Full Chisel Blog

October 1, 2012

Hand Saw Season

Filed under: Drilling,Finishing,Moses T's,Of Interest,Proper Tools,Sawing,Scrapers,Techniques — Stephen Shepherd @ 3:46 pm

It must be hand saw season as two handsaws have occupied my time recently.  I made a small unbacked handsaw for a luthier friend as a prop to replace his plastic handle version that ruins otherwise nice photographs.  I don’t care if he uses it, but it must be in his photographs.

Simple version like my others I have made with square tapered octagonal curly maple handle; the nib on the end is for starting saw kerfs and is somewhat shaped like a violin scroll.  The tooth guard is aspen.

I shape the curly maple to rough shape with spokeshaves and hand planes but there is usually a bunch of tear out, so I go over the surfaces with a toothing plane, then using a card scraper removed all of the toothing marks leaving a smooth surface.  I then cut the kerf for the saw blade with a smaller saw for a tight fit.  I drilled two holes for the rivets through the handle, then marking the position of the holes on the saw plate, I drilled two holes through the metal.

That took some time, I had to use a punch to get a deep enough hole for the small drill bit to catch and start cutting.  I also drilled a hole for the nib/scroll, then used a jeweler’s saw and files to finish the shape of the pierced hole.  The outside shape of the nib was filed with a triangular file.  The saw is 13 tpi sharpened rip.  I had to sharpen it three times to get rid of the factory sharpening into decent shape.  Did have to set a few teeth, it was from an offset reversible dovetail saw, I sheared off the blade and cut it to length.

The handle was then soaked in water to raise the grain, after it dried, I scraped again and gave it a coat of Moses T’s Reviver [lean oil], after 24 hours a coat of Moses T’s Gunstocker’s Finish [fat oil], available here.  The handle is riveted on with brass rivets.





The other saw is one I traded from a friend, I had a long piece of curly maple suitable for a walking stick and he just got this at the local swap meet.  I am not sure of its use or whether it is a saw or an agricultural tool, but it sure looks oriental.

The blade is a uniform .057″ or 15 gauge in thickness, about 11 teeth per inch and all filed from one side, the other being a bevel.  It has a gutter forged along its curved length and held in the handle with two pins and a metal ferrule.  The wood is like ash, very light in weight and obviously hand shaped.  Interesting tool.




  1. A friend identified the lower ‘saw’ as a Japanese Sawtooth Sickle (Nokogiri Kama). Took it out and dispatched some Iris, works great for that.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — October 2, 2012 @ 7:38 am

  2. You are a saw artist, sir! These top ones look amazing and I am sure they are very comfortable to use 🙂 And the Nokogiri Kama as Stephen said it’s name is, looks almost like having a collector’s value 🙂

    Comment by Carpentry Chicago — October 4, 2012 @ 8:11 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress