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Thread: New Tool, but Old School

  1. #1

    New Tool, but Old School

    Somehow I got away from the Honey Do List, managed to keep the sheep happy, got enough trees cut yesterday to make headway on another load of wood, so I figured a day in the shop was in order...or at least a portion thereof. I don't do many Pictures of a Project in Progress (PIP) but today as I resurrected a long stalled project...my from scratch presentation handsaw...I snapped some pictures as I worked. There are nothing great, but this saw is SLOWLY starting to shape up into a rather unique saw.

    For those that don't know, this presentation saw is unique from the start in that it is made from stainless steel. The spine is also made from stainless steel and is TIG welded together for strength, but without question it won't ever rust! Just to add a little flare, I flared the spline upwards so it mated with the handle a little bit differently. The handle itself is a bit different too. It is made of Crab Apple and was a tree that my Great-GrandfatherČ planted over 150 years ago and harvested and sawn right on the family farm, so it has history.

    Today I spent a lot of my time doing 3 things to this saw:

    1. Sanding down the handle and then applying some cherry stain to it
    2. Filing the teeth on the saw
    3. Drilling holes for the screw-bolts

    As anyone who knows, hand sanding apple is very laborious, but a few hours of doing that made the handle comfortable in my hand and I finally said enough was enough and put some stain to it.

    As that dried I set up the stainless blade to have some teeth put in it. Most teeth are punched on a machine, but lacking that I decided to put teeth on this saw the really, really old school way. I had some triangle saw sharpening files and made my teeth by hand filing each tooth. It worked surprisingly well though each tooth isn't perfect by any means. I did have a saw setter so I did put some set into the teeth after I was done and then finally went back, refiled each tooth for sharpness and tried to make the teeth as perfect as I could.

    Because hand filing steel can be boring and took a long time, I took the occasional break by drilling out the handle for the screw bolts. This is a three drill process and required micrometer accuracy to ensure the button heads are exactly flush with the handle of the saw. I have a few of these screw bolts already machined out and like the rest of the saw, its of stainless steel to prevent rusting.

    Still a long ways to go, but just for fun here are some pictures of this very slow project.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Shotened Saw-small.JPG   Saw Handle-small.JPG   Filing Saw Teeth-small.JPG   Saw Teeth Close-small.JPG  
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Central (upstate) NY
    Posts
    1,457
    Wow! Looking really sharp!

    Hehe, that was a bad pun even for me - best of all it was typed out before I realized it was a pun!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    I live in Denton, Texas and ranched at Schulenburg, Texas.
    Posts
    116

    Travis --

    in this day an day a true craftsman is so welcome.

    Ray Gerdes

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Gerdes View Post
    in this day an day a true craftsman is so welcome.

    Ray Gerdes
    Thanks, but it is hardly perfect.

    Even in the pictures you can see some dimples where the shear came down and the feet dimpled the 22 gauge stainless steel. I put some cardboard down to prevent it, but in hindsight I should have used plywood or something. Still I think the set might be a bit too much. That does not really matter I guess, this saw will most likely make a single cut, be tucked into a display cabinet and then reside there without touching a piece of wood again. Still I want it to cut wood and cut well even if the 316L stainless steel means it will dull in relatively short order.

    I did clean it up this afternoon though, got the blade attached to the saw via the screw bolts and really like how it feels. That stainless spline gives it some good heft and its shorter length gives it some good balance. It was hard not to give the ole saw a test cut, but I got special plans for that moment so I must wait.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Saw Together-small.JPG  
    Last edited by Travis Johnson; 04-05-2009 at 09:48 PM.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    583
    Nice saw Travis,
    I like how the spline turns up the handle. Will one of the attachment screws anchor into the handle through the top of the spline? Countersunk flush with the top of the spline?
    The handle looks great. The heritage of the wood is excellent. I've toyed with making my own saw handle to fit my hand better (probably shows how naive i am just by saying that), but the only handle i've got that's close to comfortable is an old Disston back saw. I've got some apricot wood from a tree we felled in my back yard 4 years ago that should work nicely for that.
    But back to your saw - it's a presentation saw. Is there an occassion or person that you're making it for?
    I like your recent mad fascination with stainless. Great stuff is coming out of your shop.
    Keep it up - have fun with it.
    paulh

