Razor Saw

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About: I am a Graphic Designer by profession. I like DIY projects and woodworking/metal working, hobbyist and a travel lover.

I had an old handsaw with straight blade in the Tool box of my deceased father. Few months ago I found that saw with little crack on handle and with rusty metal blade.

Instead of repairing the handle, an idea came in mind to reshape this old style saw into a new Razor saw. So that, my new project has began.

Note: Woodworking/Metalworking is inherently dangerous, especially if standard safety precautions are not observed. Do not attempt any step or anything unless you are certain that it is safe for you to do so. Always follow the necessary safety instructions under your circumstances.

Step 1: Disassembling the Saw

It was the old Saw which has been in the use of my father. But according to me now its a modern world and people like the good looking and modern tools. So at the first, I remove the rivets and separate the handle from metal blade.

Step 2: Sketching the Blade

Here I had to draw a rough sketch with measurements to reshape the saw blade. The standard Razor Saw has about 255 mm(10 inch) blade length, so I increase it a little up to 280 mm(11 inch) and sketch the saw blade to determine its length, width, heel, toe, back and all measurements.

Step 3: Reshaping Saw Blade

After sketching and marking the measurements on metal saw blade according to the predefined sketch, I remove the excess of material with a Metal Cutting Scissor. Its a thin blade about 0.4 mm thickness, so I didn't face any difficulty while cutting the blade with scissor except concentration and carefulness.

Step 4: Cleaning the Blade

As I mentioned above that it is old saw found in the tool box after a while. I observe that oxide coated blade has water damage marks on it and getting rusty. So here I need to clean the blade and I use buffing wheel with bench grinder to clean the marks and stains from blade to give it a fresh look.

Step 5: Drawing Handle

Razor saw has straight handle so I choose Ash Wood for saw handle. The blade length is designed about 280 mm(11 inch) so its necessary that handle length should be shorter than the blade to design a balance shape. So I draw the handle shape on wood piece. Its length is about 210 mm(8.25 inch), width 32 mm(1.25 inch) and depth is 25 mm(1 inch).

Step 6: Cutting and Shaping

A handsaw is used to remove the excess material and two rasps are used to file the edges of wood piece and reshape into a handle according to the drawing. (Here I gave a cut for saw blade and made a brass ferrule with slot, but unfortunately I couldn't take the snaps of this process).

Joint brass ferrule on saw handle with epoxy and now the handle is ready for sanding.

Step 7: Holes for Rivets

The small head rivets are best to hide the joining technique, but in this case I have to present a decent look so that I decide to use wide riveting. For this purpose I choose a stainless steel rod of 8 mm diameter for riveting pins and use twisted wood drill bit of 8 mm for clean and precise drilling.

Note: Always use recommended and sharp drill bits for your job.

Step 8: Making the Back

Traditional Razor Saw has a metal back for protection and to keep the blade straight. As I have mentioned that its a thin saw blade which is reduced now to 0.34 mm after buffing and cleaning the stains, so its necessary to put a back for protection of saw blade and also for making enable the saw blade for straight cuts.

For this purpose I took a piece of stainless steel sheet with the thickness of 0.8 mm (22 Gauge) and draw the saw back with permanent marker. I use angle grinder for cutting the stainless steel sheet and bend it from centre along the length.

12 mm, 10 mm and 8 mm metal drills are used for making holes and give it a nice look. Now the back piece is ready after sanding and cleaning.

Step 9: Assembling

After sanding and cleaning of all pieces, the razor saw is now ready for assembling. First I fix the metal blade in stainless steel back and then joint the saw blade with handle, then I insert the stainless steel Pins for riveting (drilling of pieces has done before assembling, therefore epoxy is used for joining blade with handle and with riveting pins).

I made two holes in the brass ferrule and use brass screws to enhance the beauty of Razor saw.

Step 10: Finishing

When assembling has done, the saw handle is now ready for final polishing. Actually its a hand tool instead of furniture or other wooden items and it will be use in the workshop so I use boiled Linseed Oil for the final polishing.

After first coat, boiled linseed oil normally takes 48-72 hours to dry (therefore it also depends on the weather). When the first coat get dried, I use random orbital sander with fine sanding pad for finishing and then apply the second coat of boiled Linseed Oil and hang the saw to dry again in room temperature. When oil finishing dried, my new Razor handsaw is now ready for use with new and attractive look.

Hope that you guys will like this project. Thanks

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    20 Discussions

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    macglobalus

    7 weeks ago

    how do you fix the sawback to the saw blade ?? did you glue it ??

    2 replies
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    macglobalusa mateen

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    so there is nothing holding together the saw and the support ok tnxs

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    AlphaOmega1

    7 weeks ago

    Very nice results. I'm sure that your father would approve. I love making and repurposing tools. May I ask why you called it a razor saw? It's more like a Gents (maybe a locality thing), looks a bit big and not disposable.

    BTW, having made it cut on the pull stroke, you didn't need the back. I have fine draw saws that you can easily bend without any effort (fingertip pressure), and yet cut true and easily. On quick jobs I cut to the line because the finish is so good and so accurate!

