Bad Axe Tool Works 14" Sash Saw, $265: aka 'the Sandbar Bowie'
(Delivery: 5-7 weeks)
Long before Santa Anna's troops pumped several musket balls into his head with the fall of the Alamo, James Bowie had already established himself as a real Bad Axe in 1827 when a duel suddenly turned south on a bloody sandbar in Natchez, Mississippi. Bludgeoned, shot, and with a cane sword sticking through his chest, Bowie held his own against four opponents with a large knife his brother Rezin made for him--and that's how the legend of Alamo defender Colonel James Bowie and his knife was born.
So let's take it a step further and see how my 14" sash saw compares to Bowie's knife in the sandbar fight, particularly when filed 12 ppi hybrid-cut on a hardy .025-gauge plate. This is where rugged durability and precision converge at a high level, especially when you're new to hand tools and you want the perfect starter saw that will never outlast its usefullness. It can be used as a larger carcase saw for cuts against the grain, or a medium-range tenon saw when you want to sink it up to the hilt when crafting tenon cheeks with the grain. It's just a great all-around size, and that's why Disston made so many back saws with the same specs well over a century ago that are still floating around on eBay today.
Here's a run-down on the specs:
- Traditional Wheeler Madden Clemson-pattern closed handle, available in standard quartersawn hickory, or optional cherry, walnut or fiddleback maple.
- Traditional folded gunsmith-blued (black-oxided) carbon steel and optional bright nickel-plated or copper-plated carbon steel sawbacks.
- Fasteners in standard brass or optional gunsmith-blued or stainless alloys. You may also choose the niter-blued or bright nickel-plated finishes for the carbon steel fasteners.
- RC 50-52 .02-thin premium Swedish spring steel sawplate for carcase configuration, and .025-gauge for the sash configuration.
- Filed 12 ppi rip or hybrid-cut on the .025-gauge plate, with moderate-to-aggressive rake, and slight fleam & gullet to reduce tearout for sash configuration. For carcase configuration, I recommend 13 ppi x-cut with the .02 plate.
- Depth of plate under the back for the .025-gauge hybrid and ripping plate runs 3 5/8" from heel to toe.
- Depth of plate under the back for the .02-gauge dedicated x-cut plate runs 3 3/8" from heel to toe.
Why do I want this saw? Because it will fit YOUR hand regardless of whether you enjoy wrestling large Japanese men or play first-chair piccolo for the Chicago symphony, and tracks the line like it's on rails. Above all, you get choice: choice in plate gauge, how the toothline is filed, and how you want the saw to look. This saw will certainly be one of the go-to weapons in your woodshop arsenal, serving multiple roles particularly when filed hybrid-cut.
Sizing Handles: Here's my hand: it measures about 3 3/4" across. That's what I'm calling regular, and it will work with a range from 3 5/8" and start getting tight at 3 7/8." Bigger hands just under 4" up to 4 1/8" spans will require the size Large handle, and 4 1/4 to 4 3/8 will want an Extra Large. Going the opposite direction, if the span of your hand measures in the 3 ¼ up to 3 1/2" range, then we're looking at a size small handle. Really tiny hands from 2 ¾ up to 3 1/8 should warrant an XS handle.
(return to sizing menu)
What's the best pitch and filing? I personally recommend 12 ppi dedicated rip or 12 ppi hybrid-cut for the .025-gague plate, or 13 ppi dedicated x-cut with the .02 gauge plate, depending on your requirements. If you're new to hand tools, then the hybrid-filing is a great choice--you won't regret it. For more info on sawfiling angles and how that coupled with plate gauge optimizes the kind of saw best suited for your woodworking method, be sure to read Albert Einstein's treatise on sawplate physics.
Like Brass on your saws? Then you're really going to like our new Titanium Nitride-plated sawbacks.
Have you purchased enough brass-backed saws already to know that they just don't age that well? It's a great look, but it doesn't take long for tarnish to set in, and over time a brass-backed saw deforms with hard use, wreaking havoc on your toothline. But it's traditional, right? And conveys a traditional, warm look we all like to see.
But form only goes so far before substance sets in. You very seldom see brass-backed saws longer than 12" or 14", because brass just isn't a strong enough an alloy for larger saws. Steel on the other hand presents superior strength and durability. So--we at Bad Axe made the hard choice a couple of years ago to phase brass out of our product line, since it's difficult to work with (it has a 'springy' quality to it), doesn't form well, tarnishes, and at the end of the day, just doesn't measure up to carbon steel, which can take a variety of platings for aethetic purposes.
