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Thread: Saw handle grain orientation?

  1. #1
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    Saw handle grain orientation?

    Any one know if there is a prefered grain orientation, quartersawn?, flatsawn?, for saw handles? How about relative to the cut out shape? As close to parallel to the direction of the thinnest part (for an open handle). Different at all for a closed handle?

    Thanks

    John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Forest Grove, Oregon USA
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    Hi John,

    I prefer quarter sawn for some and flat for others. In part it depends on the woods, but largely for figure.

    For closed handles, it doesn't matter too much, even though my preference is between rift and QS woods.

    For open handles, the biggest give a heck is how the grain runs down through the bridge. The bridge is the part which connects the handle proper with the cheeks.

    The picture below is of a handle paid out on some Cocobolo, chosen for it's strong grainlines for the picture.



    Ideally, the grain would have run at a steeper angle, but that was the board I had for use at the time and is more than adequate.

    On this completed saw, you can see how the grain is running a little steeper through the bridge:



    On a closed handle, those grain lines can run straight or angled. Really doesn't matter as regards strength, but I like them to cross the handhold portion of the handle at an angle as this one does:



    Thickness is another thing. For an open handle I like to begin with a hair thicker than 1", for an open handle it can be thinner. Some open handle styles when replicating vintage saws we finish off about 13/16" to 7/8", but across the hand hold is wider when the thickness drops. It's all about those two dimensions as regards comfort.

    Take care, Mike
    Wenzloff & Sons Sawmakers

  3. #3
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    Dec 2006
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    Thanks Mike!, I figured you'd have all the answers

    I've got a scrap of fiddleback mesquite I've been saving for something special. I may try replacing a loose LN handle (I know they'd fix it for me, but seems like a fun project). I hadn't considered the thickness, going to have to check that. I'd forgotten all about it untill SWMBO and I were looking for veneer candidates for some drawer fronts. Figure I better use it before it gets used for me!

    John

  4. #4
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    Forest Grove, Oregon USA
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    Better guard that Mesquite so I never find it! Figured Mesquite has been a trial for me to get. I had a few orders for Mesquite and had three vendors send me supposedly figured boards. None of the 3 were figured, and only one was thick enough to use despite quite specific order requirements.

    You don't need to have LN fix anything--probably isn't "broke." Make yourself a split nut driver to tighten the nuts. I make them from 7/16" hex-drive spade bits.

    Grind the point off and so it is flat across. Using a 5/32" round file, file enough of a notch in the center to go down on both sides of the bolt in the center of the nut. Depending on the bit you use, you'll probably need to thin the tip of the bit a little so it fits clear to the bottom of the nut's slot.

    Spade bits are hard enough to work well, just don't over heat the steel if using a grinder.

    And if you can always make a nice handle for it at some point...

    Take care, Mike
    Wenzloff & Sons Sawmakers

  5. #5
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    "You don't need to have LN fix anything--probably isn't "broke." Make yourself a split nut driver to tighten the nuts. I make them from 7/16" hex-drive spade bits."

    Geee, whatever would I do with my wood if I fixed handles instead of making new ones?

    Seriously though, the trick to getting the good stuff in this case is to put up with offcuts from a big shop (that's probably not news to you). All the mesquite I've got is in 1'-2' pieces that I saved from the dumpster at work- back when I lived in mesquite country. In my limited experience, the stuff from Sonora and Arizona is more figured than Texican, as the trees are smaller. But the down side is there are more cracks and flaws, bark inclusions, etc. Of course the outfit I worked for was just phasing out the Texas material when I started, as they were getting a good supply from Mexico, so I don't have a whole lot of experience with the stuff from Texas.

    John

  6. #6
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    Well, I went and measured the thickness of my scraps, one is just over 15/16, the other is closer to 7/8, and both have a bit of rough sawn areas. I may have to save them for box lids or something.

    John

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Forest Grove, Oregon USA
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    The 15/16" will work for an open handle. For a closed handle, you can cheat the thickness a bit by making the width of the handhold a little wider. It's a circumference thing. Just if it becomes too narrow or too wide it will either be too small in circumference or look odd proportionally.

    Take care, Mike
    Wenzloff & Sons Sawmakers

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