Handle Shaping

Progress on the tenon saw.  I have the handle rough shaped now…less rough and more shaped.

I started off by making a pattern from the lower horn, then aligning it and tracing around it onto the top patch.

For the other patch I can just use the right side of the saw as my pattern of course…

I used a coping saw to remove the bulk of the waste.  So far, so good. (I shouldn’t have said that…)

I have a handful of rasps that I’ll be using.  These things are kind of unbelievably pricey, especially compared to the hardware store tools.  They are kind of unbelievably better too.  The two large ones (one coarse, one fine) I got a while ago from Stewart-MacDonald, who sells them for instrument building.  The three smaller ones came from Tools For Working Wood.  I ended up using primarily the large 10″ fine cut, the small cabinet rasp (2nd from the left) and the curved saw tote rasp.  That last one was handy, but you could do the whole job with just the one cabinet rasp.

At this point I was pretty confident, I was sure I could rasp the handle into shape.  On the second or third stroke I poped a chip out of the replacement wood.  There was a tiny knot in that part, but I didn’t really think about it being fragile.  I super-glued it back in place and continued on.  Well, I super glued it to my fingers first.  Then I glued it to the handle.  Always something.

My approach for shaping the patches was to first get the profile – the side view – in good shape.  Then I used the rasp to flatten the extra material from the two sides.  The horn still needs more curve underneath, but it’s close.

While I was working on the 2D views I drilled the hole through the patch.  I traced around the fastener to get the size for the recess and used a couple of small chisels to remove the waste.

I had to make the notch for the saw back.  I wasn’t really sure how to approach this.  I slipped the blade in and marked approximately where the notch needed to be.

It struck me that I could cut this with my dovetail saw, like the pins on a half blind dovetail.  So I did.  Then I chopped out the waste with a small chisel and pared the sides and bottom so that the blade would fit.  It wasn’t that hard, but I’d been worrying about it.  Whew!

Next I blended the horn into the handle.  This is sort of a gut-feel thing.  I rasped it until it was blended initially, then held the grip to see how it fit and looked at the shape to see if I liked it.  Then I removed more material, and checked it again.  I also rasped in the bevel on the sides of the notch for the saw back.  At this point the shape is at least 95% there.  I’ll refine it a little with the initial sanding.  All of this work took maybe an hour.  Less time than it took me to edit the pictures and post them here.

I’m still waiting on the finishing supplies I ordered, but I’m eager to get some finish on the handle.  The color match with the wood is terrible, so I’m not sure what the best approach (short of black paint) is.  I’m thinking I’ll stain it, maybe working in more stain on the patched areas.  Maybe bleach the original handle wood?  The grain isn’t a problem, but the color is distinctly different.

While I’m pondering finishing I’ll sand the handle and clean up/sharpen the saw plate.

I got this picture from Watson’s “Hand Tools” book, which has great illustrations.  I’m really growing to like that book.  At first it seemed like a repeat of information I already know, but it’s still useful.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Handle Shaping

  1. Seems like you’re making pretty good progress on this thing. I’ve found the shaping process to be a lot of fun, though it does tend to involve a fair amount of trial and error before you settle down on the tools and methods that you prefer to use.

    I’m a little curious as to why you didn’t just make an entirely new handle with so much of the original broken off. But hey, if it works, it works.

    I wouldn’t bother trying to match the color of the old handle, as it is not a piece of furniture.

    • My original plan was actually to make a new handle, but the idea of re-using as much of the original saw as I could caught my fancy. And it was fun, well except when that piece chipped off, but no big deal.

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