Apple handle: Start

I decided that since I had the momentum, and that since I had the drawing ready, that I would start a new saw handle, this time in apple. It will be for one of my small tenon/carcase saws, but I’m not sure which one yet.

[Update: The template is now available on the Plans and Guides page.]

First, I cut a piece of the board and fit the pattern:

Then I milled the board. Here’s one face flattened:

The entire board is mostly clear, but the pith runs near the center. So when I cut the piece out, the pith is on one side. This is, in theory, not a problem.

At this stage, it was evident that apple is unlike any wood I’ve worked with in the past. The grain is kind of wavy, but it’s not a problem with sharp tools. The grain is also very fine, and when planed, it is very smooth.

It was also unusual because I did not mill the board four-square. Rather, I made the faces trapezoidal, just taking care to get the edges square to the faces, and that the thing was of course of uniform thickness. Once that was done, it was easy to transfer the pattern to the wood.

I still used a coping saw to cut out the pattern, but I used a few other saws to mark out sections. This made sawing easier.

It still wasn’t super-fast, but again, I don’t have power tools. But I did finish sawing today.

Saw handle: Complete

I’ve been away for the last two and a half weeks. Just before I left, I put the final coat of finish on the saw handle. When I returned, I rubbed out the finish and put it back on the saw.

Everything turned out perfectly save one detail: I messed up the centering on the screw holes. Especially on the medallion. I could fix it, but I have two reasons not to. First, it serves as a reminder that I will need to practice that next time. Second, the saw itself is not worth it; I found out that the back is slightly bent. I don’t know if this happened recently or no, but it doesn’t really matter.

There’s also another good reason not to fool around with this one any longer–I want to get cracking on handles for my good saws. To that end, I bought a board of apple in Pennsylvania during my visit. It’s a pretty board and I don’t think I’ll want to stain it at all.

I also retrieved a brace from my mom’s place. The ratchet mechanism seized up, so I chucked in a sort of wide-bladed screwdriver bit, placed the blade in a vise, put in some wd-40, and turned. This freed it, and now it’s bleeding rust. Soon I’ll be able to give this one to a buddy.