Sunday, January 22, 2012


Now that I have my process fairly streamlined, I want to work on some new designs.  This post will show you what I have in the "R&D" phase. 

Working with that rounded cheek design, putting the handle a bit lower, and experimenting with a fastener design that likely came before the split nuts.  Earlier saws had their handles riveted to the blades.  I'd like to replicate this look, yet still allow the handle to come off without significant alterations having to be made.  One solution seems promising, but I want to do a large amount of field testing before I unleash this on the public. 

Compass saws are something that I think will experience a resurgence in interest some day.  They are useful, but only when you find a good one.  If you prowl antique stores you know that most of the surviving ones are often kinked.  I think this is probably a combination of poor maintenance (not sharpening) and then misuse (exerting too much force with a dull blade).  Traditionally they were made with thicker blades taper ground on two axises and employed no set.  It's hard to do a comparison to see how their manufacture changed over time unless you have a large collection of them.  I do not, and I get funny looks when I take my calipers into antique stores.  However I'm fairly certain that the blade thickness decreased between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries and that manufacturers moved towards setting the teeth; a necessary move, otherwise it would have been very easy to kink such a blade. 

I also want to play around with table saws.  Just from meditating on the subject I have a few notions about why the table saws were just a blip on the radar of saws but I want to test these theories out.  Again I don't have a large body of artifacts to study, so I'm relying on research to help me out.  Ed Lebetkin who runs the the Woodwright Tool Store above the Woodwright School has been very helpful in providing me with measurements and observations about the ones that he has in inventory.  The details of Ed's observations are pretty interesting, but that will all come out in another post.