Thread: A bash at a bowsaw
23rd May 2021, 12:20 PM #1
A bash at a bowsaw
I've long fancied having a crack at making a bowsaw, but as is often the case when venturing into the unknown, analysis paralysis had me well and truly in its grasp. Repeatedly researching the "best" dimensions, blade source etc. etc. with the predictable conclusion being that it all just ends up being too much information to make heads or tails of, and being aside until the next time I got interested again.
I have been following the post about bowsaw blades with interest, which again sparked my desire to one day make one. I'm sure of all the profound things Ian has shared, he wouldn't have considered the following nugget news worthy.
Originally Posted by IanW
The frame itself was the easy bit and only took me an hour or so to put together. I cut out the shape of the arms from what I remembered, which is partly why it looks a little odd. I had to refine some areas as I went as I discovered my memory is less than perfect and my fanciful initial shape was unworkable in places.
Mark provided the inspiration for the tensioning chord.
Originally Posted by markharrison
Making the handles took a little longer as I was a little stuck on how to retain the blade to the arms. Then re-reading Ian's post about using a coach bolt, I realised I had a whole lot of looooong batten screws which would suffice. I cut the threaded section to length, cut off the head and filed an angled flat on one end, which was drilled with an angled hole, such that the pin would point backwards, much like a coping saw. Whilst I was feeling rather clever with myself I inserted the pins (thin nails) and braized them in place so that they wouldn't fall out when there was no tension on them. I must admit that I was surprised on-one else had thought about this.
... Then I went to insert them in the holes in the arms and realised why. Oh dear. So some surgery was required to make a little key-way, which wasn't that easy given how narrow it needed to be without looking unsightly.
I was running out of time, so just snipped a length of a kinked 3 tpi bandsaw blade, popped it in and gave it a whirl on some green wood and pine, which once started, ripped away quite happily. I will re-tooth it when I have time.
After playing around though, and putting it away for the night, I noticed that my pins really weren't up to the task. If you look closely, not only did they bend, but you can see that the blade has bitten into the pin too. As such, I'll have to look around the shed for something a little stronger to retrofit with.
So whilst not perfect, I'm really pleased. I got to play with wood (with lots of spoke shave time), played on the lathe, did a little metal working, and successfully braized for the first time. Oh, and I ended up with a bowsaw!Lance
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23rd May 2021, 12:41 PM #2
Nicely done. I think I would move the handles down lower on the arms where that knob bit is. Or cut the knob bit off.
The knob bit is likely to get in the way during some operations.
I would also make the paddle a little shorter so you can adjust the tension without having to fuss with it so much.
I really like the design of the Gramercy tools bow saw paddle. It's dead easy to make and use. You don't feel tempted to leave the saw under tension because it is so easy to tension and detension.
23rd May 2021, 02:52 PM #3
With respect to the paddle, yes... I guess I was a little freaked out by the amount of tension that propeller has, and after it come to rest on my knuckles once, I felt a little extra would negate it from flying out and removing an eye. But yes, I see that that's not going to happen. Just give me time to come to grips with it.
I would be interested in the reasoning behind needing to de-tension the blade between uses.Lance
23rd May 2021, 03:06 PM #4
Out with the old, in with the new.
With a clear plan of attack, this was a nice and quick retrofit. I decided that using a hacksaw and cutting a slot to allow the pin to be supported on each side of the blade made far more sense. After the new rods were created, I simply unscrewed the handle, and screw it onto the new one. Such an elegant solution, as I had initially intended to epoxy some rod into the handle. Thanks Ian.
Out of interest, I had initially tried this slot approach, but as my hacksaw blades are blunt (I know, I know) I tried with a thin cut-off wheel in the grinder. The test piece simply ended up resembling a T-1000 post shotgun blast.
23rd May 2021, 09:40 PM #5
I would be interested in the reasoning behind needing to de-tension the blade between uses.[/QUOTE]
More for longevity's sake of the frame really. With the Grammercy paddle design, it really is very easy to adjust and I don't find that it is a discouragement to using it even briefly.
24th May 2021, 07:57 AM #6SENIOR MEMBER
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- Oct 2018
- Dandenong Ranges
Hi Lance. Your bowsaw has turned out great. I too have been inspired by the same thread and doubly so now by yours.
24th May 2021, 10:46 AM #7
I love this development process. If I was to be critical of anything at all, and never having made a bowsaw myself which makes me the charlatan of all charlatans, I would advise to minimise the depth of frame below the blade. It severely restricts the cutting ability when an object is held in the vice.
"Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"
24th May 2021, 11:03 AM #8.
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24th May 2021, 10:06 PM #9SENIOR MEMBER
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- Mar 2018
Looks like the bow saw bug is catching.....
26th May 2021, 09:57 AM #10SENIOR MEMBER
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- Feb 2015
Bow Saw to cut Dovetails
Whenever I see a bow saw I think of Frank Klausz cutting dovetails:
YouTube "Dovetails for Drawers – the European Way" at 2' 05"
The size of his saw doesn't seem to stop him!!!
Last edited by yvan; 26th May 2021 at 10:01 AM. Reason: Tried to adjust font size...
26th May 2021, 10:24 AM #11
I recall seeing that early in my dovetailing journey and thinking it was one of the most spectacular things I'd seen.Lance
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