Tag Archives: hand saw

Happy New Year – New Saw Tote Part 4

happy-new-yearHappy New Year everybody!

Gramercy Tools Saw Handle Makers Rasp

Gramercy Tools Saw Handle Maker’s Rasp

The next step in making the new saw tote is to break out the rasps.  I did most of the shaping work with my Gramercy Tools Saw Handle Maker’s Rasp.  I picked up this rasp at Woodworking In America back in October.  Most of the shaping that has to be done is on the grip, although most of the edges get rounded over as well.

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Next comes the real test . . . how the tote feels in the hand.  For my hands, this tote pattern – from Aldren Watson’s book Hand Tools: Their Ways and Workings – is nearly perfect.

2013-12-29 16.51.46Once the grip is comfortable, it’s time to start sanding.  I used 220 grit sandpaper to remove the final rasp marks and get a nice silky smooth finish.

2013-12-30 21.57.53Once all the sanding is done, I applied a couple of coats of boiled linseed oil and finished it off with a little furniture wax.  Here is a photo of the finished tote installed on saw.

2014-01-01 17.39.34And here is a photo of the new tote next to the old one for comparison.

2014-01-01 18.19.15Until next time . . .






New Saw Tote Part 3. . . Yep, I’m in love

Kerf marked in on the new saw tote

Kerf marked in on the new saw tote

The night before last, I marked out the kerf for the sawplate in the new tote.  Yesterday after work, I used my new Veritas Rip Tenon Saw to saw out the kerf.  As a side note, I really am in love with these saws!

Sawing out the kerf

Sawing out the kerf

Kerfed saw tote

Kerfed saw tote

After the kerf was cut, I drilled the holes and counterbored the recesses for the for the saw nuts.  I then drove the male half of the saw nuts into the holes to form the square portions of the holes (see the photo below).

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You may notice a gray streak in the handle from one of the screw holes to the front of the tote.   When I was driving in the saw nuts, the tote cracked along a weak section of the grain.

Cracked tote

Cracked tote

This morning, I started the repairs on the tote.  First, I sawed a kerf along the crack.2013-12-28 10.38.21Next, I mixed up some epoxy with sawdust from the shaping of the tote and filled in the kerf with this mixture to act as a filler.

Crack filled

Crack filled

After the filler had set up, I removed the excess with a sharp chisel and a scraper.  Below is a photo of the repaired tote.

Repaired saw tote

Repaired saw tote

The next step in making the tote is to do the final shaping of the curved edges.  The most critical are to shape is around the grip so that the saw is comfortable to hold and use.  The front and bottom edges of the tote will be shaped as well, but that is more for looks than anything.   My next post in the series will cover the shaping (and hopefully the finishing) of the tote.

Until then. . .

New Saw Tote – Part 2

Rough out the saw tote.

Roughing out the saw tote.

Since last weekend, I had a chance to get some more work done on new saw tote I’m making.  The next step after laying out the tote is to rough out the  shape of the tote.  I’m still getting used to my turning saw (I have a hard time cutting square edges) so I saw a little outside the lines.  As you can see in the photo above, I also bored holes to relieve the some of the curves.    Below is a photo of the rough sawn tote.

Rough sawn tote.

Rough sawn tote.

After roughing out the tote, I used rasps and a float to get it shaped down to the layout lines.  At this point, I try to get all the edges square.  Here are a couple of photos.

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2013-12-26 21.26.29From lumber to this point has taken about 3 hours at this point.  The next step will be to saw the kerf for the saw plate and boring the holes for the saw nuts.  I’ll cover those steps in the next post.

Until next time. . .


New Saw Tote

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This weekend, I started working on a new saw tote for one of my crosscut hand saws.  All of my handsaws are post World War II vintage.  During this time period, power tools began to quickly take over and tool makers began to forget what makes a quality tool.  That isn’t to say that the steel isn’t good in most modern tools; but the design of the tools leaves something to be desired.  In the case of handsaws, this is usually the shape of the tote or handle.  I have 3 rip saws and 3 cross-cut saws.  I recently finished a handle for one of my rip saws, and wanted to get a good tote on at least one of my cross-cuts.

