Custom Handle for a Coping Saw

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One of the first hand saws I purchased was a cheap coping saw from my local Do-It Best Center.  I purchased it so I could make a 3-piece burr puzzle for my Father-in-Law for Christmas.  I used it for that project and haven’t touched it since until recently, when I was removing waste from the dovetails on my chisel rack case.  I considered selling it or giving it away to my church’s rummage sale but then lighting struck my brain.  I could make this cheap, poor feeling saw into a cheap, better feeling saw just by changing the handle.

I cut the handle from the threaded insert after unscrewing the frame and removing the blade.  Then I took the threaded insert that was encased in the wood and split the wood with a chisel to get the insert out.  This was much easier than I anticipated.

Most parts of the saw minus the threaded insert.
Most parts of the saw minus the threaded insert.

First, I drilled a hole to match the diameter of the threaded insert for the screw that holds the saw in the handle.  I mounted the blank between centers at the lathe and used the roughing gouge to true it.  This was the perfect exercise for me to use my new skew chisel.  I pulled out a piece of cherry left over from the screwdriver handles I turned a few weeks ago and went to work.

New P&N Tools skew chisel and a cherry blank.
New P&N Tools skew chisel and a cherry blank.

I made a tenon to fit the ferrule that came with the saw.  I had to repurpose the ferrule since I didn’t have a brass or copper ferrule on hand.

Ferrule fit onto tenon.
Ferrule fit onto tenon.

Next it was time to shape the handle.  I’ll admit this is a new larger skew that I was not yet use to compared to my Crown 1/2″ oval skew I use for turning pens.  I did get a catch at the toe and it startled me.  Not much damage was done though, a quick pass cleaned it right up.  I took a little more precaution by ridding the bevel first and then tipping the handle up to engage the cutting edge to finish up the job.  I made some guide lines and shaped the handle to my liking.  When I was finished with the shaping, I sanded to 320 grit, and waxed it for a nice shine.

Finished handle is a bit longer and feels better than the original.
Finished handle is a bit longer and feels better than the original.

If you have an old tool that you don’t like, put new life into it by turning or shaping your own custom handle.  I think I will be looking for reasons to use this saw now.  I see more dovetails in my future.

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