Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Making A New Turning Saw - Part III

It was time to refine the shape of the new saw; making it lighter both visually and physically. Most of the work was done on the shavehorse, but some work was done over at the bench vise. The tools used were: drawknife, spokeshaves, files, and a knife. The work was slow but fun.

Here's the beginning of the shaping process on the shavehorse:

I just shaped it by eye. The hardest part was not taking off too much - it's addicting!

Some sections were easier to work on at the bench with the piece held in the front vise:

I ended up taking off quite a bit of stock. The areas around the mortise and the bottom of each arm I kept close to full thickness. Here are some comparison shots between the unshaped arm and the mostly finished arm:

After shaping the two arms with rounded, curving surfaces, the stretcher looked out of place with its flat surfaces and beveled edges. I decided to rework it to more closely match the arms. Here's two shots of all three pieces, with most of the shaping work complete:

And a shot of the assembled frame surrounded by the tools that have been working on the shaping:

Next up are the tension device (easy) and the blade assembly (not too hard, except I have this new idea on how to attach the rods to the knobs without using epoxy) so maybe this will be a four part post. Probably shouldn't have said that...


  1. Looking nice Dan! You'll have to let me know how the oak works out. I need to build a longer version of this (24") for thicker stock and was considering oak myself since it's easy for me to get riven oak where I am. I have been worried about oak's tendency to split easily but considering it is also used for bent bows for Windsor chairs, I thought I'd give it a try. Now that you have already done it, I can let you be the guinnea pig ;).

  2. Thanks Bob! I hope this thing doesn't split apart! But I don't think it will. With the fairly thin blade that I use, it doesn't really take that much force to get the tension I want. And I'm sure that grain orientation plays a key role too. Of course, I didn't even consider grain orientation in this saw - I just used what I had, so we'll see if it all works out. Guinea pig indeed!

    Oh, and I'm incredibly jealous about this: "since it's easy for me to get riven oak where I am."

  3. I'd be a little worried about the oak splitting, too (having witnessed much oak carnage in PA due to ice storms and the like). But you still seem to have a significant amount of uninterrupted grain between growth rings in the longitudial/tangential plane, which is good.

    For this one, you won't really know until you string it up and see what happens. If it splits, no biggie!

  4. It's beautiful Dan! Great transformation. I'd love to see a picture of the finished saw next to one the original chairs, if any survive.

  5. Brian - I don't think it will be a problem. Oak rives well, but that's different than stress across the grain. I mean, it's one of the primary boat building woods (of course that tends to be white oak) and wooden boats ask a lot of their timbers. I think it will be plenty strong - but as always "I could be wrong." :) Hopefully we will see soon. Thanks for commenting. I'm looking forward to seeing your completed saw till.

    Josh - I think I might be able to do that - if the saw survives :)

  6. Great looking saw Dan! I espacialy like the handle shape. Hoppe it last!
    I'm with you about the " since it's easy for me to get riven oak wher Iam"... Like me, the only thing we could get riven easily, would be spruce... How lucky we are!!!

  7. David - I know, every time I travel I just can't stop looking at all the different trees that we don't have in Alaska.

  8. It's hard not to be envious of the hardwoods in PA when I visit, that's for sure. When hiking around, you can't resist blabbing stuff like, "shagbark hickory, paper birch, chestnut oak, hey, look, a cherry..." But living in CA has made me appreciate stuff like Douglas-fir and Ponderosa pine more than I ever thought I would. Not to mention that I have that little bit of Madrone that's waiting for me to do something with it.

    Saw till glue-up should be next week!

  9. Joining the oak splitting conversation a bit late... About a year ago, I made a turning saw very similar to this one. I used borg-bought (probably kiln dried) oak. Comparing pictures (mine here), mine might be a bit more scant than Dan's. I've used a variety of the 12 inch blades that TFWW sells, and have wound tension up to "hold your breath for that last turn" tight. The saw has held together well and is a real joy to use.

    I expect Dan will get great service from non-borg riven oak.

  10. Bob - That's a great looking saw! I like the clean lines. I hope mine works well too. Thanks for commenting.


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