Bad Axe Tool Works 'American Kid' Back Saw: $175
(Delivery: 6-10 weeks)

Build Your saw and populate our queue with a $100 down payment * to be applied against the total cost of your order

Desired Toothline
Type Filing
Desired Pitch
Sawback Preference
Open or Closed Handle
Handle Species
Hand Size (how to measure)
Preferred Fasteners

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* Please note that your down payment is non-refundable. It may, however, be transferred within the Bad Axe product line if you wish to amend your order or change your order to a different saw.

MichelleTired of hovering over your kids when they're in the shop out of fear that they'll drop one of your high-end saws and break the handle?

Join the club. If your kids are anything like mine (7-year old girl & 9-year old boy), and if you're anything like me (helicopter Dad, sure, I'll admit it), it's really hard to just let them be after you've gifted them a saw for Christmas and shown them how to use it, right? After all--a child won't adopt your interest in woodworking or even hang out in the shop with you if you're constantly telling them: "Watch where you put that saw!" afraid that they'll knock it off the bench or step on it. After all--children act just like little kids, don't they?

So give them a tougher saw.
Something that won't break if it's dropped onto the floor, and with a slightly more durable plate with a filing that makes it easy to work with smaller physiques and hands.

Give them an American Kid.

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XX-Small, X-Small, Small and Regular sized handles available for your child's hand.

We will replace the handle with the next larger size as your child grows older, for a nominal fee of $25 (includes resharpening and adjustments as necessary).

Open or closed Wheeler Madden Clemson pattern standard shock-resistant Bad Axe CherryShock handles.

.02-gauge plate filed 14 ppi hybrid-cut for maximum flexibility in cutting, with relaxed rake at the toe end of the toothline for ease in starting.

Available in 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch toothlines.

Other alloys/finishes and wood species available per customer-selected option.


dropThe story behind our new shock-resistant handles. About once or twice a month, one of my customers will call in seeking a replacement handle after having accidentally swept their Bad Axe from benchtop to floor. We have now fielded shock-resistant handles in response to that scenario for those who use their tools hard, but don't want to compromise the natural beauty of a solid hardwood handle. Our new laminate handles fuse a top-quality 13-ply hardwood laminate with a genuine hardwood outer sheath. The 3/4" thick, 13-ply laminate is formed in perpendicular layers, resulting in a VERY tough and stable inner core with an attractive edge. We sheath the core with hardwood to enhance visual appeal. As for its durability? Frankly, a resin or plastic handle is tougher--but who wants a synthetic handle? Our laminate handle will dent slightly when dropped horns-first onto a concrete floor from a height of six feet, but that's about it. The horns sure as heck won't snap off, and the body won't check. Click onto my YouTube video on the left to see how this handle reacts to a 6' drop onto my workshop floor, and judge for yourself.

Hand Measurement

Sizing Handles that Fit Your Hand

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. Going the opposite direction, if the span of your hand measures in the 3 ΒΌ up to 3 1/2" range, then we're looking at a size small handle.

Return to sizing menu

"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.

Henry Disston established a historical precedent
for this kind of saw. Problem was, old Henry didn't have any daughters. See the ad on the left from 1923? The Disston family marketed childen's saws too, only these were called 'American Boy' saws. You can still find them on eBay. I bought one myself a few years ago for my son's 6th birthday. I knew then and there I was going to follow Henry's example. Particularly since my daughter seemed to demonstrate more interest in the shop than her brother. So initially, I was going to field a child's saw with genderized etches: 'American Boy' and 'American Girl.' But then I realized that between Tom Petty and the American Girl doll series, I might have a legal problem on my hands, so decided to opt for the gender-neutral 'American Kid.'

So--here's the answer to those of you with kids who tend to act like Curious George in the workshop. Channel that energy and fan their burgeoning interest in woodworking by giving them a real tool that fits, will withstand a little abuse, and works for smaller physiques; a tool they'll cherish, and will want to pass on down to their children someday.

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The American Kid from Bad Axe: It's a great alternative to X-Box.

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.

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