Bowsaw Basics | Popular Woodworking

Bowsaw Basics2022-12-05Popular Woodworking//

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An old friend. When my father came to the United States for a visit, I was reintroduced to a saw that once was my “go to” saw in woodworking. My bowsaw quickly reclaimed that exalted status.

An ancient European tool that still has a place in the modern American shop.

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the November 2008 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Why should you own a bowsaw? Why not? You have many other tools that you use only when you need them. Seriously, if you make 18th-century-style furniture, or you make furniture with hand tools, you should own a couple of bowsaws.

In my shop, which has all the machines you can imagine, I use bowsaws. If I cut dovetails in material thicker than 12“, I reach for my bowsaw. I keep my material behind my shop in a pole barn. If I have to crosscut a board for one piece, the fastest way is with a bowsaw. I put the board on a couple horses, cut it, put the leftover back on the rack and take the piece in the shop.

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