|Project by fissionchips||posted 01-30-2012 08:24 PM||5735 views||1 time favorited||14 comments|
I am extremely lucky to have acquired a maebiki oga, also known as a whaleback saw. The saw came without a handle, giving me the opportunity to personalize and revitalize it. One often quotes the name of the Japanese blacksmith who forged a tool, but the scrawl of the maker (photo 4) is hard to work out for this hand-forged piece.
Where to begin with restoring a saw that has barely seen use since the introduction of the mechanized sawmill? Luckily there are people keeping the knowledge of these tools alive. Toshio Odate informs us that the kobiki-shokunin (japanese sawyer) preferred the soft wood of the paulownia for their saw handles. I had a piece of basswood just the right size for the job. It felt a little strange attaching an ultralight handle to a saw that tips the scale at nearly 7lbs, but it made perfect sense once I experienced the grip required to hoist this massive object in the air. Think of it as traditional ergonomics. The cushioned grip will prevent many a blister down the road!
The handle blank is carved out on one side for an exact fit with the tang. Once a good fit is achieved the two sides are glued together, and the handle shaped. A wire wrap around the top helps to keep the handle secure and prevent splitting. Lastly the handle is slid onto the tang and tapped down to seat it firmly. I finished the wood with a little beeswax to protect it.
Not averse to mixing new and old technologies, I gave the teeth a quick sharpening with a diamond disc dremel bit. The first test was to resaw a pine 1×8 in for my current toolbox project. Picture 6: Success!
Next up: bring on the 12” logs.
[ Stay tuned for a blog entry chock full of pictures and fun facts about the oga saw. ]