For years we had been asked where to get good bow saw blades. We didn't have an answer, so we decided to set about having them made to our specification. The resulting blades provide a long stroke, tight turning radius and a range of thee tooth patterns that are ideal for wasting dovetails, sculptural roughing, or intricate pierced work. For explanation purposes, think of these as, very long coping saw blades. That is to say, really narrow blades of about 1/8" width that are 12" long with installed cross-pins that hook into a saw frame just like a coping saw.
These are the same blades we use in our award winning Gramercy Tools Bow Saw. The long stroke of the 12" blade cuts fast, and smooth. The cross-pins at the ends of the blade make blade changes easy and are great for getting a blade into pierced work. Because of the narrow height of the blade, these blades want to turn. This makes them ideal for wasting dovetails, where the a quick transition from saw-kerf to scribe-line is desirable, or when sawing curved features. They are not a good choice for long straight cuts.
We offer pairs of blades in three tooth patterns, or as a three pack containing one of each.
For thicker stock go with the 10tpi - it cuts fast and fairly smooth. Armed with a 10 TPI blade in our Gramercy Tools Bow Saw we have successfully sawn 3+ inch thick oak with reasonable precision and a turning radius of about 1/2". On thinner stock these blades can be made to cut features with a radius of 3/16" or less. Use these blades when speed of cut is important, and slight tear-out is not an issue.
For general work 16 TPI is best. These blades cut smoothly, and with reasonable speed. Used on stock between 1 1/2" and 1/2" thick, a reasonably skilled sawyer can expect accuracy and a tight turning radius of 1/4" or less. In especially thin stock tighter radii of 1/8" or less are possible.
The 24 TPI blade usually is too fine for thicker stock - anything greater than 3/4" - but it leaves a smooth finish, and the slower rate of cut can translate to increased accuracy, especially on thin stock. If you prefer to waste your dovetails right down to the line, this is the blade you want. With a full, long saw stroke, intricate, tight turns with a radius of less than 1/8" are quite possible.
Tip: When performing delicate work, or sawing a very tight curve, there is a tendency to shorten your saw stroke. Try, instead to use a full stroke, even sawing in place, as you turn tight corners. Since the blade is fastened at its ends, the longer stroke will convey your angle of cut to the wood more completely rather than letting the thin blade twist up in the middle. This will help you cut faster and more accurately. Don't forget to keep your index finger forward.
For Gramercy Tools Bow Saw Kits, or for complete Gramercy Tools Bow Saws follow the accessory links below. Design documents, plans, and general instructions for the kits can be found here
Gramercy Bow Saw Blades are Made in USA.
Note: When we say "bow saw" we mean it in the English and American traditional sense - a small frame saw with a narrow blade for curves, piercing, and other intricate work. Another term commonly used is "turning saw."