Woodworking: Making a Backsaw


This tutorial shows how I made my own backsaw.

I found it difficult to find a good backsaw. It seems like a lost craft. I have seen a few websites that sell a new backsaws and hand saw for several hundred dollars. Since that isn't in my immediate budget, I decided to try to make my own. All the other saws are made by human hands—why can't I?

So here's a step by step record of my progress and process. Enjoy!


I started with two Simonds backsaws. One blade was 26" long the other was 22" long. I'm sure they were miter saws in their hey-days. I found one at a local antique dealer for $45. The other I bought off ebay for $22 plus $11.50 shipping. If this works I will have four quality saws for less than $100. Not bad.

I preferred buying from the antique store because I could hold it in my hands and check the straightness of the blade and the condition of the teeth. Both were in great shape.


My first step was to cut the blade. I wanted to keep the two original saws as they were but shorten them. I kept one at 16" long and one at 14". This left me with about 9" for the two new saws.

I cut them with a rotary tool and a cutting disk. I did this outside to cut down on the sparks and dusk inside my house. I took several passes over a Sharpie marker line. I was careful to only take a little off with each pass. This helped me control the cut and to not heat up the saw blade. I read that too much heat could mess with the tempering of the saw blade and reduce its ability to stay sharp. I went through about 20 disks in the process. They would break after a few passes.

I cut the teeth off the saws too. The blade was too high as it was. I wanted the two new saws to be much smaller that the originals. The new blade height was 3 1/4" including the saw back. I tapered the blades to 3" at the toe.


Here's the two blades after being rough cut with the rotary tool and cutting disk.





I'll continue to add more as I make progress . . .