Most American woodworkers struggle with bowsaws. Now before you think that bowsaws are tools for beret-wearing, Gitano-smoking woodworkers who eat espresso and croissants when on a break, think again.
Michael Dunbar at The Windsor Institute has used bowsaws for many years while making Windsor chairs and teaching thousands of others how to do it. I’m taking a sack-back class this week with Dunbar (plus my father and my friend John Hoffman). The class starts on Monday, but today Dunbar and I spent a few hours taking some photographs for three upcoming articles in Popular Woodworking Magazine.
One of the articles is all about bowsaws. And Dunbar contends that one of the reasons Americans struggle with the tool is because we’re just doing it all wrong.
To help augment the article, I shot this short video, which covers just a small part of his article. And because the video is ready, and I am sitting near the beach and feeling magnanimous (no, I haven’t had a beer yet), I decided to upload this video now. I think it might prompt a healthy discussion. Take a look.
Tonight, I’m headed to the Portsmouth Brewery for dinner. Then a stroll down the boardwalk to smell the fried dough. I better not eat any , I didn’t bring any Lipitor.
– Christopher Schwarz
Other Sawing Resources I Recommend
– Vintage Saws, Pete Taran’s site on Western handsaws (vintagesaws.com)
– Bugbear’s plans for a bowsaw
– WoodJoy Tools, which makes bowsaws that Dunbar likes (woodjoytools.com)
– “Hand Tool Essentials” from Popular Woodworking