready to go, a bent brass back, a pair of split nut saw bolts and instructions with a scaled handle pattern.
I chose a piece of walnut for my handle and milled it to a thickness of about 15/16”. I cut out the paper pattern and chose the best grain orientation according to the instructions.
I then covered by stock with blue tape before using spray adhesive to attach the pattern. The blue tape will allow me to remove the paper pattern easier later along with another benefit I’ll get to in a minute.
Following the instructions, I first started drilling a countersink for the slit nut heads, followed by a 3/16” thru hole. Drilling slowly and testing the depth with the bolt head.
The rough shape is achieved by drilling several large holes and removing the waste with a bandsaw except for a square block area to be kept where the sawplate attaches.
The handle must be “let in” for the saw back by drilling a series of holes with a 3/16” drill bit and cleaning it up with chisels.
Next I tapped the folded brass back onto the sawplate. The instructions suggest making a wooden bat sort of like a small cricket bat to tap the saw plate into the back by using the bat to whack against the teeth. Instead, I clamped the sawplate in my vise and used a plastic headed hammer to tap the back onto the sawplate. This was really easy and worked well. Then you need to saw the kirk for the sawplate to fit into the handle. I scribed a deep line with a marking gauge around the square box left on the handle and used my dovetail saw to make the cut. The dovetail saw wasn’t quite deep enough to finish the cut so I used the sawplate and back assembly to finish it. With a little adjustment, the handle and sawplate fit together nicely.
Now, back to the other benefit of using the blue tape before attaching the pattern. I scribed the lines on the pattern with an exacto knife and peeled away the waste. This gave me very clear lines to work to on the walnut.
From there it was just a matter of some work with the rasp, files, scraper, and sandpaper over a couple evenings to shape the handle.
-- Aaron in TN -http://www.amwellsfurniture.com