This is the seventh 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.
Lamb’s tongue & chamfer
When I began really looking at saw handles, I noticed a wide variation in how the transition between the chamfer and the beak or cove was made. Some were elegant, some were clumsy, and some were nonexistent.
When I began making my own saws, I wanted to incorporate a detail that was both original and unique, and that could be used on any saw I made in the future. The flourish that I kept coming back to was a lamb’s tongue.
I love a good lamb’s tongue detail, using it wherever I can work it into a project, and so it seemed like a natural fit. After a bit of sketching and some work with a rasp and chisel, I settled on the transition that I now use.
Laying out the chamfers and lamb’s tongues is the first step. When that is done, I begin working on the chamfer by flattening and smoothing the top of the handle. I switch between using a Vixen file and a chisel, depending on the wood. In general, the harder the wood, the better the file works on it.
The final layout is to mark the edge of the chamfer on the top of the handle. I waste the bulk of the chamfer with a Vixen file, then may clean it up with a chisel to end up with a nicely faceted chamfer. As I work, I check from various angles to verify that all of the facets are symmetric and of a consistent width.
The final step is to carve the lamb’s tongue, which is actually done with the handle maker’s rasp from Tools for Working Wood. No secrets here – it’s just a matter of taking my time and working carefully with a steady hand.
With this detail completed, shaping of the handle is completed. All that remains is to sand it (lots of that ahead), drill for the saw nuts and bolts, and then finish it.