The photo at the top of the post shows the saw as it was before this weekend.  On the piece of plywood the saw is sitting on, you can see a drawing of a tote design I was going to use.  However, I changed my mind and used a template I already had.  The reason for the change in direction was that I didn’t like the way the back of the sawplate/blade was shaped  (see the photo below).

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The curved shape of the sawplate isn’t very convenient if  you are making a saw tote only with hand tools, because you either have to have a circular saw blade to cut a curved kerf for the blade to slide into, or make the tote much larger so you can cut a straight kerf that will accomdate the curved blade.  I chose a different option – I cut of the back of the sawplate so it is straight with only a little curve at the top of the blade.  Unfortunately, this shortened the saw by around an inch, but that shouldn’t be too big of a deal.

2013-12-21 15.14.16After cutting off the back end of the sawplate, I laid out holes for the screws (called saw nuts) that will hold the tote onto the blade on my template and then drilled them in the sawplate.

Here is a picture of the blade and tote template to give an idea of the way the new tote will look.

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I then used the template to layout the design on the piece of cherry lumber I am going to use for the tote and cut the blank down to a workable size so I can get the tote cut out.

One important point in using a template like this is to make sure the grain of the lumber is running through the tote in the right direction.  The line with arrows that is circled below indicates the direction the grain should run.

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Here is the blank with the saw tote laid out (note I also marked the locations for the holes for the saw nuts while I had the template attached to the lumber with double sided tape.

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I hope to get the tote roughed out this week.  My next post will cover the process of shaping the tote.  Hopefully, I will even have the tote finished and installed on the saw by then.

Until next time. . .



Shop projects – French marking gauge, saw bench and horse, and saw tote

ProjectsJust because I haven’t been posting too much lately doesn’t mean that I haven’t had any shop time.  Over the past month, I have had an opportunity to knock out 3 fairly quick shop projects.  First was the french style marking gauge at the front of the photo above.  I stripped out the thumb screw on a cheap gauge that I had and needed a new gauge for marking the width of pieces.  I happened to have a nice small piece of walnut kicking around the shop, so I decide to make my own gauge.

2013-12-09 21.43.13 2013-12-09 21.42.56 2013-12-09 21.43.01 2013-12-09 21.42.53The marking gauge was used to finish the second project.  A second sawbench and saw horse (they are holding the marking gauge and saw).  I now have two sets, which is really useful because I can saw long boards and planks with all four stands supporting the lumber and I don’t have to worry about half the board falling on the floor and tearing out the wood along the cut.  The sawbenches and saw horses I use were built using Chris Schwarz’s 2008 design, which can be found here.  There has been some ruckus in the woodworking corner of the internet about how saw benches with vertical legs are better than ones with splayed legs.  I don’t have a dog in that fight, but I have to say that in over 2 years, I’ve never had a problem with the splayed leg design.  The saw bench includes a “V” shaped ripping notch that avoids the legs of the bench.

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The final project, which I finished up tonight, is a new saw tote for one of my old rip saws.  This one is made of cherry.  A well designed tote is a joy to work with; add to that the fact that they are fun and fairly easy to make.  I don’t know why there are still so many saws with uncomfortable totes.  This project was my first chance to really try out my new Gramercy Tools Hand Cut Saw Handle Maker’s Rasp from Tools for Working Wood.  I picked up this rasp from the Tools for Working Wood booth at Woodworking in America in October.  I wish I had purchased one sooner.  It is fantastic for shaping the compound curves on the grip of a tote.  I only wish that Gramercy would make a finer grain version (which would leave a smoother surface.

While I don’t anticipate making any more sawbenches or saw horses, I will be make a couple more gauges and a few more saw totes.  I’ll be sure to get some photos and write some posts about the processes I use to make these tools.

Until next time . . .