Once the “H” frame parts were ready the time came for some ergonomics and design. My handle is quite simple, it includes a few curves that can be cut with a band saw or a coping saw, or chopped out with a chisel.
I decided to use a chisel because I wanted to emulate what my students would be doing once they start the project. I believe that a chisel would give them more control than a coping saw. To help in preventing unintentional over-chopping, perhaps even splitting the arms, I cut a few relief kerfs every inch or so.
After I finished chiseling I used a rasp and a file to fine tune the design, then I cut the kerfs for the hacksaw blade. I used a rip saw first and then I enlarged the kerf with the hacksaw blade itself.
After driving holes for the saw’s pins (in our case we used screws) and cutting the twine tensioning key, the saw was ready. I showed my students the saw with one arm in the “raw” while the other arm was completed to help them visualize the project’s progression.
About the blade: The saw blade that I installed in my prototype is a Nicholson hacksaw 12” blade, 18TPI. It is inexpensive and thin, which is an advantage when sawing wood.
I wish one of the saw manufacturers would have offered a 12” blade with Japanese teeth, or even just a Western pattern; this would enable the owners of hacksaws to comfortably saw wood and would also provide my students with a pretty good blade, making this saw project a winner among beginners and seasoned woodworkers alike.
Later this spring I promise to show a few of my student’s saws, which they are currently working on.