Homemade Windsor Chairmaker's Bowsaw

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Project by Rev. Jim Paulson posted 06-08-2009 08:43 PM 3164 views 10 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch


This is my first homemade chairmaker’s bowsaw featuring tiger maple. I’ll be testing it out and tweaking this design when I use it to make Windsor chair seats. I turned the handles out of some scrap maple left over from turning Windsor chair legs. I used 3/8” diameter brass rod, 3/4” copper end caps and steel pins to lock the handles together. The blade is longer (27 1/2”) than what most of us are used to for a bowsaw, but you need the greater length when cutting chair seats. The stretcher is connected to the arms with mortise and tenon joints. I posted a bunch of photos so you could see the tiger maple.



21 comments so far

View WhattheChuck's profile


158 posts in 2646 days

#1 posted 06-08-2009 08:58 PM

Nice saw, Jim!

-- Chuck, Pullman, WA

View littlecope's profile


3018 posts in 2588 days

#2 posted 06-08-2009 08:58 PM

That is one pretty Saw! So where are the Chairs? ;-)

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

936 posts in 2479 days

#3 posted 06-08-2009 09:05 PM

Heirloom quality piece!
The curly wood is gorgeous…
I have been considering to make one of this for some time, and thinking about that detail of the brass rod and handles. Thanks for sharing.

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View DaleM's profile


952 posts in 2470 days

#4 posted 06-08-2009 09:27 PM

I agree that this is definitely heirloom quality. Really beautiful and better yet, functional. Did you use a piece of bandsaw blade to get the longer length? I saw some discussion on that on here recently and was thinking of trying it myself.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View Rev. Jim Paulson's profile

Rev. Jim Paulson

119 posts in 2362 days

#5 posted 06-08-2009 09:58 PM

Hey thanks,

It was a fun project. As usual you learn a bunch too. I wanted to use tiger maple because I saw a nice bowsaw that J. Crate Larkin published in FWW #151. Since I have made this one, I realize off course that there is a trade off between using a figured wood with a bit more bulk versus using a hand split arm that is lighter and yet can safely flex under tension. As you would expect you can make the saw even lighter by using the optimum grain strength.

For now I’ll stick with this design. It seems light in my hand and strong enough for the blade tension I need.

Good question. You can and many do use a part of a bandsaw blade. I opted to buy one from Highland Hardware out of Atlanta, GA, about 3/8” wide, 27 1/2” long and with 9 teeth per inch. Even though I bought a new blade you often still need to sharpen them. I also chose to buy a new blade because I wanted the traditional tooth pattern rather than the wider tooth configuration that comes with band saw blades.

If you make one of these and I hope you do, I highly recommend that you cut the mortises and drill the holes in the arms before cutting and shaping them.

Take care,


View Rev. Jim Paulson's profile

Rev. Jim Paulson

119 posts in 2362 days

#6 posted 06-08-2009 10:05 PM


You can see my chairs at “” and at my blog at “http://jimthe”



View BarryW's profile


1015 posts in 2992 days

#7 posted 06-08-2009 10:28 PM

excellent saw and workmanship.

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5784 posts in 2671 days

#8 posted 06-08-2009 11:25 PM

really nice I need someday to make one or two of these in the meantime I’ll stick with my Japanese collection of handsaws.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View RobH's profile


465 posts in 3135 days

#9 posted 06-09-2009 12:26 AM

Beautiful saw Jim, what exactly is the blade? Did you purchase it somewhere already that length or is a bandsaw blade that has be cut to your size?

Thanks for posting, and for the information,

-- -- Rob Hix, King George, VA

View Les Hastings's profile

Les Hastings

1292 posts in 2859 days

#10 posted 06-09-2009 12:27 AM

Awesome,,,,Nice saw!

-- Les, Wichita, Ks. (I'd rather be covered in saw dust!)

View tinnman65's profile


1243 posts in 2500 days

#11 posted 06-09-2009 03:03 AM

Great work Rev. Paulson. I love that tiger maple

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View littlecope's profile


3018 posts in 2588 days

#12 posted 06-09-2009 03:18 AM

Thanks for the link Reverend. I guess I should have just checked your profile…Your Chairs are truly works of art as well as of craftsmanship. Beautiful!!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View kiwi1969's profile


609 posts in 2528 days

#13 posted 06-09-2009 03:44 AM

wonderful saw, i,m the guy who posted asking about useing bandsaw blades for these only because you can,t get bowsaw blades here. Seems like it will work though. Hope mine comes together as nice as yours.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View a1Jim's profile


113815 posts in 2663 days

#14 posted 06-09-2009 03:47 AM

well done,looks great

-- Custom furniture

View Splinterman's profile


23059 posts in 2447 days

#15 posted 06-09-2009 01:42 PM

Good looking Bowsaw, lovely timber…....well done.

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