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.


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