Sawlapalooza!!! Learn. Make. Have fun!

(And then we'll ship your stuff home.)

Reserve your saw vise and workbench!

$2950--includes lodgings, lunch every day, and the saws, saw till, and other supplies listed on the left.

Make the $500 Down payment by clicking below, which reserves your vise and workbench; we will invoice you for the remaining $2450 four weeks before the seminar.

This is the Bad Axe Saw I want to Build:
This is the Size Frame Saw I want to Build:
Lodgings Preference
Hotel Room Occupants in my party
Transportation Requirement
Entertainment and Dinner (Tues PM)
Entertainment and Dinner (Thurs PM)
When to Pay Remaining Balance Due

Make Deposit

Remaining seats: 3 2 1 Sold Out

Please note that your down payment for Sawlapalooza 2016 is non-refundable, and that the remaining balance due of $1500 (or $1450/$1400) must be paid when Bad Axe invoices you NLT 15 May 2016. If unexpected work or personal commitments prevent you from attending Sawlapalooza, we will gladly transfer your down payment to another Bad Axe seminar, product or service.

International Customers, please note an additional shipping surcharge may apply.

Spend five days with Mark Harrell and Tom Fidgen and you'll have something to show for it, because this is what we will freight back to your home after course closure:

  • Bad Axe backsaw of choice
  • Bad Axe bench hook set
  • Four training sawplates for sharpening
  • Sawbench (Tom's design)
  • Kerfing Plane (complete)*
  • 31.5" Frame Saw (complete)*
  • Includes shipping all of the above back to home address (surcharge applies to international students)

    *NOTE: If you have already purchased a kerfing plane and frame saw hardware kit from Bad Axe, we will gladly substitute these tools with an addtional Bad Axe Saw--for a total of two Bad Axe saws inclusive with course tuition.

  • This intensive, hands-on course
    results in three awesome saws you build on-site under Mark and Tom's oversight. Add a Bad Axe bench hook set and Tom's excellent sawbench design to the equation, and the package is complete-- freighting it all back to your home is inclusive with the price.

    And don't think this is an event without entertainment value. Whether you bring your significant other long or not, plan on a party, and know that we have great things planned for after hours. We have a suite of hotel rooms at the downtown Radisson reserved at a discounted rate for Sawlapalooza attendees, so you won't have to deal with the hassle. We also have something to do each night you're with us, whether it's a pizza & beer cruise on the La Crosse Queen paddleboat steaming up the Mississippi, jamming to some reggae at the historic Trempeleau Hotel, or partaking of downtown La Crosse's finer dining and imbibing venues. Trust Tom and I on this--you won't be bored. You'll simply need to dredge up the energy to undero the rigor that real-world saw sharpening and maintenance Bad Axe will demand of you, particularly when coupled with the unplugged woodworking mastery only a guru like Tom Fidgen can bestow. So--work hard . . . and play hard.

    Quick Links

  • Operational Concept

  • Training Schedule

  • Mark's Training in Detail

  • Tom's Training in Detail

  • Tools to Bring

  • Cost Analysis

  • Flight Info

  • Lodging (at a discounted rate)

  • Downtown eateries

  • Where to have fun

    openDoor.jpgOperational Concept:

    Students arrive at the La Crosse downtown Radisson Sunday afternoon, 17 July, and comence training the following day at 8:30 AM. Student body divides into two groups. While one group trains with Mark, the other group trains with Tom. Groups switch out after noontime catered lunch on-site. Bad Axe will have a van service shuttling students back and forth between hotel and workshop for those without rental car. Training continues through Friday at 3:00 PM, and depart for home either Friday night or at their leisure. Bad Axe freights all saws, plates, benches, tills & other items to the student's home address. Back to QuickLinks.

    Training Schedule

    Sunday, 17 July - 5:00 PM until close:

    Reception at the downtown Radisson's conference room. Grip & grin with cocktails. Get to know one another, and who knows--there might even be an impromptu pub crawl involved for the hardy and the brave.

    Monday, 18 July:

  • 7:45: Shuttle departs Radisson for those without rental car.
  • 8:00: Orientation and coffee at the Bad Axe Workshop, 1500 Green Bay Street, Suite #508, La Crosse, WI 54601. Ph: (608) 520-0729. Just key our address into Google Maps, and you'll locate us for those who intend to use rental car. Bad Axe will provide a shuttle to leave the Raddison--it leaves at 0745 sharp.
  • Training with Mark: Saw selection, disassembly/reassembly, maintenance and filing theory.
  • Training with Tom: Introduction to sawbench and FrameSaw/KerfingPlane design.
  • 11:45-12:15: Lunch. Don't go anywhere. Dominos/Jimmy John's delivers. Groups switch. Applies each day.
  • 4:00-4:30: Day One review, and release to hotel.

    tools.jpgTuesday, 19 July:

  • 7:45: Shuttle departs Radisson for those without rental car.
  • 0800: Showtime, coffee & donuts.
  • Training with Mark (AM/PM): Sawfiling theory and practical application on a 9 ppi plate. Tooth Geometry. Visualizing. Body English. Stroking the file.
  • Training with Tom (AM/PM): Sawbench Build. Joinery Techniques.
  • 4:00-4:30: Day Two review, and release to hotel.
  • 6:00-10:00: Mississippi River cruise on the La Crosse Queen paddleboat. Pizza & beer for dinner!

