Monday, 29 August 2016

And Who, Exactly, Is Going To Clean Up That Mess...

So this is where I stand with this saw handle this morning...

What a blast doing this project. I love it!

I never really thought one rasp could be much better than another, given the job they were designed to do. All you want it to do is remove material, how complicated is that? Well I guess it is more complicated than I realized because I have never seen a rasp remove as much material as quickly as this Auriou does, and it isn’t even the coarsest grain. If you aren’t up on them, here is a link to Lee Valley’s listing...Auriou Rasps.

I already had a drawer full of rasps before buying this Auriou, but I was never happy with them. They range in age and manufacturer, some originally purchased by my old man, years and years ago. The ones I had purchased were spread over the price spectrum, a result of searching out a decent product. None, neither the ones my dad owned, or the ones I purchased were worth a Tinker’s-dam, in my opinion.

Over the past couple of years I have signed on for some online cabinet maker’s courses, a notable one being the courses offered by Paul Sellers at That was a fabulous source of information and direction. While he doesn’t have the same type of instructional set-up on the web as Paul does, Christopher Tribe at has also been helpful, especially through his instructional videos on YouTube. Both of these gentlemen highly praised the Auriou rasps so I thought I would give one a go. It just took me a couple of years for the need to arise, along with the bullet needed for biting when I finally ordered it. 

I will be ordering a couple more at the end of next month. Hopefully, they won’t increase in price before then.

I went at the handle with the rasp and 80 grit sandpaper because I was anxious to see how the design would look and feel. I love the look and the fit is great, the extra ½” I added to the length of the grip being a huge help to the handle’s comfort. The long horns are friggin’ amazing looking as well. I had to force myself to stop because the next step is where the rubber meets the road, and if they don’t connect, it firewood. I’m talking about drilling out for the screw studs...scares the bejeebers out of me.



Sunday, 28 August 2016

And He’s Off And Running...

I got started on the dovetail saw handle, going through the usual steps for creating such things.

I printed off a copy of the “final, final” handle outline, the exact same image that was in my last post, then flipped the image and printed a mirror outline. I glued one of those print-offs to a hunk of Bastogne, a highly figured species of Walnut, this particular piece having some beautiful rays crossing its strong grain.

Using Forstner bits of appropriate sizes, I start to remove the waste and create the different curves in the design...

I used the holes to align the ‘flipped’ image on the opposite side and then I went at it with a scroll saw (electric because I’m getting lazy in my old age). I left some material around the outside of the cut line so if the saw cut was out of square, a notorious reality with these types of saws, I would have enough extra material to file it square without removing any from inside the cut line.

In this image, I have laid the old handle on top of the new to show how much larger the new handle is, the difference in their hang angles, and the overall shape of the two...

This last image shows the pair of saws, one with its old handle and one with its new...

At this point the work was stalled until my new Auriou rasp showed up in the mail from Lee Valley. When I went online to order it, I discovered a scary reality. The price had increased about 40% since the spring of this year, so I won’t wait long before I order more...

That’s it until next time,



Monday, 22 August 2016

The Final, Final Handle Design for my Jackson Dovetail Saws...

Yesterday I posted the “Final” saw handle design and today I’m posting the “Final, Final” design. 

This change is brought to you by Kenny Melnzinger, a very kind gentleman who happens to sell his “tuned” handsaws at the Tools of the Trades Show and Sale in Pickering, Ontario. He will be there again at the 2016 Fall show on October 2nd. Check the show ad to the right of this article.

So Kenny says to me, “Go read the article on Hang Angles on the Blackburn Tools website and get back to me.” 

I went. I read. I changed the damn drawing.

In truth, the Blackburn article discusses exactly the problem I was talking about regarding my combined elevated work bench and my butt being built too close to the floor. The whole idea of the Hang Angle is to keep your wrist from cocking up or down during the cut. I chickened out, though. I had tried a few different things with the set-ups I have and I felt the hang angle of these saws had to be brought down a fair bit, but with everyone saying, “Be careful”, especially Kenny, I decided that instead of reducing the hang angle on these saws by 8°, I’ll play it safe and drop them by only 2° instead. Hey, I never told any of you I was gutsy.

So here is the final, final version (it has to be - I’ve printed it off, stuck it to the wood and I have already started drilling)...

If you compare it with the one shown in the previous post, you can see things are about the same, size-wise, but the hang angle on this version is more pronounced and the horns a little longer. I like horns, what can I say?

I’ll post photos of the progress.



Sunday, 21 August 2016

Final Handle Design - Unless Told Otherwise...

You guys were a lot of help with this saw handle exercise. The consensus of opinion was that there needed to be more meat on the bone so I beefed up the parts that needed beefing. As a few of you said, I can always scrap away if needed, but I can’t add to it.

The one thing that wasn’t discussed by anyone was the “Hang Angle”, the angle of the grip relevant to the saw plate. These plates are roughly 3½” deep at both the toe and heel, so they aren’t really textbook dovetail saws. The original handles have a hang angle of 38°, which I found a little awkward when cutting dovetails on a hunk of wood held in my portable vise as it raises the work level by 6” or so above bench level. I think that dropping the angle to 30° will make the saws more comfortable to work with at the higher position. If any of you disagree with that, please let me know.

So here is the “beefier” final design - maybe...



Friday, 19 August 2016

I’ve Got To Get A Handle On These Saws...

Back in 2007 I purchased a nice, little 12” Jackson dovetail saw from Daryl Weir. He had straightened it, sharpened it, made it look pretty, or as pretty as a Jackson dovetail saw made by Disston in about 1888 could be, and posted it on eBay to sell. It was a nice, little dovetail saw that was filed as a rip. The saw plate was a tad thick, but I was happy with it, so off I went to find it a mate, one that could be filed cross. Fast foreword two years and I found an identical Jackson, a little rough around the edges, but repairable. I had the seller send it to Daryl, who did his magic on it so by the time it got into my hands, it was as good a saw as its partner. I was such a proud papa.

I had the pair for about six months when my father-in-law, who was living with us at the time, came into my office/workshop for a visit and to see what I was doing. I was cutting dovetails for the plant shelving unit I was building my wife at the time and the pair of saws were sitting out on what I was using at the time as a bench. I don’t know what he did, but I heard a crash and turned around to see the two saws on the floor with both handles broken in half. It was an accident and I was just relieved he hadn't hurt himself. I glued the pieces together so the saws would be usable and started a new search for two whole handles. I’m still looking for those replacements.

I finally made up my mind that I had to do something with these two saws to make them whole again, so I decided to make new handles for them in two different woods. I decided one would be in apple but what to use for the other is still up in the air. It took a while to find some that was suitable, but I finally did on a Facebook group page set up for nothing else but to sell wood. I purchased a piece 4’ long, 8” wide and 1¼” thick from a gentleman in the States who ended up sending me 6’ of it for the price of 4’. I also purchased a new 9”, Grain-10 Auriou Cabinetmaker’s rasp so now I am all set to rock...almost.

I’m still fussing over the design. I ended up producing about 8 different possibilities, some normal looking and some not so much. I have now weeded it down to these two possibles...

This is the original Jackson handle
This design has some mildly extended horns

This design has some seriously exaggerated horns

So does anyone out there have an opinion on these? or advice on where to take it?