A bow saw belongs to the family of frame saws, but differs from the other saws of the type in that it has a relatively narrow blade that allows for cutting curves. In the European tradition, one mostly finds relatively large saws, with blades of from 600 mm to 800 mm long, in the Anglo-Saxon tradition, the frame saws were almost invariably smaller, with blades of about 305 mm (12 inches).
In Continental Europe, almost all of the general woodworking cuts in cabinet making and carpentry were made with frame saws. To work efficiently, then, one needed a relatively long saw. For the same cuts in the Anglo-Saxon world, they would almost invariably use backsaws or panel saws. So as in other saws, the Continental European bow saws were as large as their relatives used for straight cuts, and so were really only useful for making curved cuts with a relatively large radius. Traditional European bow saw blades are about 10 mm wide.
This demonstrates the advantage of these small bow saws: their short length allows a narrower blade, with widths from 2.5 mm to 3 mm and so they can easily cut curves with far smaller radii. Naturally, you can also use these saws for straight cuts. They are especially often used for tasks such as removing the waste from dovetails and similar types of joints.
As with many hand saws, the quality of these small English bow saws had sadly diminished, especially in the period after about 1945, and the range of different saws available was also reduced to the point where one had very little choice. In addition, the saw blades available were very bad, being essentially adapted from band saw blades and so with far too few teeth per inch. The Gramercy Tools Bowsaw represents a radical return to the traditional, uncompromising quality our ancestors knew. These saws are obviously, from the first glance, show very high quality in all their parts - from the wood frame supporting the saw blade to the nicely made brass fitting to hand the blades. The saw blades from Gramercy Tools are fitted with cross pins like coping saws and so can be quickly and easily changed out. They come in patterns from 10 to 24 TPI (2.5 to 1.1 mm) so fine that one can achieve unbelievably clean curved cuts for a minimum of work before finishing. The frame, in hickory, a North American hardwood famed for it’s strength and toughness, is light and elastic, so that these saws have an excellent hand feel. A wonderful tool that just buzzes through the most demanding projects.
Frame saws are perfectly adapted to build-it-yourself projects. For everyone who would like to build one of these beautiful saws, we offer saw blades and the brass pins for attaching the blades. Tips for building your own saw you will find here on the Gramercy Tools website. A Drawing (imperial measurements) you find here.