Disston Saws


Restoring Saws, Saw Tools, and Other Equipment

  Building a Saw Bench by Roy Griggs   1 of 2  

One of the things you need if you are going to use handsaws is a good saw bench.  I built this bench to suit my size and the way I work. All of the materials are recycled lumber, and it was built mostly with handtools.

For convenience sake I added a couple of hold-down holes to my bench, which greatly improves my ability to handle long stock. The holddown is a hand-forged product of Phil Koontz, a Galoot living in Alaska.


My bench is constructed of one red oak 2” x 6” x 8’-0”, a couple of pallet runners 3” x 3” x 3’-0” and a couple of cut-offs for the stretchers.  One piece 1 3/8” x 4” x 40”, became the side stretchers, and one 1 7/8” x 2 5/8” x 20”, the end stretchers. 

All the materials were planed flat and square to a very loose tolerance.  The top is splined and edge glued. Stretchers are mortised into the legs with thru dowel in the tenon. The top is just pegged into the top of the legs. 

One addition I need to make is to put holdfast holes on both sides instead of just one side. Also the bench would be better with a couple of inches added to the width of the leg spacing, but as is, it is not un-stable.

The run-down on how it was built is to follow so if you are interested read on...

My 2” x 6” x 8’ piece of red oak was anything but straight and flat. So I cut it into 3 shorter pieces before trying to flatten it. I used a Stanley Type 19 No. 5 ½ for this operation. With each piece I first trued one edge and squared my boards from there.

The next step was the groove for the spline; now I could have done this on the t*bl*s*w in about five minutes, but I perceived it as an excuse to use my Stanley #45 combination plane. That took probably 2 hrs. but was a learning experience (to put it mildly). A #45 is a persnickety tool and even after doing this I don’t think I really understand it, yet. After cutting my grooves I made splines to fit. Always make your splines after you cut the grooves, my 3/8” x 1 ½” splines became more like 9/16” x 1-1/8”.

Learn how. Discover why. Build better.
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H. W. Peace Saws


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