My Saw Till On Steroids

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Project by summerfi posted 10-22-2015 01:59 AM 7514 views 39 times favorited 77 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My Saw Till On Steroids

For awhile now, I’ve needed a larger saw till to house my growing handsaw collection. I put the task off until I found the right wood for the job. Last year someone gave me several large Siberian elm logs, which I sawed into lumber on my portable bandsaw mill. The wood is beautiful, and I thought it would make a nice till. So after air drying the boards for a year, I started on the project.

In thinking about the design of my new till, I had to make some decisions. First, I decided to make a large till because I have a lot of saws. Second, I decided to make the till a little bit fancier than most tills you see because I have some very nice saws that deserve a special home. I want to enjoy seeing this till full of saws hanging in my shop, so designing in a little bit of extravagance on the front end is a small price to pay for years of enjoyment.

The work began by gluing up and sizing boards for the top, sides, and bottom of the main carcass of the till.

The central body of the till is approximately 38”W x 44”H. This is where the handsaws will reside. At the bottom of this section is a space for three small drawers to hold saw filing accessories.

Off each side of the till I hung a 13”W x 38”H cabinet for backsaws. The front of these cabinets is set back 1” from the main body for design aesthetics. The visible joints of the till are dovetailed. Joints that won’t be seen are dadoed, glued, and screwed, with the screw heads countersunk and plugged.

The till needed to be designed to accommodate my smallest to largest saws. This was a test run to make sure all the saws would fit before proceeding further.

Next I put a back on the till made of ¼” birch plywood covered by figured maple veneer. The end panels of the till are matching maple veneer on both the outside and inside of the till. I had a piece of maple crown moulding with light figure that I purchased a few years ago at our local second hand building supply store. This made a suitable trim for the top of the till. I stained the elm carcass with English Chestnut oil stain and applied a satin polyurethane finish to the whole piece. Then it was ready to hang on the wall.

The next step was making drawers. The drawer fronts are elm covered in matching maple veneer. The sides are cherry, which I also cut on my sawmill.

The final step was making the doors. Originally I had planned to make panel doors with elm rails and stiles and figured maple veneer panels. After showing the project’s progress on the Furniture Maker’s Forum, though, the Lumberjocks there suggested I make leaded glass doors. I’m not sure if they were serious or joking, but after thinking about it I figured, “why not”? That would certainly meet my goal of making this a fancy piece. Unknown to those Lumberjocks, I’ve made leaded glass doors for projects before, so I knew I could do it. My only concern was that the glass could easily be broken by flying or falling objects in a shop environment. If that happens, though, I’ll just make a repair.

While thinking about the leaded glass design, I had an idea to incorporate a beveled glass element with my saw etch logo on it. So I purchased two 4” x 4” beveled glass squares and took them to my friend who does the laser etching on saws that I make. I think they turned out really nice.

With assembly and installation of the doors, the piece was finished. It resides in my shop just above a chest that was made by my grandfather, and that sat in my father’s luthier shop for many years. I believe they would both approve.

The capacity of the till is 27 handsaws and 38 backsaws. The till is nearly full now, so if I acquire more saws I’ll have to either sell some or, perish the thought, make another till!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my saw till project.

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

77 comments so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


13570 posts in 2039 days

#1 posted 10-22-2015 02:03 AM

Such beautiful work, Bob! Leaded glass an awesome detail, and it really does gold a ton of saws. Congrats, great job!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View ToddJB's profile (online now)


6774 posts in 1551 days

#2 posted 10-22-2015 02:07 AM

Amazing work , Bob. I’m am glad you chose to go a bit extravagant. You do tremendous work.

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

View ShaneA's profile


6418 posts in 2019 days

#3 posted 10-22-2015 02:09 AM

Truely outstanding. That is a work of art.

View BigRedKnothead's profile


7865 posts in 1402 days

#4 posted 10-22-2015 02:10 AM

It’s just flat-out jaw dropping Bob. Some thing to aspire to. Thank you for sharing and being our friend.

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

View BurlyBob's profile


3463 posts in 1686 days

#5 posted 10-22-2015 02:15 AM

Bob that is absolutely stunning. A beautiful piece of work. Guaranteed your Father and Grandfather would approve!

View NinjaAssassin's profile


629 posts in 1145 days

#6 posted 10-22-2015 02:19 AM

What a spectacle to behold. Bob, this is absolutely beautiful! Fantastic work my friend.

-- - Billy

View theoldfart's profile


7935 posts in 1871 days

#7 posted 10-22-2015 02:22 AM

Bob, your doing a great job upholding your family’s craftsman tradition. I’m with Red; it’s jaw dropping gorgeous.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Slyy's profile


2400 posts in 1076 days

#8 posted 10-22-2015 02:26 AM


My wife said: “what are you wowing about”. Then I showed her this. Amazing work Bob, glad to see your restoration work standouts and the fine heirloom saws you’ve crafted have an absolutely fitting place to reside.

-- Jake -- "Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us." - Neil Degrasse Tyson

View jmartel's profile


6466 posts in 1570 days

#9 posted 10-22-2015 02:47 AM

Awesome, Bob. Definitely something to aspire to, as Red already mentioned.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View johnstoneb's profile


2104 posts in 1593 days

#10 posted 10-22-2015 02:54 AM

That is awesome , Bob. Great home for your saw collection. You have really raised the bar.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View CFrye's profile


8567 posts in 1260 days

#11 posted 10-22-2015 02:55 AM

That is a mansion of a saw till, Bob! All the other saws wanna play at your house. That is superb. Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

View Woodwrecker's profile


3910 posts in 2996 days

#12 posted 10-22-2015 02:57 AM

Now wait a minute.
They give a “Top 3” award to some questionable projects, and this doesn’t earn that?
Or an Editors Choice award?
Something is wrong with that.
This piece is really nice Bob.

-- Eric, central Florida

View kiefer's profile


4873 posts in 2087 days

#13 posted 10-22-2015 03:18 AM

All I will add is BEAUTIFUL and I am totally impressed .


-- Kiefer

View drewpy's profile


568 posts in 777 days

#14 posted 10-22-2015 03:35 AM

Wow – I’m amazed by your work and this beautiful piece.

-- Drew in Ohio -- "The greatest wealth is health".

View summerfi's profile (online now)


3261 posts in 1107 days

#15 posted 10-22-2015 04:04 AM

Thanks everyone. This project is a little over the top for it’s intended purpose, but sometimes it’s fun just to do something special. It’s particularly satisfying to take a project from log to finished piece of furniture. I’m grateful that in retirement I have the time to do projects like this.

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

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