Fabricating a unique saw?

Hi metalworkers,

I came across this illustration of a saw for cutting perfect 90 degree angles by hand (for example, when cutting out the pins in a dovetail). It’s apparently something that used to be common in the German and Austro-Hungarian woodworking traditions, but is no longer a standard item anymore. I’ve got 0 metalworking experience, does anyone have any ideas how one would go about making one of these? Maybe it would be possible to start with a big coping saw blade and modify it somehow?

The idea is that you insert the toothless part of it into your vertical kerf, and then you push forward and the teeth get pushed in at 90 degrees and cut across, and then you use the back third of the saw to finish the cut.


Maybe someone else finds this fascinating enough to help me make one? Maybe trade for some dovetailed boxes that I would then make with the saw?

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I’ve read about making handsaw blades, and the only detail I remember was that it seemed like way more trouble that it was worth :slight_smile:

I wonder if you could just buy a cheap (ish) handsaw, cut it down, and bend it?

Do we have a sheet metal brake in the shop? I have a project that could use one too.

There is a very light duty bender. I believe it is under the table

hm. I have a spare cheap japanese ryoba pull saw I could sacrifice to an attempt, but would still feel better with someone who could show me how to use the tools. @Jon would you be willing to meet me sometime to show me how to use the bender and grinder? I’m in no hurry.

Hah! I’m the newbest of metal folks :slight_smile: I’ve only done some reading about how to use a sheet metal brake because I have a machine that needs a belt guard – I haven’t actually used one in anger yet.

If I get a chance to practice before you do, I’ll let you know.

That is a super cool idea!

It does seem like a Japanese pull saw is the right place to start. Although I’m not sure how the bending would go, as I think even the sharpest of bends are still going to have some radius and it seems that you’d want that T junction to be a pretty tight 90 degrees if possible. My first though was welding the saw blade to some other piece of metal to create that T. Not sure such a thin saw blade would survive being welded though, so maybe soldering or brazing?

(After looking closer it appears that it may not be a T where they join, but I think the need for a tight 90 degrees still stands :man_shrugging:)

I have a Japanese pull saw that is no longer super sharp, so I don’t really use it. I’ve been keeping it in case I one day magically feel comfortable trying to sharpen it, but that’s unlikely to happen, so I’d be happy to donate it to support such a cool project.

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Hello, I am a welder and have some experience tool making. Just listing some credentials.

That being said, this looks like you could do it by connecting two saw blades from something like a Sawzall, one with the teeth ground off. You would have to go a little thicker though as you couldn’t really weld that thin easily and welding saw blades in general is a nightmare. High carbon and a stress point, plus your bend would be a stress riser. I think your best bet would be a jewelers saw with a spiral blade. Honestly I like the idea and it is doable, but the problem has been solved in a way that doesn’t require you to remake the saw (and possibly lower the structural integrity) every time you need a new one.

Now if you are stuck on making this saw, you could make a thin handle with an angled holder and rivet the saw blade to that. that way you wouldn’t be adding a ton of stress by heat cycling the blade from welding/brazing but you would still impart a good amount of strength. You could also do the same thing but cut a thin slot into the handle and braze it on, hoping to not weaken the steel blade. If any of that makes sense, cool. If not let me know and I can do a couple of drawings super fast to give you a better idea.

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Sorry for being slow to respond, I’m neck-deep in pre-Black Friday preparedness at work.

Having read a bit more about joining metal and carbon steel and stuff, I think the initial idea of using a Japanese saw is just not going to work… as @hennesseyzachary mentioned, they’re really high-carbon and I think that means they’ll be too brittle to bend in a sheet brake. Though I’d still be willing to try it with my cheapie, because why not.

I like the idea of brazing sawzall blades and then sharpening/grinding it down to the desired thickness, but I’ll have keep an eye out for a brazing/welding class at some point.