Curvy Bow Saw (with a story)

Earlier this month I taught a Moravian workbench class at Roy Underhill’s Woodwright’s School in Pittsboro NC. Unique things tend to be attracted to Roy, this trip an interesting find had shown up once again. A box of tools and a day book/diary belonging to a joiner working in Lexington Virginia dating from just after the Civil War.

Included with the tools was a shapely hand made bow saw, Roy was kind enough to let me make patterns to reproduce it.

IMG_8173 (2)The saw frame is made with walnut end bars, white pine stretcher and turned hickory handles.IMG_8210The ends are have chamfers on the inside and outside edges that flow perfectly top to bottom.IMG_8206 (2)My favorite detail is how the chamfer is cut in just above the bolster for the handle.IMG_8201 (2)A single hole was bored in the center of the stretcher mortise, the waste was then chopped out from either side.


IMG_8256 (2) My copy, made from the same woods as the original.IMG_8263 (2)I will try to get someone to convert the original saw pattern to a CAD or Sketch Up drawing and so it can be available to everyone here.

A couple of pages from the W.H. Cummings diary. He did work for some well known clientele.

The tools, including the saw above, belonged to W. H. Cummings. He was a  joiner working in the late 1860’s. More to come, stay tuned!

-Will Myers


5 thoughts on “Curvy Bow Saw (with a story)

  1. Thanks for sharing that Will. That is a fine looking old saw and reproduction. The curves are very elegant.
    A scale drawing for your blog followerswould be great, as I have been wanting to build a bowsaw.
    Mike O’Brien


  2. This is Tom from the Moravian class. That was a quick turnaround to make the frame saw! It looks great! Where did you get the blade? Did you make it? I guess the hickory handle is strong enough to support the blade which appears to be pinned.


    1. Hi Tom,
      The blade is made from a band saw blade with new teeth filed in it. Yes, so far the hickory is holding up well.


  3. Very nice Will. Would love to see the mock up sketch. Looks straight-forward.

    Alexandria, VA


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