Saturday, January 24, 2009

Shop made Bowsaw

What do you do on a rainy Saturday when you don't want to start a project that is going to take weeks? Why make a shop tool of course. I've made a couple of wooden planes and upgraded some saw handles but I thought it was time to attempt a Bowsaw. I found a great article on the Fine Woodworking website listed under specialty skills, making shop tools. I'm sure that you've all seen Frank Klausz cut dovetails with a bow or frame saw, of course I don't think that having a bowsaw will make me cut as well or as fast as Mr. Klausz.
My inspiration for this was a broken 1/4 inch bandsaw blade, here's something that you can do that costs you nothing and lets you recycle that broken blade. All you need is a 14x5 inch piece of 4/4 hardwood, I had some beautiful curly maple boards that I thought would be prefect. You'll notice two boards and two sets of arms, I decided that it was just as easy to make two as to make one and maybe I'll have a nice gift for someone when I'm finished.
Using the template that is in the article I made a template out of 1/2 MDF to make it easier to transfer the marks. I ripped two 1 3/4 inch pieces out of each board and one 1 inch piece out of each.
I transferred the shape onto each 1 3/4 inch piece and then layed out the holes that need to be drilled. One 1/2 inch hole for the handle and knob on the bottom and the start of the mortises that will receive the stretcher.

Once the holes are drilled I cleaned out the waste from the mortises with a chisel. I then could take the arms to the bandsaw and cut out the shape. After cleaning the saw marks off on the oscillating spindle sander I used a 1/4 inch 1/4 round router bit in the router table to ease the edges, leaving the area in front of the mortise and the bottom where the handle and knob will go square. I then used a combination of block plane, spokeshave, and sandpaper to taper the "horns" of the arms. I then formed the tenons on the ends of the stretch to fit loosely so that the arms could move freely. I also rounded over the edges of the stretcher on the router table.

Using a left over piece of curly maple I resawed it to 1/4 inch and cut a little flapper that is used to tension the saw.

I went over to my friend's shop down the street and used his lathe to turn a handle and knob. I don't use lathe's and this was the very first thing that I've ever turned. I had planned on turning two handles and two knobs, but really close to finishing the first handle the tenon from and the handle went flying. Oh well, the next handle came out great and I learned to go very easily with the scraper when forming the tenon. When I went to setting the second knob into the center it split, so I had one handle and one knob.
Taking those pieces back to my shop I cut a slot down the center of each tenon on the handle and knob to receive the blade and drilled a hole at 90 degrees to the cut through the tenon. I cut the blade to length and drilled hole at each end. I slipped the blade into the slot and pushed a 4d finish nail through the hole. Then I tied a leather boot lace around the horns of the arms and used the little flapper to wind the lace and tension the blade.
Once I was sure that the saw was working properly and cutting nicely I took it apart and applied a few coats of Watco natural Danish oil, after letting it sit for an hour I wiped everything dry and trimmed off the excess leather laces.
There you are, one afternoon and I have a new tool that costs me nothing and will let me use that broken blade. Hope you make your own, there is nothing better than tools you make yourself.

"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions." ~Dalai Lama


Handi said...

That's pretty damn Sweet... I always wanted me one, Now that i've seen yours, and how you made it without any Special Hardware, I will be attempting it myself once it gets warmer..

I may Design a Small one for a Hacksaw Blade or something. Thanks for the Post, very helpful!


The Wood Shepherd said...

Hey Brad --

That's great! My intention is to have a number of these in different sizes to select from. I made my more as a "turning saw" -- used for what we might use a coping saw from. Here's mine, made from scrap walnut.

Thanks for the blog!