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    a mateenAlphaOmega1

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Thank you Sir for the nice compliments.

    Yes you are right, its more like a Gent Saw, but you maybe know that Japanese style of Gent Saw is called "Razor Saw"(according to my knowledge and information). So that's why I call it Razor Saw.

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    AlphaOmega1a mateen

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Thanks for the update Mateen, as I said "maybe a locality thing", In retrospect, I think that "gent" is a UK only name. I have quite a few Japanese saws but I've never translated the names (I just refer to them in my internal monologue as Japanese, pull or draw saws). They are all very fine kerf, most are zero or just a slight set. Even the widest kerf is narrower than my finest tenon saw. None have a back though. On the other hand, I suppose that there are many styles that I have never seen. Take Japanese culinary knives, there is one for every imaginable task and a few beside!
    It's funny how language changes, we talk about as "thin as a razor", and yet a traditional (cut throat) razor is quite thick!

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    yrralguthrie

    7 weeks ago

    Good instructable and good construction for traditional US saw. But for small saws such as this the Japanese know best. A pull saw, a saw that cuts on the pull doesn't require the back blade. If you had reversed the blade when making the cut for the new blade it would cut on the pull. And it would then cut very thick material. And also cut flush. If you haven't used a pull saw you should try it. They just work better.

    How did you sharpen the saw. It had to be less than sharpe.

    5 replies
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    a mateenyrralguthrie

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Thanks for appreciation Sir.

    Yes I also have pull saw and used, but I have been in the need of back saw for the straight and accurate cuts(for dovetail joints), so that I modify this old saw into a new Razor saw.

    Second, I use triangular slim file for sharpening the saw teeth, by the same way described in the given below article:

    https://woodandshop.com/how-to-sharpen-hand-saws-for-woodworking/

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    grumble53yrralguthrie

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    If you look closely you'll notice he has the teeth set to cut on the pull stroke i.e. pointing backwards. I never have used a Japanese saw but I am tempted to try one myself.

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    austin.hall.129794grumble53

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    You really should Grumble53 - my Jap saw set (I have 6) are the FIRST things I reach for almost all work - you try cutting things like twinwall roofing sheet or polycarb corrugated sheet with a european saw - it's a disaster, with a jap saw - smooth as silk.

    The only wood my basic euro saw touches is rough scrap I'm cutting up for my burner.

    Looking at the original saw I'm almost certain his father made that saw for just such a purpose, the handle on the bottom instead of the top, and facing the teeth is a bit of a giveaway.

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    My father took on some Ugandan Asian carpenters when they were exiled. They had to be supplied with (UK) carpantry tools, having left the country with nothing. The first thing they did was 're-handle' the saws, looking very much like the initial saw above.

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    FlorinJyrralguthrie

    Reply 7 weeks ago

    Not really. What this saw comes closest, in shape, is a Japanese dozuki, which always has a back spine, since it's one of the thinner Japanese saws, intended for very precise cuts. At just slightly over 0.3 mm thickness, the blade also isn't that far away from that of a Japanese dozuki, so the back spine is absolutely necessary. The kataba, which is the japanese saw of sometimes comparable shape that has no back spine, is about twice as thick.

    Japanese saws don't _always_ work better than Western type saws. In particular, they don't work that well on tough hardwoods like oak or hornbeam or even birch - those woods need harder and heavier tools and more force applied when cutting than pine or paulownia or other softer woods - unlike Europeans, Japanese carpenters use mostly softwoods, traditionally, and the human body cannot apply as much force on the pull as it can on the push. You need maybe four times longer to cut through a piece of hardwood with a ryoba compared to a typical European style foxtail crosscut saw. In hardwoods, even if the kerf is wider, properly sharpened European style saws leave a cut as clean and as smooth as any Japanese saw leaves in softwood.

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    austin.hall.129794

    7 weeks ago

    Nice work, especially on the handle and brass ferrule, but personally I would not have added the back spine - having a floppy blade you can bend for awkward spaces is very handy, it's also not necessary for "a straight cut" as if you have it set for a pull stroke cut - the teeth facing the handle - then it will work like a japanese saw and the pull action keeps the blade straight - even a really thin floppy one like a Kataba.

    To be completely honest - I think the original saw was MADE by your father for exactly that reason, from a previously old saw blade, going by the look of the homemade handle and the riveting.

    I would have kept it as a memento.

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    a mateenaustin.hall.129794

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Thank you.

    Actually I was working on Dovetail joints and I feel the deficiency of a saw which can make accurate and straight cuts, so that's why I decide to modify this old saw into a new razor saw with back and perfectly made dovetail inlay joints, you can see in the picture.

    Thanks for the comments Sir.

    Dovetail inlay.jpeg
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    jatkins729

    8 weeks ago

    Great looking tool! Given that it started as an old, rusty saw, whose teeth may have been dull, did you have to sharpen the blade? If so, how?

    1 reply