Frame saws

The frame saw.  Virtually every house in North America contained one of these prior to oil and gas heat.

The frame saw. Virtually every house in North America contained one of these prior to oil and gas heat.

Advertisement from 1913.

These saws are an excellent and handy way to cross-cut large logs quickly.  the design is over 2,500 years old solving the problem of keeping a stiff blade with a minimum amount of metal.  This style come in at about 4 1/2 pounds giving enough heft to aid in cutting.  Teeth cut both ways and the blades tend to be made from excellent steel.  Perfect for re-use if you can find one mouldering in the corner of a flea market.  I picked on up several years ago in “like new” condition and it has given great service ever since.  Limbs can be simply replaced if they become rotted or otherwise damaged.  These are the chainsaws of our forebears.

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More on the Dovetail Theme

dovetailGraham Haydon of the Joiner’s Workbench shows a fun experiment while showing off his new dovetail saw from Skelton Saws.  Graham joins a couple 1 x 6’s in three minutes and does a pretty good job of it.  This is what I imagine some apprentice doing back in the pre-industrial era when he’s showing off his newly mastered skills to the master or a shop rival.  There is no real point for the speed other than to demonstrate how little time and effort is really necessary to form a traditional wood joint.  This is definitely upping my interest in perfecting traditional joinery.

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Restoring a Disston D8 Thumb Hole Rip Saw

This is an excellent documentation for restoring an old saw. So many are out there just waiting for a bit of new life.

MVFlaim Furnituremaker

While scouring antique malls looking for tools, I ran across this nice rip saw stuck in the back corner of a booth. It’s a Disston D8 Thumb Hole saw and considering it’s age, it was in very nice condition. Even though it had some rust on the blade, I knew it would clean up just fine.

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The first thing I did was take the saw apart and dip the blade in a bath of water with food grade citric acid. I let it sit overnight allowing the acid to eat all the rust off the blade.

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While the blade cooked, I focused my attention on the handle. Using Soy-Gel paint stripper, I cleaned all the gook and grime off the apple wood handle using a steel wool pad.

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Here’s the handle wiped off after just a few minutes of paint stripper on it.

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In the morning, I took the blade…

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Dovetails

Interesting things are afoot…

Some aged fir being integrated into a new portable workbench.

Some aged fir being integrated into a new portable workbench.  No longer having a proper work bench, the table saw becomes the focus of the little shop.  Flat surface, sturdy place to clamp, it does the trick.  Yes, that is blood from a chisel nick. 

First dovetail on the saw bench.  A little experiment.

First dovetail on the saw bench. A little experiment in my free time.

Tools from the Last Century

I know I’ve been on a big kick of old gear and tools from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century lately but its good to see the range and availability of these essential items.  I find it interesting though, how poor the descriptions are and the arrangement of the catalog.  It’s like they just invented this whole idea…

1907Tools-1Above you can get an anvil, axe, and workbench on the same page as an Alpine climbing rope, Alpine belt, and a wrist sling (in case the Alpine rope breaks I presume).  I would really like the upper “foreign” work bench.

1907Tools-101Fretsaws, forges, and blacksmiths’ tools oh my.

1907Tools-102I know people who would give almost any left appendage for this nice selection of planes.

1907Tools-103The woodcutters’ frame saw isn’t even pictured (too common most likely) but I would be happy with a few others from this page.  In all the tools I’ve ever used or seen, I have never come across a “walking stick pruning saw.”  German invention, of course.

1907Tools-104I think I own that very same “saw set” as pictured above.  When I was given by my grandfather I was warned I’d probably do more harm than good if I didn’t know how to use it.  Of course, I was probably ten years old at the time.

1907Tools-frame sawAnd in the middle of the page, voila!  The very frame saw I plan to make this weekend, and hopefully make a good instruction set to give out or post.  Known as a turning saw, frame saw, or nowadays, a coping saw, this design goes back a couple thousand years.  Maybe this will be a nice class project for Rabbitstick this year.

Selections from the 1907 Catalog of the Army and Navy Co-operative Society Store, London.