Baby bow saw – First Day's Construction

I decided I don't like the metal-frame coping saws. I find that the far end of the saw will often twist when I don't want it to, and I'll end up cutting a curve when I don't want to, or cutting a straight line when I want a curve. So I decided I'd make a bow saw that uses the standard coping saw blades to complement my bigger turning saws ( 1 and 2).

First I cut the arms out of a piece of citrus I got from AZWoody a couple years back. Then I drilled holes in the arms for the pins (from Gramercy Tools) and inserted the pins with one of the coping saw blades I want to be able to use in this saw. This let me figure out the length of the cross-piece. The important thing is to remember to leave material for the tenons that will stick into the mortises in the arms (DAMHIKT).

Measuring the cross-piece of the bow-saw

With that done, it's time to chop the mortises in the arms.

Preparing to chop a mortise

Just chisel work with a ¼” chisel. Aim for about ⅜” deep, because I'm working with ¾” stock.

Then it was time for a little break, so I fired up the lathe to make the handles. The citrus turns pretty well, I think.

Bow saw handles, fresh off the lathe

Time for some tenons. Cut them to match the mortise, then pare with a chisel to make them fit. They can be a little loose – the shoulders carry all the load.

Marking the tenon on the cross-piece

First cut for the tenon

Completed tenon

Do a test fit and mark the pieces for orientation.

Test fit of the arms and cross-piece of the bow-saw

Then it's time to start shaping the arms. I do one dimension at a time, roughing with a coping saw, then a spokeshave, then a knife, and eventually maybe a rasp (if I can't get a nice finish with the knife).

Rough-shaping the arm with the coping saw

Smoothing the arm with the spokeshave

Further shaping the arm with a knife

One dimension of one cross-arm roughed in

Then it was time to take a break and get some food. Next up will be shaping the other arm (they don't have to match exactly, but they need to look good together) and the cross piece, then doing the same in the other dimension for all the pieces. Also need to epoxy the pins into the handles, find some string, and carve a toggle to tension the string.



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