Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fear: The Great Motivator

A few weeks ago during a lightning storm, we lost the top half of a huge pine tree that separates our yard from our neighbor's. It fell smack dab in the middle of her backyard—no damage. Whew.

Our other neighbor, who loves physical labor and was an ox in a former life, offered to chop it up for her with his chainsaw.

And I offered to make everyone rustic window boxes.

As you may know, I'm a wee bit terrified of lathes. But there's another tool to which I afford a wide berth: chainsaws. Maybe I watched too many slasher movies as a kid. Or maybe I'm just a big sissy, but I don't go near them.

No problem. I figured I'd slice the logs up on my bandsaw and everyone would have a window box by the end of the day.

Well. The logs were big and unwieldy, and my bandsaw blade isn't as sharp as it should be, so that plan fell flat on its face.

Now what?  I could use a handsaw but that would take forever, and I'm no masochist. My form of self-flagellation is to forgo dessert.

I could use a chainsaw, but (refer to above statement).

No, if I couldn't use a bandsaw, then I was going to cut the logs by hand somehow. That meant building a frame saw.

Fortunately, there are lots of bloggers who have chronicled the process. I'm following their lead in building my own.  Here is one link.  Here is another.  And here is one more.

I'm planning to include the handles like those found in the Roubo print and hope it doesn't add too much time to building the saw.  I need to get to those logs, which are lying in my yard, before my chainsaw-loving neighbor gets any funny ideas.

30 comments:

TJIC said...

I'm not a touchy feely hippy, but I do admit that it's great to make something from a local tree.

My neighbor chopped down a plum tree a while back and I managed to grab the whole thing.

I recently gave a small turned box made from wood from that tree to a woman I'm dating, and it felt really nice to have a connection from land to hands to person.

Vic Hubbard said...

Still seems like more work than I'd be willing to do. I'd buy a new BS blade. But, you go girl!

DonP said...

What a truly imaginative justification for a new tool. I stand humbled.

Don

Tom L said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom L said...

Did you consider riving the boards out of the tree? Always fun to wack something with a hammer and more rustic than sawing.....

Tom Fidgen said...

love it-!
I've been working away on one as well. Perfect timing eh? Must be something in the water... seems like a natural progression once the hand bug bites.
always enjoying, thanks for sharing.
Tom

Steve Branam said...

What are you using for the web (saw blade)? I've had a Hyperkitten framesaw half-built for several years, for which I planned to use bandsaw blades, but I recently picked up a used blade from a Wood-Mizer bandsaw mill. Then there's also Putsch bowsaw blades.

The other thing I'll be interested to see is how well it works in sappy pine. Will the pitch cause too much binding?

Bob Easton said...

For Steve, and others contemplating...

Using part of a bandsaw blade in a frame saw often gives poor results. (per numerous discussions on the Sawmill Creek forums).

My frame saw's first blade wasn't satisfactory, so I replaced it with one cut from an old Disston D-8. Currently set at 5 TPI, it works fabulously.

Avoid the bandsaw blade, and use something better suited for hand cutting.

Karie, that should give you justification for yet another tool to cut the metal to make the frame saw blade. :)

Tom Buhl said...

Will that be Nancy at the other end of your bandsaw? [see photo #1]

Brian said...

Hey Kari ,its good to make something other than firewood from storm damaged timber. Even if you go off on a tangent first. I watched some of your video's today you do some cool work! Hi from Scotland
Brian:)

TNWoodwright said...

20 minutes and a dremel tool and you got a fresh bandsaw blade. Keep the teeth on the right. i sharpen mine right on the saw. Doe it for years. But makin a frame saw is cool too!

Luke Townsley said...

You could just use a pit saw. Or do like I did and get your self a Lumber Smith sawmill... And no, I'm not driving cross country to cut up yours. You are welcome to drop the log off at my house though...

I'm anxious to see how your saw comes out. It seems like resawing is even more of a lost art than pit sawing. I really want to make one myself.

John Cashman said...

This is a perfect opportunity for one of your patented stick-figure animations. Stick figure Kari with a chainsaw. Cool.

The Village Carpenter said...

TJIC, I bet the turned box looked really nice. My Dad cut down his plum tree and I tried to make a spoon out of it, but the wood was way too hard and gnarly. It would have looked beautiful as a turned piece, though.

Vic, I thought there was an unwritten rule that as woodworkers we have to overcomplicate things. ; )

Don, I've been wanting to make one of these for awhile. A friend and I chopped up a bunch of apple logs years ago that have been drying in my garage. I'll look forward to cutting them open.

Tom L, I want to take a slice out of two sides of the log and leave the bark on, so riving wouldn't have worked. I do look forward to trying that someday, though. :o)

Tom F, I've a feeling we're going to see a lot more of these in the ww community. Can't wait to see yours. I'm sure it will be a thing of beauty!

