Making a back saw

A 16″ tenon saw is in the works, and I needed to gather all the components together before I started the job. In this post I’ll talk about where I got all the pieces – no point in talking about how to make the saw when there are many sites that explain the saw making process much better than I can hope to. The most appropriate walk-through sites I have found include these by the Alaskan WoodworkerBob Rozaieski, the Literary WorkshopNorse Woodsmith, and Ray Gardiner.

  1. Firstly (and this was the easy part) I got a 0.025″ thick, 16″ long saw plate from Ron Bontz along with a 3/4″ deep brass spine. Ron cut a tooth pattern in the plate for me. I went with an 11 tip rip.
  2. Nuts and a medallion are slightly harder to find. eBay has some on offer every now and again, but you must be careful to differentiate between the handsaw and back saw sized-medallions; 1″ and 13/16″ respectively, according to the Disstonian Institute. I guess this might not be critical, though. I received some old nuts and a medallion from ‘Joe’s used tools’ back when that fine website was in operation. I show a quick way to polish the brass hardware in this video.
  3. The handle is definitely the most daunting part of the task. To start with we need either our own design or to use a pattern. As I wanted my saw to be similar to the Disston D4 handle I have on the carcass saw, I found a D4 pattern on the TGIAG website. Other patterns are available from Mike Wenzloff, Blackburn Tools and on Backsaw.net. I did modify the pattern to incorporate a lamb’s tongue into the design – just because it is a little flourish that looks nice. All that is left is to find a nice hardwood blank about 7/8″ to 1″ thick.

I found my first attempt at making a handle was very crude. I wish I had practiced on some cheap stock rather than the nice walnut I had put aside for it. In the end I made a second and much better looking handle out of mahogany.

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One thought on “Making a back saw

  1. Thanks for posting the beautiful saw project. It is definitely on my list of things to do and the materials are waiting for me to get started. There is something really cool about shaping a handle that fits your hand and can be as designed as you want. Awhile back I purchased saw nuts from Mike Wenzloff. Perhaps he is still a source for them.

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