Wrap Up on the Saw Till

Well she's done, and hanging, and dutifully and lovingly cradling my saws in her pine bosom, right next to her heartwood. . .  ahhemmm sorry about that.

So here we go with my follow up on the project. Today I rubbed the finish into the drawer, put the whole thing together, took some pictures and hung it on the wall. If you haven't seen the rest of this build you can find all the posts on the saw till build gathered under this link (CLICK HERE)
In the end I like to look back and try and figure out what I did and what I could do better. This piece is simple and straight forward there's not a whole lot for me to mess up but I am worried about one thing showing in the future. It's the back, I built it using 3" wide and 1/4" pine boards, all fit and cut individually to fit and numbered in order, but I did not edge glue these pieces together when installing them. I pre-finished them and ran a bead of hide glue along the surfaces they would come in contact with on the case, and I placed a finish nail at every level, so those boards will stay in place, they will not come out. But what I forsee them doing over time is drying out a bit and shrinking some and this will give show some small gaps between the boards over time. In the end this doesn't really bother me at all, this is a shop appliance, but if I were to build one of these for someone else I would probably take the extra step and either ship lap the boards or at the least edge glue them...
I think the drawer and the dovetails on this piece turned out excellent. I almost wish I had done some type of dovetailing for the cross piece that runs horizontal just above the drawer. I worry sometimes I get a little obsessed with cutting dovetails, but I enjoy doing that so much.
I really like how the saw till does it's job completely to my specs. All my saws have a home, there is room for future acquisitions, (I've started hinting about Bad Axe Tool Works and Christmas already) I really like that it holds my saw vise and gets it out of sitting in a cabinet or under my workbench. I was always a little paranoid about doing something to make it hit the floor of the shop and seeing the cast iron crack. Now my paranoia is put to rest. (At least in this case)

I experimented a bit with a new type of finish. This was actually the first time I did any mixing of finishes. Around the time I was starting this project I read an old article by Sam Maloof about shaping the arms of chairs. In it he also mentioned the three part finish he liked to use. So I started to do a little research into this specific finish and found several versions and recipes out there. I didn't follow one specific recipe from anyone I went to the store to find the most availible products that were in approximation to what Mr. Maloof mentioned. This is what I settled on.
Tung Oil, Wipe on Poly, and some good old Boiled Linseed Oil. I mixed equal parts of all three and I have to say I am a little hot and cold on my results but I have a theory. I relate it to the wood. The finish had a wonderful feel to it, very satiny and smooth, but with the pine it brought out the grain and made it pop but I wished I had done something to add some color to the wood. But, today when I pulled the can out to rub the finish on the drawer I used a small piece of white oak scrap to give the contents a little mix. After I applied the finish I was cleaning up and paid a little attention to the scrap and this finish really made the oak pop big time. The ray flecks in the piece almost looked 3D. I know I built this storage unit from cheap pine, but next time I'm using a real quality wood, I will really consider using this again.

There was one more "experiment" I used on this project. I recently made one of my two to three times a year pilgrimages to Madison and the closest woodcraft store. This trip I only had one specific item I wanted to pick up (though I treated myself to one other thing, but you'll hear more about that in the future.) A bottle of hide glue is what I had my yes on.
Yes I know Titebond liquid hide glue is not traditional hide melted in a pot, but it's a step in that direction and I have to say with all the dovetails in this project, the longer open time this glue offers was a welcome thing. I did all the gluing with this bottle and I have to say, in certain applications I am 100% sold. Dovetails and complicated glue ups, you betcha. In the future I will be using this for those applications for sure. I will still stick to my regular wood glue for more mundane things like edge glue ups and things like that. Very nice to add another thing to my arsenal of options.
So here it is attached to the shop wall, where it will live for a good while. Kind of ironically the best location to hang it in the shop is across the room from the workbench. . . . right where the table saw lives.
Hope these guys can get along together.




  1. Looks great. Just be sure you write my address clearly on the shipping label :)

  2. Hey if you want one of these I think it needs a local pick up and a hand shake my friend. ;)

  3. Just thinking, if you drilled a small hole on each side up at the top, you could make a curtain rod to put up over it on the off season for a little extra protection.

  4. Nice work, and good write up. I like the look of the whole ting.

    Quick question, as I'm going to be looking at building one of these this winter, why do you have the teeth of the saw pointing outwards? Was that a design decision?


  5. Badger,
    Sorry its taken a bit to respond, Yes having the teeth face outwards was a design choice for a couple reasons, I am not claiming they are great reasons but they make sense to me. One is that the way the geometry of the handles is with the teeth facing outwards I found I was able to stand them more upright in the case, thus I was able to make a cabinet that was shallower. Another is that I was not as comfortable as I could have been with the weight of the saw resting on a small section of the teeth. Maybe that doesn't seem like a big deal but I look at it this way, I'm in my mid 30's, I plan to use this saw till, probably for the rest of my life. That means these saws will sit in the till for another 30, 40, maybe 50 years, and that's if it doesn't get passed on to someone else and live on for a long time after me. I theorize that the saw teeth resting on the wood for a short time, or even intermediate, then no big deal. For the long time I'm talking about, well why put the weight and stress on the points of the blade. The last bigger reason I can think of is the fact that I used pine for the build, pine is a very resinous wood, Yes I finished it but the resin and sap never really dries up and goes away completely and they can cause both tarnish and eventually rust. Now rust or tarnish is much easier to clean and scrub off the back of the blade than in the teeth. I always rub down my saws with some saw wax after each use, so I'm not worried at all, but anyway.

    The only real reason I could think of to design with teeth facing in was so I wouldn't poke or scratch myself when I'm going for a saw. Well, I guess I'm not so worried about that, but if the till were hung in a more high traffic area, or where other people were in and out a lot then that would be more of a concern to me.

    So there's my thinking, not ground breaking but it lead to the till being set up like it is.



Post a Comment

Popular Posts