Tuesday, 13 May 2008

The picture sums it up!

A package from Mike Wenzloff arrived late in the day yesterday. I knew this one was coming, and it was all I could do to keep myself from tearing into it. But I waited - because there were two items for Riley as well, and I figured he would want to open it. Inside were two pairs of small saws - a rip and a crosscut. Riley's pair are quite small - but fit his small hands very well. At his request - his first project is going to be to learn to cut dovetails.

The other pair of saws were quite specifically designed. Some time ago, I asked Mike if he would be able to make a dovetail sized saw to be used specifically for cutting exotic woods. He was quite sure he could - so we moved on to the rest of the details. Ebony handles were decided on fairly early in the process, thanks to a good friend (thanks again Dan). Mike sent me several photos of different handle designs to choose from. We settled on a modified Patterson handle - and I have to say - I cannot imagine anything more comfortable. It feels as though I shaped it myself. The blade is 8" long and has 2" of usable depth.

Riley and I called Mike to let him know they arrived safe and sound and to thank him for doing such a wonderful job. He asked if I had tried them out yet and I explained that I hadn't - but the first use would be to cut the slot for an adjuster on an A2 jointer. The long silence was finally broken with “Oh geeze - now I am nervous!”

As I suspected - the rip saw worked perfectly and cut a beautiful clean kerf in the Rosewood handle. So thanks again Mike for two wonderful pairs of purpose built saws.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incredible! Those ebony handles are just staggeringly beautiful--because of the ebony and because of Mike's eye to shaping the wood. Toolmakers who are woodworkers first can do things like that, giving the wood an organic look rather than a machined look.

This may--no, will--be a life-changing event for Riley also!

A wonderful day, indeed!!


13 May 2008 at 12:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What handsome saws! Thanks for sharing, and use them in good health!

13 May 2008 at 13:55  
Blogger jyatulis said...

Those are beautiful saws. The ebony is great. Can you give us details on the plate, tpi, set etc.? I am curious as to what makes it a better exotic wood saw. I counted 15 tpi in the photo- guessing from your length info, am I close? The medallions are a nice touch on the Wenzloff saws. Classic!
Riley is one lucky boy!

cheers, Jay

13 May 2008 at 22:59  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Wiley,

The handles are about as perfect as they can be. Organic is a perfect way to describe it.

One thing I forgot to mention was Mike even took the time to reverse the saw nuts to be oriented for a left handed user. A really thoughtful touch.

Riley is very proud of his saws. I half expect them to make a trip to show-and-tell at school one day soon.

Best wishes,

14 May 2008 at 06:51  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Jay,

I will get back with the specs.


14 May 2008 at 06:53  
Anonymous Mike said...

My thanks for the kind words from everyone. Seeing the photos of Riley have made my year.

Hi Jay,

Good eyes (and good photos). Yep, the rip (and CC) is 15 ppi. There really isn't a great answer to the question. Not a "by the numbers" answer anyway.

The process of determining what the filing would end up at began with both the concept and the beginning rake number, which in this case was between 2-4 degrees (that's about as accurate as I can tell).

Sawing hard woods requires a couple ideas as compared to softer woods. Especially at 15 ppi and if the saw is also going to be used ultimately on a wide variety of wood hardness. Difficulty in sawing really hard woods lies mostly in starting the cut. This takes a variety of things to ensure an easier go at it. One is experience. Another is commitment to the cut (regardless of experience). The third (and easy part) is simply the filing on the saw.

I wanted the saw to remain aggressive towards the handle for the main part of the act of sawing--the action following getting the kerf established. So I added a bit of fleam angle beginning at the toe and progressing to zero fleam in a couple inches. A by-product of adding fleam is a slightly relaxed rake at the toe.

I did so over a couple light filings, testing on some African Blackwood, one of the most difficult woods to hand saw. Still, it takes a rather light touch both starting the kerf and sawing to depth. This made it a fairly easy yet still slightly aggressive saw for anything less hard as AB.

And a light set. I don't know what Mr. K's saw ended up with. It was initially set at about 3 thou per side and probably lessened a touch both in the filings and a light stoning.

The cross cut I believe is about 20 degrees of rake, 30 degrees of fleam. It should provide fairly easy sawing of hard woods, decent speed and a clean cut (at least if I did my job correctly).

Well, back to work.

My thanks to all concerned with the making of these saws. But my thanks especially go to Riley for his appreciation. Making Riley's saws was in some ways a greater honor for me than Mr. K's.

Take care, Mike

14 May 2008 at 08:47  
Blogger jyatulis said...

Thanks very much for the detailed explanation of the saws Mike. I actually went back to the "books" to fully understand what you were talking about. It sounds like the rip saw evolved as you were creating it. Lots to take into account for a purpose made tool. Fascinating. I have been eyeing the large tenon saw at LV. I hope to get one soon.
Konrad, Thanks for bringing yet another fine tool maker into your blog.

cheers, Jay

14 May 2008 at 19:39  
Blogger Pedder said...

the skills and the knowledge behind these saws are awe-inspiring

16 May 2008 at 13:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two stunning pairs of saws - and so nice to see Riley's obvious excitement.


Paul Chapman

17 May 2008 at 09:41  
Blogger Philly said...

Wonderful work, Mike!
You and Riley must be pretty happy with your saws, K?
Best regards

17 May 2008 at 16:47  

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