Osage Orange and Curly Hard Maple Gramercy Bow Saw

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Project by SwedishIron posted 01-03-2010 12:08 AM 8219 views 10 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The Materials:
This is constructed from a Gramercy Bow Saw kit which provides detailed plans, two brass pins and three blades. After much deliberation over materials, the bow saw posts and stretcher were made out of a chunk of 8/4 tight grained quartersawn Osage Orange and the two handles and toggle were turned from a slab of 8/4 Curly Hard Maple.

The Plans
Joel from Tools for Working Wood provides a first class set of plans plus a great amount of support articles about choosing the best materials for the job. As he stressed on his site, the plans are a great guide as far as thickness and some suggestions for overall shaping of the saw parts. As I built the saw I took liberties and shaped parts to be comfortable for my grip but overall I was impressed and satisfied with the plans.

The build
To simplify things during the build I made sure the plan PDF was printed out 100% to size. It was easy to cut out the profiles, apply them using a spray adhesive and use them as a direct reference for the band saw roughing out the parts and also it made quick work during the next step using the draw knife, rasps and files during the final shaping.
All the Osage Orange parts were sanded down to 320, and the turned Curly Hard Maple parts were sanded down to 600 grit on the lathe.

The Finish
All the parts for the entire saw have two coats of BLO and were finished off with several light coats of 1 lb. blonde shellac. Finally everything was buffed several times with paste wax.

How it Cuts
The saw performed amazingly well in my test cuts before sending it off to its recipient. Doing several test cuts into a 4/4 block of Poplar I was able to cut some curvy and complex shapes with minimal effort. The secret to this saw is the blades that the kit provides: very thin, minimal set, and variable tooth settings depending on your needs. This is one sweet saw, and is a must for any woodworker that likes to incorporate curves into their work.. or has room to use this during their usual woodworking. I can see this taking the place of a coping saw to cut out the waste from hand cut dovetails.. so many uses.

Why I built it
This was my Secret Santa gift for another woodworking forums hand tool gift exchange. When I ordered the kit I did purchase two of them.. so one day when I have a bit of free time I’ll have one of these in my shop as well.

-- Scott, Colorado

5 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3084 days

#1 posted 01-03-2010 12:22 AM

what a great saw you have made I like it a lot
and what tool did you get insted I hope it can live up to the saw

Dennis from Denmark

View FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 3878 days

#2 posted 01-03-2010 12:42 AM

Scott, nice posting, nicer saw..Now feel free to build the second one and send it to me in Florida. Rat

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View F Dudak's profile

F Dudak

342 posts in 3779 days

#3 posted 01-03-2010 12:46 AM


Great job on the saw!!! I make Windsor chairs and want to make one of these, you have inspired me to buy a couple of kits to have a go at it. Thanks.

-- Fred.... Poconos, PA ---- Chairwright in the making ----

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3546 days

#4 posted 01-03-2010 01:05 AM

Nice work a cool saw

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Maximise's profile


1 post in 2223 days

#5 posted 03-24-2012 09:47 PM

Sirs, As a trained craftsman I can really enjoy your site. However, I was looking for a good picture of a traditional bow-saw and came across the above picture. Just what I want for a lesson with some students. Please may I have permission to use your photograph for educational purposes only – and that I should give the credit to your site.

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