The Back Saw Project
This is a project I’ve been contemplating for a long time, and finally was pushed over theedge when someone told me that it wasn’t feasible for a home shop. “It requires amachine shop to be able to pull it off, and a sharpening service to cut the teeth...” Ithought to myself, no way -I’ve done teeth without any fancy machine, and the old timesaw makers of the 1800’s surely didn’t have all access to a machine shop, much less amodern one. I had to prove to myself that I could do it, and am thrilled that I can tell youhere that I was successful - and that if you want to make your own back saw, I will be thelast one to say you can’t.I’ve arranged this writing of the steps of making a backsaw into different “chapters” andcreated an index that would make it easier for those who want to skip over certain parts -or to come back for information on a certain portion of the process. These “chapters” canbe accessed either from the main backsaw index, or from the index you see at the left. If you don’t see one, try starting over fromhereand see if that gets you straightened out - orit may be that your browser doesn’t support frames.However - if you are looking for a set of “plans” to build a saw off of - you aren’t goingto find it. I will try to provide all the information I’ve gathered and provide some basicpatterns that are free to use. The real fun in this project for me was as much in devisingthe method or procedure I wanted to attempt as it was in executing that method, and Iencourage the reader, if you are inclined to make your own back saw, to research what itis you want to accomplish rather than pull it off of a set of cookie cutter plans.
I’ve always wanted an open-handled back saw, but have been too cheap to buy one forwhat they are worth, and didn’t want one that was all beat to death, either. I made up mymind to give making one a try - but didn’t want to commit myself until I knew for surethat I could do it. I started researching it on the web, but found woefully little in the wayof helpful information. I did find some early email conversations between modern sawmakers on the oldtools discussion forum archive from early in their saw-making efforts -but all of them inserted their blades into a solid chunk of brass that they had milled a slotinto using a milling machine (something I will never likely have).I wanted to make a saw like the old-timers did (before such milling machines). Old sawmakers formed their backsaws by bending brass or steel over a blade rather than bymilling a slot and inserting the blade into that. I did find a few who had made their ownbacksaws by bending brass, including one who used all found materials - i.e. used a grainshovel for the blade steel (simply too cool) and it inspired me to give it a shot.A prototype was in order - so I made myself a makeshift small metal bending brake outof some angle iron, found myself a suitable piece of brass (a door kick plate), and