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Friday, 3 January 2014

How to make a bow saw

Both a useful tool in the forest school setting and an excellent activity for older groups;

Health and Safety Considerations
Only older participants should be allowed to take part in the construction of bow saws, although young learners are able to use them. Constructing a bow saw required some degree of physical strength and the setting of the blade would be beyond younger participants. The appropriate tools should be made available and close supervision given by the forest schools leader.   Learners should be provided with heavy work gloves which must be worn when heating the saw handle and positioning the blade.
The blade must be fastened securely and checked by the leader to ensure that there is no chance of the handle springing out and causing anyone harm.
Non toxic woods, high quality saw blade to avoid breakage and accident, pre prepared dowels to reduce risk to learners from small carving and poor   material selection. Dowell’s must be hard wood  or they will break under the pressure the handle exerts on the blade and may break quite spectacularly.
AS for the use of any other bow saw or tool, the saws must be checked by the forest schools leader on completion and prior to use to ensure they are safe to use.

 First take a green stick much longer than the saw blade itself and warm it over your fire to loosen the fibers in the wood and make it easier to bend, Next begin to bend the stick across your knee measuring as you go against the length of the blade, make sure there is still plenty of spring in the stick so that the handle you make will hold the blade taught, if the blade is not tight it won’t cut.



 When you have created a curve that is the right size cut off any excess length in the stick and make two notches in each end, one to accommodate the blade of the saw and the other perpendicular to it to accommodate a small hardwood dowel which will secure the blade in place.


 Prepare a small dowel for each end of the blade, it will have to be whittled from hard wood as the flex of the wooden handle will put a lot of pressure on the dowel.



 Insert the dowels into the holes at each end of the blade and slot the blade and dowel into the notches you have made.


 The first end will be easy as for the other end you will have to bend the stick over and slot the opposite end of the blade and the dowel into their notches, this might be quite difficult so be careful not to get your fingers trapped as you locate the blade in its notches.

The finished article in action

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