New Joinery Saw

In my last post, I was cutting the teeth on a new saw. This one’s got a plate that’s 10″x3″, .020″ thick, and has a milled brass back that has a 1/4″x3/4″ profile. These parts came from Mike Wenzloff, to whom I owe a lot of thanks for not only accommodating what turned out to be kind of a crazy order, but also for providing tips on how to attach the back and other matters.

I’m not sure what to call this saw because it’s somewhere between a dovetail saw and a carcase/small tenon saw. As I mentioned before, it’s got 16 teeth per inch, which is in the range of most dovetail saws, as is the sawplate thickness, but its plate depth is a bit more than more of those.

My goal was to replace the trusty Crown gents saw that I’ve been making most of my joints with. I’ve been happy with the way that saw cuts, and indeed, I’ve made most of my furniture with it, but I wanted more weight and a “nicer” handle. So since I want to cut most of my joinery with this saw, I’m calling it a joinery saw, I guess.

So with the teeth cut, the back shaped and attached, and the blade waxed up, I grabbed the cherry handle from this saw from before, put holes in the right spots, and it was done:

Then I tested it out by slicing the end of a piece of something-or-other to ribbons:

I have to admit, that was a lot of fun.

But projects awaited this saw, so I had to get going on them. The first one I worked on was this box:

It’s a small box meant to hold cards the size of index cards. The walls are made from a block of Arizona Cypress (thanks to Roger Van Maren for bringing this in to Bagathon!), about 3/8″ thick. The bottom is redwood, about 3/32″ thick, sawed out with the frame saw.

I’m not sure what in the world I was thinking, because this wood kind of “crumbles out” rather than tears out. The grain reverses like crazy. I had to make a scratch stock-like tool to scrape out the groove for the bottom. But I guess once you get the hang of it, the end result is nice. And the new saw worked really well for those teeny dovetails.

Carcase rip saw with cherry handle, finished

Well, it was a long time coming, but I finally finished this saw.

It has 13 teeth per inch, filed rip at a 0 degree rake angle. It cuts smoothly, but not super-quickly, as one would expect for a saw of this size and pitch. The finish on the handle turned out pretty well. I guess it had better, after, what was it, 10 coats of varnish?

[Edit: I eventually figured out that I was not happy with this original version. See this post for how I improved this saw.]

And even though this one is done, there’s another one for a 16″ tenon saw in the works.

Those tools to the left are the Shinto saw rasp and the Gramercy sawmaker’s rasp.

Saw handle holes

I somehow forgot exactly how I did the holes in my last saw handles, and I just had to do it again, so I’ll enumerate the steps so that I don’t have to remember the next time. Basically, you need to bore holes in the handle, with one side of the handle having larger holes than the other, because one side needs to house the saw nut, which is wider than the screw on the other side.

So here’s how (it assumes that you’ve already cut the sawblade kerf):

1. Secure the handle with a sacrificial board underneath.

2. Mark the holes on the screw side with an awl, using a template (or by hand).

3. Drill all the way through with a brace and bit sized for the screw.

4. Clean out the holes and sawblade kerf, flip over the handle, and resecure.

5. Place a piece of paper in the sawblade kerf.

6. Using a twist bit sized to the saw nut in the brace, enlarge the holes on the other side. Slowly ease your way in to prevent tearout and keep the hole centered.

7. Stop when you hit the paper. After enlarging all of the holes, pull out the paper and clean out the sawblade kerf again.

8. If necessary (this depends on your hardware), carefully use a countersink to countersink the holes on either side.

I suppose that it isn’t strictly necessary to have different-sized holes with the hardware that I’m using, but you definitely need to do it with older-style saw screws and nuts.

Cutting Gauge and Yet Another Handle

I haven’t been working on anything major lately, but two little projects that I haven’t mentioned before are coming close to completion:

On the left, a handle made out of cherry. The template is identical to my apple handle, and the saw will be identical as well, except that it is filed rip instead of crosscut, so I will be using it for tenons and perhaps larger dovetails.

On the right, a cutting gauge made from scraps of beech. When complete, it will have a captive wedge to hold the arm tight, and some sort of wedged blade that I haven’t figured out yet. I’ll probably give it the same finish as my mallet.