Thursday, October 4, 2012

Gramercy 12" Bow Saw - Review

Recently I was contemplating how to integrate more and more hand tools into my work. I like the pace and control that they impart to my work. I really don't need to rush anyhow seeing as I am not a production shop. That is when I came across this little bow saw made by Gramercy at I thought that this was the tool, it seemed, that might keep me away from the bandsaw for those delicate cutting situations and, alternatively, to avoid those awkward holding situations where I might shape a profile with my drawknife. Such as, a curvy handhold on a long arm bow for a continuous arm settee. Swinging that thing around while keeping it flat on a bandsaw table is not happening and to hold it at all the right angles at the shave horse, while working it with the drawknife, is sometimes asking for marred work. Below is a picture of the saw along with such a handhold spoken of.

I purchase the kit that included just the brass pins and a set of three blades for $25.95. The kit included patterns that can be downloaded from their website and suggestions on how to go about making the saw. You can, of course buy a pre made saw for $149.95.

I completed making the saw in about an hour. I did, however, make all my parts completely at the lathe just using their general dimensions. The only additional things needed besides the kit is your own wood and some braided fishing line. I chose to make my own knobs but those can be purchase as well.

So what do I think of this 12" bow saw? It is very nimble and light in the hand. It feels quite natural on the push and the pull stroke once you get comfortable with how to hold it in a variety of positions. In short I think this is one of the best values in a hand tool that I have purchased. Price/value aside I would highly recommend this saw if you will be doing any kind of cutting such as the handhold above. I even used it to cut the tight radiuses of a chair seat, like that found on the sides of a shield shape windsor seat, just to test its limits. It held up to 1-7/8" thick eastern white pine with only a little complaint. I wouldn't recommend it as the preferred tool for that size of work though. However I have a feeling I may be making one of these in a slightly larger scale, say 16" size with a customized blade, which the brass pins, by the way, allow for.

On a final note the only con was that the cross-pin in the blade, that secures it in the slot of the brass pin, broke early on in use for the course tooth blade. I think this was more a defect in the blade and unlikely to have anything related to the design or quality of the saw parts in general since the other blades have worked just fine in use.


  1. I like the stretcher style cross bar, nice touch!

  2. Wouldn't you know it, I had a stretcher that I sized the tenon wrong and it was just lying around waiting to be used for this part. It was almost exactly the right length as it was and I thought it would look appropriate for a chairmaker's tool. :)