Half Back Saw

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Project by BrentParkin posted 01-15-2018 11:20 PM 1128 views 2 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have always been intrigued by half back saws. Since I make the occasional saw, I thought I might try my hand at making one of these.

The handle was shaped from my last piece of Bubinga. The shape comes from a handle used by Cresson on their half back saws many years ago. I liked the shape and figured why not. I found a picture of a Cresson handle and brought it into AutoCAD. I then scaled the raster image until I had the saw nuts scaled to their real life size. Then I simply drew over the raster image to create my own Cresson handle template. I printed that out and glued it to the wood, drilled and cut the waste away and then shaped it with rasp/file and sand paper. This was the most challenging handle I have ever made. Cutting the mortice for the saw back into the coves was laborious and I had to go slow.

The saw plate came from a rusty old unnamed skew back saw I picked up at a garage sale. I cut myself an 18” plate out of the 26” mess and then cleaned and polished the steel. I recently purchased a Foley retoother and used it to punch new teeth. The old 6TPI plate became a 10TPI plate. I have not sharpened it yet, but will file it hybrid to use as a general bench saw.

The spine was a remnant from a 28” mitre saw I had cut down to 20” to use in a Stanley 150 mitre box. It was just right to use for this saw and I used cold bluing to finish the steel back.

The saw bolts also came from a wrecked saw I found. They look polished in the photos, but they are just cleaned up with Oxalic acid and have a nice soft brass look to them. I gave them a coat of lacquer to keep them that way as long as possible.

I like that the old saw plate seems to give the saw a bit of instant character. I’m really happy with the look and look forward to putting it to good use at the bench.

-- Regards,

16 comments so far

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2289 posts in 577 days

#1 posted 01-16-2018 12:15 AM

Good looking saw … thanks for sharing!

-- Ron in Lilburn, Georgia.  Knowing how to use a tool is more important than the tool in and of itself.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15246 posts in 2548 days

#2 posted 01-16-2018 12:18 AM

Very, very nice Brent!

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

View CFrye's profile


10067 posts in 1769 days

#3 posted 01-16-2018 01:10 AM

Agreed, Beautiful saw, Brent! Are the nuts split?

-- God bless, Candy

View BrentParkin's profile


114 posts in 865 days

#4 posted 01-16-2018 01:39 AM

Agreed, Beautiful saw, Brent! Are the nuts split?

- CFrye

Nope no split nuts on this one. If I had some on hand I might have used them. But I worked with what I could scrounge up. If I was using all new materials, I would have got some new split nuts for sure.

-- Regards,

View TheTurtleCarpenter's profile


1010 posts in 996 days

#5 posted 01-16-2018 04:20 AM

Looks Great Brent, just add a Nib !

-- "Tying shoelaces was way harder than learning to Whistle",,,,,member MWTCA area K. Kentucky

View Don W's profile

Don W

18659 posts in 2497 days

#6 posted 01-16-2018 12:19 PM

Nice project. It came out great.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View theoldfart's profile


9493 posts in 2381 days

#7 posted 01-16-2018 01:19 PM

Brent, really nice work. Heirloom tool for sure.

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

View Rick's profile


9204 posts in 2962 days

#8 posted 01-16-2018 01:34 PM

Nice Saw Brent!

-- Carrying Anger is like Swallowing Poison and waiting for the Other Person to Die!

View waho6o9's profile


8126 posts in 2507 days

#9 posted 01-16-2018 02:53 PM

Better than store bought, excellent work Brent!

View helluvawreck's profile


30470 posts in 2796 days

#10 posted 01-16-2018 05:50 PM

This is a very creative tool and you have done a fine job on it. Nice work!

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Tim Royal 's profile

Tim Royal

305 posts in 1416 days

#11 posted 01-17-2018 03:44 AM

Gorgeous… been drooling over half backs for a couple years. Hmmm… Since I cannot die until all my projects are done guess I’m gonna live a little longer now!

-- -Tim Royal -"Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real." -Thomas Merton

View therealSteveN's profile


220 posts in 504 days

#12 posted 01-17-2018 10:57 AM

Love the detail on that handle, nice work BTW. I also have to give props to using pieces of history to create this new saw. So many pitch items if there is some work to make them usable again, love the re-purpose use.

So how does it cut?

-- Think safe, be safe

View BrentParkin's profile


114 posts in 865 days

#13 posted 01-17-2018 01:00 PM

So how does it cut?

- therealSteveN

Well I have not had the time to do the sharpening yet. But I couldn’t resist trying to cut a scrap of walnut I had on the bench. I mean heck, the new teeth should be able to rip right?? I could sink 2-3 inches deep in a straight line before the lack of set started slowing me down. It’s too cold here to go out to the garage and file it right now. I don’t do the dirty parts of making the saws in the house. But as soon as this arctic air mass moves off, I’ll get at it.

-- Regards,

View Just_Iain's profile


280 posts in 346 days

#14 posted 01-17-2018 06:45 PM

Brent, get it etched and in 100 years, Lumberjocks will go nuts trying to track down the manufacturer!

By the way, it looks great.


-- For those about to die, remember your bicycle helmet!

View therealSteveN's profile


220 posts in 504 days

#15 posted 01-18-2018 04:53 AM

I understand the “COLD” shop syndrome Brent, no hurries.

-- Think safe, be safe

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