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Thread: Finally made a turning saw

  1. #1

    Finally made a turning saw

    For the last week Ive been eating away at a turning saw. This is part of my overall strategy to make all of my power tools superfluous so as to keep all of my fingers intact and next on the chopping block was my band saw. I made it out of a cutoff of red oak, a pair of bolts and 4d nails (for the hardware), a scrap of veg-tan leather (washers), and bought a 14tpi band saw blade to cut down for the blade. I dont have a lathe (a spring pole lathe is on my to-do list), so I had to do the handles with a coping saw and spokeshave so they are not machine smooth and round, but I do like the character they have in my hands. The cord is jute twine.

    I used the Gramercy turning saw pattern for all the parts. I watched a ton of youtube videos to see how people hold these things and although the TFWW website says to hold it with your pointer finger extended, that didnt work at all for me because the arms would flop a bit too much, particularly when leaning hard to the left (Im right handed). After scouring youtube for videos of people using them I noticed most used some sort of pinch grip which worked wonders for me. More control, more comfortable, no floppiness. I just filed away where my thumb and forefinger grabbed the arm until it felt comfortable.

    I used two wraps of jute twine. Ill see how that goes for a while, but its holding right now with enough tension after 30 minutes of practice cuts. A single wrap broke the string. I want the minimum number of wraps so that if anything breaks, its the string and not the arms. I can laugh if I break the string and tie a new one on in 30 seconds; Ill cry if I break an arm!

    The finish is just boiled linseed oil.


  2. #2
    That's neat as heck. I want one! Can you show us how you fasten the blade to the handles; eg did you make a clamp mechanism to hold the blade?


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    SE Michigan
    Very well done, Chris. That should give you many years of service.

  4. #4
    That looks really nicely done.

    I wanted to do one too, but felt that I didn't have the time or energy.
    I ended up buying one last night.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Frederick Skelly View Post
    Can you show us how you fasten the blade to the handles; eg did you make a clamp mechanism to hold the blade?
    Heres a close up picture of the hardware. Basically the bolts I used were hex bolts I think four or five inches long and cut to length. I kept the threads, which go into the handle. The hole on the long handle is 1 and the hole in the short handle is 1. Any smooth shaft of the bolt that went into the hole got scuffed up pretty good with a hack saw to provide some traction for the epoxy (the bolts are not screwed into the handles, just inserted and epoxied). I also cut a shallow groove along the shaft of the bolt from the bottom up to about where it would come out of the hole to give a place for the epoxy to give some grip against twisting. It might have been overkill, but I think I read on TFWW about how they designed their hardware to avoid slipping from the handles and decided to do whatever I could. For holding the blade, I used a hacksaw and cut a slot down to where the bolt protrudes through the arm of the frame. I then filed a small flat on one side so I could accurately use a punch to start a hole to drill for the pin. I then assembled everything without a blade, but looped some string around the bottom of the arms to simulate tension so I could accurately measure the blade and cut it from the band saw blade I bought. Once cut to length, I inserted the blade into the slots with just a little wiggle room and stuck a thin sharpie pen tip through the hole to mark the holes for the blade then I drilled the holes in the blade. For the pins, I used 4d finish nails, kept the head, and cut off the rest so they are about a half inch long. They key part is I slightly bent each pin just after where they protrude through the holes. Because the holes are effectively deep, you have to push the bent portion through, which requires pushing with pliers or tapping with a hammer, and they dont want to come out on their own when there is no tension on the saw blade. They require pliers to pull them out. I should note, the pins are loose in the holes; its the bend that keeps them from wanting to fall out. When tension is applied, there is plenty of force to keep the pins from wiggling. There's no clamping mechanism; the gap from the hack saw is just slightly wider than the band saw blade I used.

    I hope that makes sense.


  6. #6
    Thanks Chris!
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Rural, West Central Minn
    Chris, did you have to anneal the bandsaw blade on the ends to drill the holes? Maybe you just spot annealed??

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Chet R Parks View Post
    Chris, did you have to anneal the bandsaw blade on the ends to drill the holes? Maybe you just spot annealed??
    I did not. I just snipped to length with some tin snips and drilled the holes with an egg-beater.

  9. #9
    Major props! I'd use a drill press.

    I ended up returning the Gramercy bow saw, since the handle didn't feel right.
    I'd have hand cramps just holding it.

    Instead, I bought two kits...I'll be carving my own handle.

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