Fitting the Handle to the Saw Blade and Back Installation Instructions - Part II

Posted by Robert Streeper on

Figure 21. Work down as far as you can.

 2.21 The finished cuts should look something like Figure 22.

Figure 22. Mortise side cuts complete.

 2.22 Using a mortise chisel cut the wood fibers on both sides and the back of he slot at the back toward the step to reduce the chances of splitting. (Figures 23 and 24)

Figure 23. Cut wood fibers on the sides near the step.

 Figure 23a. Cut the wood fibers on the back boundary of the mortise.

 2.23 Using a mortise chisel narrower than the waste wood to be removed begin cutting parallel to the top of the handle and break away successive layers of wood. (Figures 24 and 25)

Figure 24. Begin removing wood from the mortise.

 Figure 25. Break away successive layers of wood.

 2.24 Remove the partially split away layers of wood by using the chisel from the top down, carefully

Figure 26. Now cut from the top down.

 2.25 Work progressively toward the inside bottom corner of the mortise until the slot is squared out. (Figure 27)

Figure 27. Mortise roughed out.

 2.26 Use a paring chisel for the next steps to trim away the uneven surfaces of the sides of the mortise (Figures 28 – 30)

Figure 28. Paring chisel.

 Figure 29. Straighten the sides of the mortise.

 Figure 30. Trim from the top too.

 2.27 When you have removed the majority of the excess wood from the mortise switch to floats or files to continue fitting. Plane makers floats work far better than do files for this procedure but nonetheless files will work if you’re patient. Pictured are (l to r) edge, bed and side floats. (Figure 31)

Figure 31. Plane makers floats.

 2.28 Work with the floats by carefully removing a little wood from the sides of the mortise and testing the fit of the blade/back assembly. When you can the corner or bottom edge of the back to fit into the mortise stop and go to 2.29. (Figure 32)

Figure 32. Just wide enough to admit the end of the back.

 2.29. Use a carpenters pencil to rub graphite on both sides of the back in the region that will be seated into the mortise. (Figure 33)

Figure 33. Rub both sides of the back with graphite from a carpenters pencil.

 2.30 Gently insert the blade/back assembly into the mortise and move it around slightly. Do not use much force as breaking out the cheeks of the handle is a distinct possibility at this point! (Figure 34)

Figure 34. Gently push the back into the mortise.

 2.31 Remove the blade/back assembly from the mortise. High spots will be highlighted by transferred graphite. (Figure 35)

Figure 35. High spots marked with graphite.

 2.32 Use the side float to remove just the black marks. (Figures 36 -38) Repeat this process multiple times to gradually remove all of the high spots from the insides of the mortise. Don’t forget to refresh the graphite on the back between each test!

Figure 36. Take down the high spots with the side float.

Figure 37. High spot removed.

Figure 38. Almost there.

 2.33 Work to progressively fit the back to the handle. Check fit frequently and ensure the bottom back corner is free of shavings which will prevent the back from seating. Your finished fit up should look something like Figures 39 and 40.

Figure 39. Done!

 2.34 At this point it’s time to begin shaping the handle, fitting the screws and applying finishes. Ultimately you should end up with a very nice saw such as the one pictured in Figure 40.

Figure 40. Handle fitted to blade and back.

Figure 41. Finished saw.

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