Steve, I bought my blade from Highland Hardware after reading up on others' experiences. Seemed like the best approach. I *think* you can use a more aggressive rake (not sure if I'm using the right term here) with wet wood, but you need to be less aggressive with dry hardwood. The blade is pretty much zero rake, so I'm not sure how well it will cut the pine. Might have to resharpen it.

Bob, thanks for chiming in!

Tom, she just read these comments and asked me explain. Thanks a LOT! hee hee

Hi Brian from Scotland! I'm hoping the saw works well so I can forage the neighborhood after every storm. :D

TNWoodwright, I just saw a video like that with a dremel tool to sharpen a bandsaw blade. It might have been on Matthias Wandel's website, but he removed the blade first. That's a great idea.

Luke, I have high hopes for this saw and hope it works well. That would be very cool to have your own sawmill, though!

John, there'd be lots of red magic marker in the video....

Trevor Walsh said...

I actually love the chainsaw (aside from it's two stroke [lots of emissions, and general gasoline use go]) but maybe that's a guy thing. and as far as safety goes, it's the same as a gun, tablesaw, or rubber band... Be sure the path of the dangerous bits never has the ability to intersect with any of you.

Paul Moldovanos said...

Any idea where to source blades for these frame saws? I see people like Tage Frid and Frank Klausz using them, so they must be effective.
Paul

The Village Carpenter said...

Trevor, maybe it is a guy thing. I don't like the way they get stuck and can kick back, but as you say, we have that with other tools.

Paul, I bought the blade from Highland Hardware. I read other blogs and forum threads and that seemed to be a good source.

Jeff Branch said...

You have the best looking layout lines I have ever seen. Looking forward to your next post.

Anonymous said...

So Kari if you are going to build a two person frame saw who is going to be your helper? Can Nancy use her muscles to help you? If so can I see a video of the saw in use when you finish it? After the teflon tape incident it might be fun to watch. Sorry Nancy.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Kari. Chainsaws freak me out. But then, I'm a girl too. ;-)

Gary Roberts said...

I'm surprised you didn't think of building a water wheel powered Up and Down sawmill in your backyard. That would be much more efficient, green and if nothing else, mesmerizing to watch.

Kari, once in a while you have to think BIG!

Jonathan said...

Wow Kari. You're taking it to another level. I think I'm with Vic on this one. I actually like to use my chainsaw. It's a little messy with the chain oil and all, but it works really well. I can't wait to see the finished product.

Jonathan
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Steve Branam said...

Ok, so the ones at Highland are the Putsch blades. I bought several of those at Woodcraft a few years ago. I also bought the continental bowsaw, but I didn't have much luck with it. The blade turned too easily, even under heavy tension. This may be a better use of the blade.

Anonymous said...

I exclusively use local woods, usually culled from trees downed by storms or by tree guys, use a large chainsaw to cut pieces into manageable sized chunks, saw blanks using my band saw, then turn things on my lathe. Maybe I never learned to be afraid of those things, but I have learned to have a very deep respect for all tools that cut wood.

Eric said...

And having followed you for as long as I have, my money says it's going to be a kick-butt Frame Saw.

gchpaco said...

Be warned, the Putsch blades (which as is pointed out are the ones Highland sells) have good steel but the factory sharpening job is terrible. They will certainly need to be resharpened and probably need to be re-set for whatever you're trying to do.

Good luck with it, though!

The Village Carpenter said...

Jeff, thanks. :o)

Anon, I haven't broken the news to her yet that she might need to help "man" the saw. shhhhh ; )

Anon, it might not be a girl thing, though. Check this out: http://www.chainsawchick.com/

Gary, that would require a heck of a building permit in my borough!

Jonathan, it would be a lot faster with a chainsaw, too. Alas...

Steve, one of the bloggers mentioned that the blade turns during tensioning, so he added a block at both ends to hold it in place. That's where I got the idea to use a saw kerf in the main body of the arms.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Eric!

gchpaco, I had read that somewhere about the blades—that they need to be sharpened. That's okay--I need to learn how to do that, too. I have a couple antique saws that need to be refurbished.

BryanS said...

I've put some thought into this because I would like a frame saw to do rip cuts on my saw bench. The bench is 21" high so a 20" blade would almost be perfect. I made a bow saw using this blade that I can make cut on the pull and push stroke, but it doesn't work great for joinery cuts, so I don't use it much. I know there is a 500mm version of this blade, but Highland doesn't stock it.

The other thing I thought about was Wenzloff will sell you saw steel, but not in the length, width, thickness, toothsize combination I want. I haven't contacted him to see if he could do a custome one. I wouldn't think you would need a very thick blade with it under tension.

BryanS said...

Whoops, forgot to include the link for the blade

http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/turbo-cutbladeforclassic400framesaw.aspx

Shaun said...

I agree with you about chainsaws. I've left them alone due to my own fear of them. Irrational really, they're just another tool I suppose. I'll have to buy one and take the plunge. Nice post, very interesting.