Shop made 12″ bow saw


As you probably know by now, I am in the process of building a working set of frame/bow saws. For the small bow saw I decided on Witpeer (Apodytes dimidiata) to compliment the quality hardware from Gramercy tools. I also decided to use their design, as their reasoning for how they came up with their design made perfect sense, given all the other reading I did on the topic. This is a link to their plans. I found this discussion very helpful in terms of understanding the important design aspects.

In the picture below you can see how my new bench light made it much easier than before to chop the two tiny mortises in the cheeks after removing the bulk of the material by drilling.


The rough shaping was done on the bandsaw.


Just a quick reminder of what the hardware looks like.


The rest of the shaping provided me with an ideal opportunity to use my new spokeshaves from Veritas. We were in Johannesburg over the Easter Weekend, which meant that I could do some shopping at the Hardware Centre in Randburg. They usually have bits and pieces of Veritas tools lying around.


Sawing the tenons of the stretcher.



Shaping the stretcher.


First fit.


I then turned the handles and epoxied the brass pins into position.


Fitting the handles.


A picture to show what my bench looked like while building the first two bow saws.



For the spindle I found a Tamboti (Spirostachys africana) off-cut. This is as far as I am concerned one of the most precious African woods. If you want to know a bit more about Tamboti, use this link.


It is very difficult to turn small pieces like this in my lathe. Therefore I decided to used the method illustrated below to turn the Tamboti spindle.


I flattened two sides of the lower section with a block plane.


The first assembly prior to finishing …



… which was followed by a Tung oil treatment. You can also see some of the parts of my monster Roubo-esque crosscut bow saw these pictures. I will write a separate post on that project, which should be publish later this week.


There you go … one 12″ Witpeer bow saw completed.


I recently bought an old number/letter punch set and tried it out for the first time on this saw.


The Roubo Beast Master (to steel a term from Mark ‘Bad Axe’ Harrell) crosscut bow saw is also finished.

PS – Thank you to my friend Jonathan White (The Bench Blog) who taught me how to insert links.


4 thoughts on “Shop made 12″ bow saw”

  1. Well done Gerhard! That is a beautiful job. I really like the lines of the saw, it is rather elegant.

    Also, I’m loving the new links on your page. For those of us woodworking in the US and in England, almost all of the wood you use is “exotic” hardwood that we could never hope to find at the wood yard. Having a link to click on when you are referencing the different species that you are using is great.

    What made you go with the tung oil instead of your often used ballistol? Just curious?


    1. Jonathan, thank you for your comments. I can only buy the Ballistol in small quantities at the hunting shop here in Namibia. Therefore I use it mainly as an antirust treatment on the metal parts of my tools these days. I managed to buy a 5 liter “sample” of Tung oil (from a company that deals with 50 liter containers and bigger) for next to nothing. It has since become my oil treatment of choice on wood. As always it is a question of what you can find rather than what you would like here in the sticks. Thanks again for the tutorial on how to insert links.

    1. Hi Brian, thanks for the compliment, it is appreciated. With regards to the blue and yellow string, it is actually fishing braid, which is something that Gramercy tools recommend as an options. What is special about this particular piece of braid is that it has spent quite a bit of time in the Okavango River wrestling with Tiger Fish in it’s previous life. I quote from my reply to Jonathan above: “As always it is a question of what you can find rather than what you would like here in the sticks”. Thanks again for your comment.

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