My Saws

To some, saws are the quintessential woodworking tool. It is a tool requiring skill to use and in trained hands is amazing to watch.  A saw that is well-crafted, and then well-cared for, reflects the skill of those that have handled it and in time can become the most beautiful tool in a craftsman's tool chest.  Study the evolutions of the saw and the plane and you will see that while planes gain less ornamentation as time progresses, saw handles continue to change in fashion until the bottom line of manufacturing strips it away during the late 1800s, a time when craftsmanship began to suffer all around.

            It is refreshing to see the resurgence of interest in saws that has come about recently.  While I firmly believe that the tool does not make the man and that a saw is only as good as the hand using it, there is something to the notion that the right tool, in the right hand, can accomplish amazing things.  That being said, I will promise you that unlike PF Flyers, these saws will not make you cut faster, better, stronger, harder, longer.  Using the saw, or better said –utilizing the saw is up to you.  My experiences with people like Yoshihara-san and Mack Headley have taught me that familiarity in the action and execution will deliver the best results and the only way to achieve this is through repetition. 

            My saw backs are made from folded steel.  Early saw backs were made from brass or wrought iron, however it has been impossible to buy wrought iron commercially for over 50 years.  Like any modern blacksmith, I’m very covetous of what I do have and that is why I use mild steel.  In many ways it is the superior material to both wrought iron and brass.  Saw backs are easier to make from brass, and some would say looks better, but the steel is stronger and less likely to be damaged by shop mishaps.  Though I do make saws with brass backs occasionally, I usually prefer steel.

The screws are replicas of the split-nut style machined from brass.  Traditionally they were cast and then threaded but I don’t have the capabilities or experience to replicate that.  It’s easier for me to machine the screws, and the difference is negligible in that it would not improve the function of the saw anyway. 

For the saw handles I like to use quartersawn hard maple.  I’ve worked with different types of woods for my other tool making projects, but I really like the quartersawn hard maple.  This is subject to change from batch to batch depending and you can expect other species like beech and walnut to be used occasionally. 

The purpose of making small batches opposed to maintaining a dedicated line of saws is to allow variety and give me the opportunity to keep trying new styles.  Most of the saws I make are copies of designs from the late eighteenth and early to mid nineteenth centuries, though I don't plan to work myself into a hole.  What styles of saws I will explore will depend upon your interests and mine, so please contact me if you have a particular style for me.  Below are few of the handle styles, generically labeled, that I have worked with in the past. 

Open Handle Pattern 1

Open Handle Pattern 2

Open Handle Pattern 3

Closed Handle Pattern 1

Closed Handle Pattern 2
Closed Handle Pattern 3