Enter Titanium Nitride (TiN). Long a favored finish for high-end firearms, titanium nitride presents stellar corrosion and wear-resistance, Titanium-Nitride hits the sweet spot when it comes to form following function. The tone falls between the look you get between brass and bronze, so it certainly scratches that aethetic itch you get when wishing you had a little more brass love in the Bad Axe world. And the really cool thing about it? We can apply Titanium Nitride on our largest sawbacks, where the strength and durability of a steel-backed saw is paramount.
So what are you getting for the $45 upcharge? It's obviously not cheap--because it's not a cheap plating process for us to apply. But what you get is corrosion and wear resistance, along with that deep, brass/bronze look that retains its golden lustre over time. Give it a shot--this is a drop-dead gorgeous plating that will retain its deep, rich look for the generations to come.
"Where can I buy my own mesquite--or for that matter, a unique species I'd prefer to supply myself for the handle?"
Finding a reputable lumber dealer can be challenging, particularly when you're looking for a well-figured species that won't let you down. The good people listed below will never steer you wrong--these are companies that Bad Axe has used over the past eight years with consistently reliable results when it comes to sourcing high-quality stock you'll be happy with.
|Mesquite Valley Woodcrafts||Nave's Sawmill & Woodworks||Horizon Wood|
|(Mesquite & other TX hardwoods)||(Mesquite & other TX hardwoods)||Any North American Hardwood)|
Dimensions Required for shipment of customer-supplied wood to Bad Axe:
- Length: 8.5" Long with the grain.
- Width: 6.25" wide.
- Thickness: can range between 4/4 and 5/4 thick. Do not fall below a full 4/4, given that we mill to a finished thickness of 7/8".
- Type Cut: Quartersawn stock (mitigates wood movement with seasonal change. Do NOT send flatsawn stock. The only exception to this is mesquite, which has interlocking fibers and naturally resists warping despite type of cut.
- Condition & Moisture Content: at or about 8% moisture content. No cracks, splits or defects in the blank.
- Quantity, best to send two blanks, in case the first one has an unseen defect. This very seldom happens, but best to be prepared for it. We will return the unused blank or save it for future milling on your behalf.
- How to ship: Have the supplier label each wood blank by taping your name & contact information (billing address, cell & email--your purchase receipt will also suffice), and drop-ship your blanks to our workshop at: Bad Axe Tool Works, 1500 Green Bay St., Suite #508, La Crosse, WI 54601. Please alert us when this is put into motion, so we may track your package’s arrival.
Don't forget the bench hook set. IMHO, the 14" saw is the perfect size for bench hook utility. They're indespensable when making repetive cuts to length or miter, such as running through a series of baseboard cuts without haluing in a powered chop saw into your living room. And you really don't want to inadvertently saw into the nice Roubo workbech you spent the last few months making because you didn't take the time to make one of these. My bench hook sets are pretty bomb-proof, and while they don't come cheap, you will get double-duty out of it (when one side wears out, just flip it over), and they are very well-made. So for those of you who'd rather spending time working wood rather than making accessories, you might give mine a try.
All Bad Axe Tool Works Saws are highly customizable, and Feature the Following:
- Custom filing available at same price per request
- Bad Axe saw sharpening rates $15 nominal fee
- Highly-figured 19th-century patterned hickory handles, also available in cherry, walnut, maple & mesquite.
- Five handle sizes available: XS, S, R, L, XL
- Flush-face slotted sawbolts/nuts in three alloys and four finishes with a 13/16" deep-dish decorative medallion
- Firearms-quality hot-blued finish on traditionally-folded steel back
- Optional black or bright nickel carbon steel, brass, copper-plated and bronze saw backs
- Premium-grade Swedish Spring Steel, RC50-52
- Traditional hammer-set toothline
- Lifetime guarantee against all material defects
Learn more about my material choices and saw design rationale.
Other Top Selling Bad Axe Tools:
- Bad Axe American Kid Back Saw
- Bad Axe 10" Dovetail Back Saw
- Bad Axe 10" Carcase Back Saw
- Bad Axe 12" 'Stiletto' Dovetail Back Saw
- Bad Axe 12" Hybrid Dovetail/Small Tenon Back Saw
- Bad Axe 12" Carcase Back Saw
- Bad Axe 14" Sash Back Saw
- Bad Axe 16" Tenon Back Saw
- Bad Axe 18" Large Tenon Back Saw
- The Roubo Beastmaster
- Bad Axe 20" Miter Box Saw
- Bad Axe Bench Hook Sets
- Bad Axe Tool Care
- Bad Axe Accessories