Build a Bowsaw
This classic tool still has a place in the shop
Synopsis: The engineering is ingenious on a bowsaw, and J. Crate Larkin explains in this article how to make and use this tool, which despite its primitive look serves many useful needs. He describes how to find, sharpen, and tension the blades and build your own wooden parts. A template is included in the article, as well as descriptions on building the brackets, stretcher, handle, knob, and key, and where to find a cord. Assembly directions are straightforward.
As a full-time woodworker, I have a lot of power-tool options in my shop. But there are occasions when it’s simply faster and easier to use a hand tool to get the job done. And one I reach for all the time is the bowsaw, a tool that’s been serving woodworkers for centuries. At first glance the saw might seem charmingly primitive. Yet the engineering is remarkably ingenious.