Bow Saw

After seeing an article on making a bow saw I went out to the shop and rummaged through a sack of pieces of exotic wood. Found a couple of pieces of the same wood that were long enough, wide enough and thick enough for the vertical parts. Did some noodling in PhotoShop and this is what I semi-settled on - dark wood for verticals and stretcher, a light hard wood for the turned handles and some padouk for the winding stick.

Did a couple of ideas on graph paper at full size, cut out the one I liked,glued it on one of the pieces of wood I'd selected and bandsawed it out. Used the cut out piece to trace the pattern on the other piece and cut it out.

I cut the 3/8" wide x 1/2" tall by 3/8" deep mortise on the first piece and then took a ROS to the piece - first just to take off the sharp edges then to do some Maloofesque shaping. Switched from 150 grit to 220 and starting smoothing and refining things. Got it looking OK so hand sanded the piece to 320. Jumping ahead, I just had to Teak Oil it to see what the finish would look like before going any further. Looked good so I did the same process to the other piece. That one came out pretty good too.

Then it was on to the handles. I had some medular rayed sycamore I'd sawn from logettes of The Sentinal Tree (250 -300 year old tree the city cut way back before it fell in the street and/or on adjacent houses). They'd been drying for over a year so I figured the wood was ready to use.

Had to borrow back my old Unimat (really small lathe set up for turning metal) amd found that, with a live center and the 4 jaw chuck, I had a little over 6 inches of length I could turn. Didn't have any wood turning tools so I had to use the XY table and a metal cutting bit. It took freaking forever to finish the first one. Was like trying to draw a fench curve on an Etch-a-Sketch. Got hand cramps turning the small XY wheels - real fine pitch threads - bummer. Finished shaping and smoothing with sand paper. The first one looked pretty good and the second one took a little less time since I knew what it was supposed to look like.

The sycamore was pretty blah until I teak oiled it. The grain popped enough to show the ray pattern but the oil didn't change the color of the wood too much.

Still haven't carved the tops yet but have played with ideas. Did the rough carving on the scrap piece on the right with carving chisels and used an air turbine with burs on the MDF on the left. Think I need to find more info on carving spirals.

Couldn't do the cross member until I had the saw blades in hand. Ordered three from Highland Hardware and a month later called to see what had happened to my order. "The blades are on back order and the English company that makes them work at their own pace." A month later I called again - "We received a shipment of blades but the quality wasn't up to our standards and we've sent them back. We should be getting good blades in in the next few weeks". Three days later I got a tube from Highland - two blades and an invoice for some guy in Connecticut! Called Highland AGAIN. "Guess someone in shipping screwed up - we'll send out your third blade today.". Months later and it still hasn't arrived. Good thing because after setting up the bow saw with their blade it didn't cut worth a damn. Waited over three months to finish the bow saw and the blade doesn't cut wood - who'd - uh - thunkit!.

So now I'm thinking I'll make my own from a piece of old bandsaw blade I have here somewhere. Or maybe I'll just do the carving and make it an "art piece". It does feel nice in hand - several different gripping positions and they all feel good.

Made a box for this saw. If you'd like to see it and learn how it evolved click here

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