Monday, January 18, 2010

We can rebuild it . . . we have the technology!

I have began the process of rebuilding the hand saws in my shop, replacing the crap plastic handles with wooden ones. The process did not begin so smoothly though, it started with a few fits and at least one loud outburst of cursing. The only good size power tool I retained when moving into the new shop was my bench top bandsaw. I had my wider 1/2 inch blade in there for re-sawing some pine for a few Christmas projects, and I wanted to change it to the 1/8 inch blade to do the tight corner cutting the handle templates required. Today the bandsaw and I just could not get along, getting the blade aligned on the tires and tensioned...well it only lead to the swearing I alluded to earlier. After a breath, I rethought my process; really my recent reasoning has been to try and do more hand tool work, but as long as I let it, the bandsaw was going to let me continue the power tool habits I've developed. I pushed the saw to the back corner of the bench top and reached for the coping saw.

I started by tracing the patterns onto the poplar board. Why poplar??? Because it is the only hard wood board of enough width in the shop... so use what you've got I guess. We'll see how it holds up and if it fails then we'll consider this a test run. You can see from the changing pencil lines in the pic that I took the original templates and modified them a bit to fit the size of my meat hook hands. I chopped off the larger blank chunks in the board with the backsaw, split between the two handle blanks with the coping saw and then systematically went to work working the shapes from the blanks. One based on an open handle Lie Nielsen dovetail saw and a the other based on a early 1900's Henry Disston & Sons "D" handle tenon saw. Thank god for the internet that helped me find several usable templates

To cut out the opening in the "D" handle, I clamped the piece to the bench and pulled out the brace and bits to keep with the hand tool mojo. The you disassemble the coping saw, string the blade through the drilled hole and reassemble the saw. That was it for the evening. I decided to stop there with the blanks and continue to work on the shaping and setting tomorrow.

In the end the bandsaw did turn out to be some help. It worked great to set both pieces on to catch the final pic.

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