Monday, December 28, 2015

A Pair of Backsaws

I've just completed this matched pair of custom backsaws for my friend and custom furniture maker, Dan Westfall of Boone, Iowa. Check out Dan's website Westfall Woodcraft.

The smaller of the two saws (foreground) is a 12" carcass saw filed crosscut at 13 ppi. The larger saw (background) is a 16" tenon saw filed rip at 11 ppi. Both saws have a traditional folded brass back. The handles are cocobolo. Dan has been converting all his hand tool handles to cocobolo, so these saws will fit perfectly in his shop. I'm happy to see these saws go to a quality craftsman, especially one that I know will give them the care they deserve. Thanks Dan.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Wishes

Wishing all saw enthusiasts everywhere a merry and blessed Christmas. May your holidays be filled with peace, joy, and all the saws you desire.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Catching Up After A Busy Summer

It's been awhile since I made a post here. I spent most of June, July, August and September doing my summer job, helping fight forest fires throughout the western states. Since then I've been in catch up mode, trying to do everything that didn't get done at home during the summer. I'm finally back to work in my shop now, and my first task was completing a project I started last spring -- a new saw till.

This isn't your average run of the mill saw till, mind you. I wanted to make it big and I wanted to make it fancy. I have some nice saws that deserve a good home, and I also like expressing my artistic abilities in my woodworking projects. I'll be looking at this till for a long time, so I wanted it to be something I enjoy seeing. Based on the feedback I've received so far, I think it is a success. You can read the play by play story about this project here. I'll leave you with a couple pictures to pique your interest.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Some Updates

I've been on a tear of making table saws recently. I don't know why these little saws were traditionally called table saws, but they seem like they would be handy to keep on your bench for quick utility cuts. This first one has a pecan handle and was made for a client in Illinois.

These next two have figured walnut handles and were made for the two sets of matching saws that I'm slowly working on.

I've recently added a price schedule for new custom saws under the "Our Services" tab. Check it out if you haven't been there recently.

Finally, here's a cool saw that I recently restored. This is a J. Taylor & Son rip saw with cast brass side plate.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

British Backsaw Update #2

The saws in the British backsaw lot have sold like hotcakes, and we're  getting close to the end of the lot. There is one for sale on my "Saws For Sale" page (the Ericson) and three for sale on eBay, also linked on the for sale page. If you wanted one of these saws, now is the time to act. It's been a great adventure processing 38 saws within a month's time. I've enjoyed it, but it's also been a lot of work. I'd do it again if I ever get the chance.

Friday, February 20, 2015

File Handles

Files and rasps are essential tools of the saw maker. No handmade saw could be made without them. But a file or rasp is nearly useless without a serviceable handle. I have a lot of handles, and they come in many shapes and sizes. Two of my favorite and most interesting handles are in the center of the picture below. They are interesting because they represent extremes -- extremes of age, of design, and of intent.

The one on the left was my grandfather's. He simply made it out of a piece of a hickory sapling. It is a handle of expediency. He needed a handle at that moment, and the sapling was the closest thing at hand. I'm sure he never expected it to still be in use many decades later. The end is worn smooth as silk from the many years of contact with his hand, and now mine. It works very well, and it is a testament that even the simplest of tools can be effective in the right hands.

The handle on the right was given to me recently by my friend John. It's a new handle, hand turned by John on his lathe. It also has a silky smooth finish, showing the care that was put into this gift for a friend. The design is more typical of what you'd expect to see in a file handle, but the wood is unique. It is lilac wood. The white and brown contrasting grain is beautiful, and the wood is very hard. I expect this handle to be around for many decades too.

One old handle, plain and made  out of necessity; one new handle, fancy and made as a gift. Both functional and beautiful in their own way, and both prized by their owner. Each time I use them, I think of their makers.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

British Backsaw Lot Update

The lot of 38 British backsaws arrived on schedule several days ago. After looking the lot over carefully, I kept 11  saws for myself and put the rest up for sale. Ten more have been sold by private sale, and the remaining 18 are now listed on the "Saws For Sale" page of this website. Check it out to see if there's a saw just right for you. The saws will remain there for awhile, and then a few at a time will go on eBay.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Mucho Medallions

A medallion with the maker's logo is one of the more distinctive parts of a saw. Medallions are invaluable for identifying and dating old saws. You might be surprised at how many different saw medallions exist. I know I was when I began to catalog them. Check out the Saw Medallion Reference Guide for pictures of 240 different saw medallions from eight different countries.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Just Some Old Weathered Boards

You may have noticed that I use some old weathered boards for the background in most of my saw pictures. These aren't just any old boards though. These boards are wormy American chestnut, and they came from my maternal grandparent's house in Meadow Bridge, West Virginia. The house was on piers, and these boards served as part of the skirting to keep the cold winds from blowing under the house. As a small child, I watched my Dad pull these boards off the house in the 1950's. He was a wood hoarder extraordinaire, and he kept the boards tucked away in his shop down through the years. The boards became mine upon his death 19 years ago.

My grandparents at their home in Meadow Bridge
My maternal grandfather was a lumberman, working at sawmills his whole life. Meadow River Lumber Company, at one time the largest hardwood lumber mill in the world, was not far from his home in Meadow Bridge. So using these old boards in my pictures has special meaning for me. It may sound silly, but I somehow feel it involves my grandparents and my Dad in my work. I'm sure it would make them happy.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Why I Do This

Why I Do This

I like simplicity. Saws are simple tools.
I like working with my hands. Saws are hand tools.
I like being creative. Saws offer opportunities for artistic creativity.
I like refining my skills. Saw making requires a lot of skill.
I like variety. Saws come in endless variety.
I like making things. I can make new saws.
I like old things. I can restore vintage saws.
I like history. Saws have a fascinating history.
I like making money. Um...maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.

Monday, January 26, 2015

New Gent's Saws

I've just completed a pair of 8" gents saws. These saws represent a milestone in that they are the first saws I've made with my own etch! Check the "New Saws" tab for additional information.

British Saw Lot Purchase

I recently purchased a lot of 34 backsaws, 2 compass saws, and 2 small handsaws in the UK. The saws range from 19th century to mid-20th century, and most of the backsaws have brass backs. Many of these saws will be for sale soon. Check the "For Sale" tab often to monitor progress.