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Hubbman View Post
    Nice saw Travis,
    I like how the spline turns up the handle. Will one of the attachment screws anchor into the handle through the top of the spline? Countersunk flush with the top of the spline?
    No, for now the two screw bolts seem to hold the blade on just fine. I am satisfied with the way it fits, that and it would be problematic to drill through three layers of steel vertically. That is because the spline is in two sections. One piece put on one side of the 22 gauge steel blade, one on the other side, then a tig weld along the entire length. In order to keep warpage to a minimum, I had to go slow and keep the blade submerged in water. There was actually a fair amount of welding involved on this project. Getting everything filled up, then sanded smooth so it does not look like a welder ever touched it was time consuming, and one defect I have is in regards to that. The only way to fix it is to tig weld it again and then deal with a whole set of issues again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Hubbman View Post
    I've toyed with making my own saw handle to fit my hand better (probably shows how naive i am just by saying that), but the only handle i've got that's close to comfortable is an old Disston back saw. I've got some apricot wood from a tree we felled in my back yard 4 years ago that should work nicely for that.
    It's not naive at all. I think building a better handle is pretty easy to do and it would certainly give you that custom grip. Crab Apple is very hard wood and I imagine apricot as well. I even got some Orange Wood from a guy and may build a saw handle out of that someday. I know Apple tends to check though and this handle is not immune. So far so well, but I can see where a crack might develop a few years down the road. My biggest issue was choosing a router bit that had a crisp edge to it and one that was semi-dull. It looked great, but kind of pressed uncomfortably into the hand. It took some time to sand that sharp edge down, and to get out some burn marks. These are just simply mistakes I made, but knowing them, you (or anyone else) would be able to make a better custom handsaw in no time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Hubbman View Post
    But back to your saw - it's a presentation saw. Is there an occasion or person that you're making it for?
    No, and I haven't really even thought of someone. I had illusions early on of selling it on Fleabay or something, but with the issues I have with it, and those be insurmountable at this point, I don't think it is possible. Two of the issues would require extremely close up scrutiny to see (a pin hole and a divot where a weld was made) but the dimples would be more obvious. I suppose if someone was to etch the steel with a name or company, and do so by satin finishing the majority of the blade, and leaving the name itself in mirror polish, it would hide the dimples for the most part, but I would know it was there and could never feel good about selling something that was "not quite right".

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Hubbman View Post
    I like your recent mad fascination with stainless. Great stuff is coming out of your shop. Keep it up - have fun with it. paulh
    Yeah I like stainless. It shines so well and its great to know that what you make will never tarnish unlike copper, brass and carbon steel. As for the other tools, I must agree. I got some more stuff I want to do with that hand plane I made (infill shoulder plane), but here is the thing. The other day I was trimming out a door an necessity forced me to use my "presentation plane". Well I'll be darned if it did not actually work, and quite well at that. No improvements needed!

    I think the extra heft of the stainless steel itself, and the fact that it was pretty much laden with solid stainless billet, gives the plane enough weight to prevent chatter. I thought the mouth was way to gappy, but upon advancing it to a optimum depth of cut, it produced a fine chip. Like the saw it has a few minor defects that I would like to see go, but it actually works very well...kind of hard to pick it up and start fixing stuff on it that's not really broke. Call me lazy but I just leave it and take my lessons onward to another plane.

    (For others on here, this is the Stainless Steel Infill Shoulder Plane Paul referred to. The quarter is to show how mirror-like the finish of stainless can be. My saw is close to this, but not quite. It will take some more polish to get it to this level of perfection.)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Shoulder Plane.JPG  
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  7. #7
    One trick I have always wanted to do with a handsaw handle was incorporate a scribe into it. With the right handle shape, one of the ears would simply look like part of the handle shape, but with a little tug; a full sized scribe could be withdrawn from the saw handle. A magnet buried inside the wood would keep the scribe neatly hidden from view and with careful craftsmanship, no one would ever be the wiser. Perhaps even a small dovetail guide could be incorporated into the handle somewhere so that all the tools needed to make hand cut dovetails would literally be right at the hands of the woodworker. Now that would be a top of the line dovetail saw.

    Maybe on my next saw, but by the time I make that one, Alyson will have graduated from college.

    NOTE: The one thing I failed to mention in my post above was how easy it was to file the teeth. I fretted over this issue for a long time, and nearly sent it out to have the teeth stamped. Then it dawned on me...I am using wood from some apple trees my Great GrandfatherČ planted...if he needed a saw what would he have done? The answer was to file it, and while it took some time, it was actually easy to do. The teeth look surprisingly factor like unless you get out the magnifying glass. This is a long winded way of saying...don't let making a handsaw daunt you. It can be done very easily.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Central NY State
    Posts
    3,374
    Fine work there Travis.

  9. #9
    Thanks Ken...

    Yesterday I made some real headway. Typically I watch Alyson on Tuesday's which keeps shop/sheep and logging time to a minimum, but with the flooding here, school was canceled and My wife could watch Alyson so into the shop I went!

    I got the case made for the saw, complete with hand cut dovetails, a rabbeted back with red felt, a coat of stain put on it and even the first coat of polyurethane. Even the handle of the saw got a coat of poly which was a bit time consuming to do.

    All in all it is a slow project, but lately it seems to be coming along quite well now with some momentum building. I figure for finishing touches I'll add some polished stainless steel fixtures so that it matches the saw. I was unsure what kind of felt to apply, but in the end I figured red would contrast with the mirror finish of the metal parts of the saw and the light handle of the saw better then green or white felt.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  10. #10
    Well I got the saw finished. The pictures may not look so great, but the saw actually looks a lot better in real-life.

    I did a few cool things with this saw. The first was just hanging it inside a sealed cabinet to keep out the dust. What you also see in the picture is the first test cut ever made with this saw. I used a piece of aromatic cedar as a test piece of wood. I then added a small piece of wood with sandpaper epoxied to the bottom. It is attached with a chain so that 100 years from now if the owner wants, they can sand that first piece of cut wood a bit and fill the saw case with the wonderful smell of fresh cut cedar. It will also keep out moths.

    All in all I think it came out good.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Finished Saw-small.JPG  
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

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