This is the second entry in a nineteen part series that covers the construction of one of my saws from start to finish. For links to the other entries, please see the full chronological index. -Ed.
Laying out and cutting the blank
After selecting a board for a handle, the fun begins. I should note that I use the word board loosely, as many of the pieces I use are small pieces that are little larger than the finished handle. That’s one of the nice things about making saw handles – even small pieces of wood have a chance to be used.
After surfacing and thicknessing the wood to the correct thickness (the thickness increases with the size), one of my favorite parts of sawmaking begins. Armed with a selection of paper templates, I begin laying them out. The one constraint in doing this is grain orientation, which is fixed. Beyond that, I seek to maximize figure and yield. When I am happy with the layout, I glue the paper templates to the wood with glue stick. Other glues may work, but glue stick works well for me. It holds well, but releases fairly easily.
Once the templates are glued onto the wood, it’s off to the drill press. My templates have centers marked to drill holes for the inside curves, but I seldom use them all. I do use them on the inside portion of closed handles and on the beak on the top of the handle. That area is difficult to sand, and a Forstner bit leaves a smoother curve and better finish that the scroll saw.
After drilling any holes, I cut the handle out on my old 24″ Delta scroll saw. It is in desperate need of a good cleaning, but for now it just plugs along without any complaints.
That’s where my pictures leave off, so that’s all for this post. Next time, I will cover slotting the handle for the saw.