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Hand Tools

Folded Backs and Two Guys In A Garage

Two Guys In A Garage Tool Works is a pair of guys who happened upon a supply of spring steel scraps and, being woodworkers who loved hand tools, they hated to see the “scraps” going to waste - came upon the idea of re-purposing the steel into usable tools for the hand-tool crowd.  Card scrapers, specifically...  

As time has gone on, they've branched out into supplying spring steel plates for those who want to make their own hand saws, first supplying plates for stair saws then later expanding to larger saws and also saw-tooth pattern plates. Their plates come now with teeth pre-punched in a wide range of PPI and are ready for sharpening and setting.

I've linked to their web site before - Dom maintains an excellent library of saw handle templates online free for everyone to use.  I see they have also added brass split nuts and screws to their list of available products, which means they are only lacking one thing for all of the metal parts of a saw - the back!

It would seem they are now ready to remedy that.  Recently I was fortunate enough to be on a list of folks sent prototypes of their folded backs to evaluate and provide feedback. I am honored they would choose me as one to look at them. Here's what arrived:

Two of their prototype backs, and two 3" x 12" dovetail saw plates.  The sawplates have teeth stamped out at 13 PPI ready for sharpening and setting.  The teeth are wholly consistent, straight, and with a good rake angle for getting you started,

Using one of Dom's templates, a pair of their split nuts, some wood and one of their handle templates (or make your own) you have everything you need to make your own backsaw.  

Finding Files and Other Saw Sharpening Tips

I've been getting a few questions lately on saw files - what to get, and where to get them, mostly.  Here's some highlights from those correspondences that others might find useful.

Review: Bad Axe Tool Works 18" Tenon Rip Saw


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Figure 1. The 18" Bad Axe Tenon Rip Saw.

Retiring after 28 years in the army, Mark Harrell began a second career as hand saw sharpener and restorer.  Starting with TechnoPrimitives, LLC, Mark began taking in work in his new chosen field and his skills have garnered many accolades, including praise from Chris Schwarz, editor of Woodworking and Popular Woodworking magazines.

As TechnoPrimitives' reputation and business grew, Mark began eying another avenue of the same field he could pursue: saw-making.  Instead of just restoring saws, he would manufacture them, starting with a 16" and an 18" backsaw.  With that in mind, he started a new division of TechnoPrimitives LLC called "Bad Axe Tool Works" - a name taken from the name of the area of southwestern Wisconsin that is his home.

I'm a big fan of supporting the small manufacturer, as without these industrious and creative individuals the availability of quality hand tools for us to use would be severely limited.  These are the people that not only help keep our craft alive, but gives us the means to do so...  But on the same note there is a heavy  toll that must be paid by these individuals - their work must truly shine to stand out from the rest.  For my part, I would be remiss - when given the chance - if I didn't scrutinize the product in that much more detail if I'm going to offer up a review.  Here, I'll dissect the Bad Axe saw piece by piece, feature by feature, and for performance in as much detail as I dare - if you want to skip my ramblings and just read my summation of it, feel free to scroll to the bottom of the page. 

Shooting Boards from Evenfall Woodworks


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Fig. 1:  Illustrations of Different Shooting Boards

One of the most common tools in the arsenal of pretty much every hand tool shop is a shooting board, a couple examples of which you can see illustrated in Fig. 1 that are based on illustrations from one of Charle's Hayward's writings, "The Complete Book of Woodwork".

I don't know how many of these I've cobbled together over the years. Usually from scrap, and often - because I'm usually more worried about the project than how I put together the shooting board - thrown away not long after because I don't take the time to make it properly.

Essentially, a shooting board (or 'chute' board in some lands) in its simplest form a simple fence that allows one to plane an edge or end on on a piece of wood to a known angle, commonly 45 or 90 degrees.  It provides a shelf to place the wood on to raise it so the blade of the plane used is fully exposed to the wood (if it isn't a rabbet plane, the blade doesn't go all the way to the edge of the plane).

 The plane used can be a specially made "miter plane", made just for the purpose - one such as Lie Nielsen's iron miter plane, but usually it is just a standard bench plane whose sole has checked to be perpendicular to its side. 



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Fig. 2.  The Evenfall Woodworks Shooting Board


Rob Hanson (no relation) has come up with an interesting product - one he's been selling through his blog page at the Evenfall Woodworks web site.  You can see his version of a shooting board in Fig. 2 at work with a low angle bench plane.

If you look closely, you'll notice a series of holes in the body of his shooting board.  This is what makes Rob's product devilishly clever - its fully adjustable to different angles.

 I'm impressed.  It's bloody ingenius.




New Veritas Dovetail Saw


Veritas (the line of tools made by the Lee Valley company) has introduced a new tool (for them), a western style dovetail saw. It's a completely new take on a classic design:

Lee Valley Dovetail Saw


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