    Wednesday, 20 July:

  • 7:45: Shuttle departs Radisson for those without rental car.
  • 8:00: Showtime.
  • Training with Mark: Filing 8 ppi for Kerfing Plane plate / Frame Saw 5.5 ppi plate.
  • Training with Tom: Complete Sawbench Build. Start Kerfing Plane Build.
  • 4:00-4:30: Day Three review, & release to hotel.

    Thursday, 21 July:

  • 7:45: Shuttle departs Radisson for those without rental car.
  • 8:00: Showtime.
  • Training with Mark: Bad Axe saw build.
  • Training with Tom: Complete Kerfing Plane Build; Start Frame Saw build.
  • 4:00-4:30: Day Four review, and release to hotel.
  • 6:00-10:00: Cocktails, dinner & live music out on the town.

    Friday, 22 July:

  • 7:45: Shuttle departs Radisson for those without rental car.
  • 0800: Showtime.
  • Training with Mark: Advanced sawfiling techniques; complete Bad Axe saw build.
  • Training with Tom: Complete Frame Saw Build.
  • 3:00 - 3:30: End of course review, and release to hotel.
    Back to QuickLinks.

    Bad Axe Terminal Learning Objectives For the Week

    Hand and Back Saws for cutting wood in general:
  • Anatomy and use of hand saws, panel saws and back saws.
  • Advantages of Western saws over Japanese pull saws.
  • How to evaluate a vintage saw as to whether it is a potential user or a wall hanger.
  • How to date a saw (
  • How to buy saws without throwing your money away.

    Tools of the Trade:
  • Operate a saw toother on new plates, when and when not to re-tooth a saw plate.
  • Shape teeth on a saw filer.
  • Understand the advantage of hammer sets over plier sets.
  • Hammer-set a toothline.
  • Mount a saw plate in a saw vise for jointing and repositioning it for filing.
  • Use a simple array of tools to completely disassemble a backsaw (including removing the back), & reassemble.
  • Clean and sharpen spring steel with mill bastard files and taper files.
  • Saw Accessories: bench hooks and saw benches.

    HammerSmith.jpgTerms of Reference and Tooth Geometry
  • Types of Cut: Rip, X-Cut & Hybrid .
  • Nomenclature: heel, toe, spine, toothline, sawback, etch, open/closed handles.
  • Dot your teeth with a sharpie.
  • How to look at the toothline without going bug-eyed.
  • Take your visual cue from the tooth leaning away from you.
  • Filing facets to keep your rake.
  • Angles Schmangles. Go with high noon for rip, one o’clock for hybrid, and two o’clock for x-cut. Flip, and then go with high noon for rip, eleven o'clock for hybrid, and 10 o'clock for x-cut..
  • Warm up on a crappy sawplate first.
  • How to file using proper body english (don’t be timid, hesitant, or lacking in self-worth).
  • Filing pattern: brush, grind, brush.

  • Backsaw maintenance and pre-sharpening overviewJelle.jpg
  • Tooth a saw plate.
  • Set teeth with a 1870’s vintage hammer set.
  • Joint the tooth line.
  • Shape the teeth.
  • Hand-file the teeth overview (and how to look at them without going bug-eyed).
  • How and when to stone the toothline.
  • Why and how to flex the sawplate to determine whether a saw issalvageable or not.
  • Hammer-smith a kinked and/or bowed sawplate (demonstration).
  • Disassemble a backsaw in its entirety.
  • How to mount the back of a traditional backsaw.
  • How to mount the handle.
  • Fastener removal, cleaning & repair.
  • Sawplate cleaning methods.
  • Retension a vintage backsaw (practical exercise).
  • DIY Horn Repair (discussion).
  • Build a dynamite saw shipping box.

