Bow Saw


Here are is a photo of the bow saw I built. The hardware, pinned blades, and plans are from Tools For Working Wood. I have lots of small pieces of old hard maple (recycled gym floor) so I used that instead of hickory that the TfWW plan calls for. So far the maple has worked well. But I’m not sure I’m tensioning this down as far as I should. I’ve used the ping-test – tightening until I can pluck the blade, and it gives a clear note rather than a dull thud. Having never seen a working bow saw, I don’t know if this is tight enough, or if I need to gather my courage and tighten farther and really test the strength of these maple arms.

I drilled the holes for the pins in the dead dry, middle of winter. By the time I finished the saw the humidity was rising, and the holes expanded just enough so the saw would not always stand upright. So I glued two small disks of leather, one to the handle, and the other to the frame. When the saw is under tension those hold nicely.

If you’re interested in trying a bow saw, there’s lots of good info on design considerations at the link above. Their plan is available free from their site, and includes full-size drawings in pdf form. Their brass pins and pinned blades are a great solution if, like me, you want to focus on the woodworking and not have to mess with the metal working that would otherwise be needed to make this saw.

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About johnjoiner

Computer nerd by day, Dad and woodworker by night. Woodworking blog at https://johnjoiner.wordpress.com/
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3 Responses to Bow Saw

  1. Very nice, are you going to use it on any upcoming projects? Sometimes that motivates me to make a tool.

  2. It's really beautiful. Is that weird to say about a saw?

  3. johnjoiner says:

    woodshopbug: No. I'm working on a dry sink right now – fairly large wood and few curves.This was actually a warm-up for a larger frame saw I want to make, a la Tage Frid. I have another set of pins and a much larger blade. But there are a few things on the list before I get to that.Jen: No, that's not weird. A lot of people get into this, just for the beautiful tools.

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