Half-back Saw for Saw Swap 2014

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Project by summerfi posted 10-06-2014 03:34 PM 3245 views 8 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the saw I made for Saw Swap 2014. The recipient was Norm (Agent Twitch) in Gardiner, ME.

The saw was patterned after the Disston No. 8 half-back, with a few obvious modifications.

The handle or tote is made from West Indian Satinwood. For a finish, I first dyed the handle black to bring out the grain. After sanding the black off, it received a coat of red oak stain. The final finish was several coats of satin wipe-on poly, followed by a light buff with 0000 steel wool, and a coat of paste wax.

The split-nut screws are hand made from 1/2” brass rod and 8-32 brass threaded rod.

I made the half back in my shop by folding a piece of 3/32” brass plate. The laser engraving of my logo was done by a friend who lives near me.

The steel plate is made from a re-purposed hand saw. As such, it has a few minor imperfections (a few specs of shallow pitting). I chose to use this rather than new steel so that the plate would be taper ground. A taper ground plate requires less set and cuts easier.

Here are a few more pics of the saw. It was fun to make, and I hope Norm enjoys using it for a long time to come.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works

28 comments so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

17876 posts in 1987 days

#1 posted 10-06-2014 03:38 PM

Fantastic work!

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View JayT's profile


4674 posts in 1631 days

#2 posted 10-06-2014 03:44 PM

Beautiful work, Bob! I love that it takes design cues from the classic Disston, but still retains a style all its own.

Am I correct in assuming it’s set up as a crosscut saw?

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View ralbuck's profile


1795 posts in 1686 days

#3 posted 10-06-2014 03:46 PM

That took some time! Any idea how much?

Very nice work!

-- just rjR

View summerfi's profile


3261 posts in 1107 days

#4 posted 10-06-2014 03:47 PM

Yes, Jay, 10.5 ppi crosscut.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works

View chrisstef's profile (online now)


15459 posts in 2426 days

#5 posted 10-06-2014 03:54 PM

That’s it, im heading to Maine to give that saw a hug in person. Gorgeous Bob, simply gorgeous.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View waho6o9's profile


7119 posts in 1997 days

#6 posted 10-06-2014 04:00 PM

Awesome work Bob!

View BigRedKnothead's profile (online now)


7865 posts in 1402 days

#7 posted 10-06-2014 04:02 PM

Yowzer Bob. You are a fine craftsman….but I think we already knew that;-)

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View luv2learn's profile


2409 posts in 1723 days

#8 posted 10-06-2014 04:02 PM

Absolutely awesome craftsmanship, Norm is a lucky guy!!

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View Isra's profile


135 posts in 823 days

#9 posted 10-06-2014 04:04 PM

Beautiful, you did a Great job. It is an extraordinary saw.

-- Isra, Salcedillo (Cantabria),

View ToddJB's profile (online now)


6773 posts in 1550 days

#10 posted 10-06-2014 04:43 PM

Bob, am I correct in that this is your first attempt at making a whole saw? This is unbelievable to me. Every detail fits together so well. One of the finest saws I’ve every seen.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View GMatheson's profile


478 posts in 2389 days

#11 posted 10-06-2014 05:03 PM

Words can’t describe the beauty of this saw Bob. I’ll take 3.

-- Greg in Ontario, Canada

View summerfi's profile


3261 posts in 1107 days

#12 posted 10-06-2014 05:30 PM

Thanks guys. I enjoy incorporating my artistic side into projects.

Todd, I made this backsaw starting only with a vintage brass back. So I guess you could say the half back is equivalent since I started with an old handsaw blade. I intend to be making saws from scratch this winter though.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works

View 7Footer's profile


2523 posts in 1368 days

#13 posted 10-06-2014 05:42 PM

That is so cool Bob. Incredible work.


View terryR's profile


6230 posts in 1728 days

#14 posted 10-06-2014 05:45 PM

Very impressive, Bob!

A beautiful blend of old and new! The brass back is superb!

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View bondogaposis's profile


3969 posts in 1771 days

#15 posted 10-06-2014 06:39 PM

Very nice work.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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