    AlSharp.jpgSharpening and more sharpening
  • Safety considerations (use your dust mask and goggles, always).
  • Learn all about taper files and how to size them appropriate to pitch..
  • How to Walk Like an Egyptian. Remember the Bangles?
  • How to use sight, touch, and light reflection to dial in a toothline.
  • How to hold and push the file with good tips on body english and how to avoid common mistakes..
  • How to stone the toothline.
  • Practice, practice,practice, with 1-on-1 assistance..
  • Build your own Bad Axe, with complete access to all handles, plates, backs and fasteners. Don't worry--we'll help you get it dialed in with a custom fit and look, as if we were the one's building it for you.
    Back to QuickLinks.

  • Tom Fidgen's Terminal Learning Objectives for the Week

    Sawbench Build
  • Construction Theory
  • Practical Application
  • Advanced Techniques

  • Nothing like a video and step-by-step procedural explained by the author himself. Here are links to Tom's blog, where he'll walk you though the process of making these great tools:

    Online Tutorials, by Tom Fidgen

    Kerfing plane online tutorial, Part One

    Kerfing Plane online tutorial, Part Two

    Kerfing Plane online tutorial, Part Three

    Frame Saw online tutorial, Part One

    Frame Saw online tutorial, Part Two

    "The combination of these two tools will change the way you work and think about working wood with hand tools"

    --Tom Fidgen, Sep 2013

    Back to QuickLinks.

    Cost Analysis:

    $2,000 is a lot to lay out for a course, but if you'll do the math, you'll find that you're getting close to a $3,000 value to learn from the makers and have actual product to show for it at the end of the week. Here's a snapshot of what the product is worth, inclusive with the tuition.

    What you're getting for $2000
    Bad Axe Saw $250.00
    Bad Axe Bench Hook $44.95
    Four Training SawPlates $80.00
    Sawbench $275.00
    Kerfing Plane $225.00
    Frame Saw $350.00
    Shipping two large $200.00
    Daily Lunch $12.50
    Instruction x 2 $2,000.00
    Retail   $3,437

    Back to QuickLinks.

    Recommended tools to bring:

    Nothing beats having your own favorite tool to have on-site when working wood. It's up to you exactly what and how much to bring--but you will wind up what Tom recommends with the list below. If you don't have everything, chances are it will be here at the Bad Axe workshop. Just bring what you can.

    Preferred measuring tapes, square, rules & other joinery layout items
  • Pencil
  • 12 to 24" metal rule
  • 8 to 12" engineers/combination square
  • Scribing knife
  • Marking gauge
  • Sliding bevel gauge

    Dimensioning Tools
  • Jointing and/or Jack plane
  • Smoothing and block planes

    Joinery/Shaping Tools
  • Set of chisels
  • Mallet/hammer
  • Rip/cross cut backsaw
  • Bow and/or fret saw
  • Rasps and/or files
  • Drill bits
  • Brace and/or egg beater style drill

    "How the heck do I get to La Crosse, Wisconsin--and is it worth the trip?"

    BadAxeCty.jpg Getting here:
  • Fly in to La Crosse, WI (LSE) by way of Minneapolis/Saint Paul International Airport, a major hub for Delta Airlines.
    Back to QuickLinks.

    Recommended Place to Stay:
  • While there are a lot of great places to stay here in La Crosse, We have rooms blocked at the Raddisson right on the Mississippi River in downtown La Crosse. Contact the Hotel at 608-784-6680, and let them know you are with Bad Axe and attending the Sawlapalooza event.

  • In order to qualify for the Group Room Rate, attendees must make their reservations by the Reservation Due Date (30 days prior to arrival), and attendees must ask for the Bad Axe Tool Works rate when making their reservation. Any requests for special room arrangements must be made at the time of this reservation.

    Back to QuickLinks.

    Where to Eat: There are some seriously great places to eat here in La Crosse, and below you'll find the short list of some of our favorite culinary haunts downtown. All establishments listed below are within an easy five-minute walk from the Radisson.

  • Le Chateau French Cuisine Restaurant
  • Piggy's Restaurant
  • The Freight House Restaurant

  • Digger's Sting Family Style Restaurant
  • The Waterfront Restaurant and Tavern
  • Sushi Pirate
  • Four Sisters Wine Bar and Tapas Restaurant
  • The Rivoli Movie Theater and Pizzaria

    Back to QuickLinks.

    Where to have fun after-hours
    : The Bodega Brew Pub on 4th and Pearl is a great place to start--it's the center of the universe! Let's keep that part simple. This is the jumping-off place for the world-famous La Crosse, WI pub crawl.

    I've listed only three hotels and three restaurants--there are many more, of course. But I hope that if and when you do come to one of my seminars, that you have one helluva good time. These are my favorites establishments in town--all located within easy three-block radius from any of the hotels I've listed in La Crosse's historic downtown. The Bodega is a great watering hole to start with, after a day of metal filings and crosseyed tooth counts! Back to QuickLinks.


    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 traditional-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: