Making a Replacement Handle for a Knew Concepts Saw

Back in October I bought a Knew Concepts saw at the Woodworking in America marketplace in Covington, KY. I always heard that the biggest complaint about the saws were that they came with a cheap handle that didn’t fit with the looks of the saw. I was willing to live with the handle for awhile until I had the time to make a replacement, but I did think it was uncomfortable. In fact, the more I held it, the more I hated it. There is a company on the internet who sells replacement handles for Knew Concept saws out of exotic wood, but those handles are thicker than the original. I don’t want something that is thicker, I want a handle that is thinner.

Then a few weeks ago, I saw this antique knife sharpener in an antique store. I didn’t care about the knife sharpener part. What interested me was the feel of the handle. I knew as soon as I grabbed it, it would make a great replacement for my Knew Concepts saw. So, I ended up buying the knife sharpener simply to use the handle as a template.

In order to make a new handle, I needed to take the old one off. The handle on the Knew Concepts saw had a small little cotter pin that needed to be removed. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a special tool to get the thing out, so I had to do it the old fashioned way.

I basically had to trash the handle in order to get it off. I drilled through cotter pin and tore into the handle to remove all the wood around the pin in order to grab the pin out with a pair of pliers.

Now needed a piece of wood nice enough to make a new handle. I bought a slab of apple from a guy on eBay and cut off about 10″ from the end.

I then milled the piece into two 1″ pieces and a third piece to 1/2″

I took one of the 1″ thick slabs and milled 1″ square blanks. Each blank will be used as handles for something or another.

I attached the apple blank into my lathe and turned a new handle using the knife sharpener handle as a template. The handle is nothing fancy, but it is comfortable to hold.

The handle is turned and sanded. The end of the handle where the ferrule goes is 5/8″ in diameter because the inside of the copper fitting I used to be the ferrule of the handle is 5/8″ in diameter.

I used a 5/8″ socket wrench while the handle was on the lathe and used the wrench as a gauge to know when to stop when I turned it to size with my parting tool. As you can see, the fitting fits perfectly over the ferrule end of my handle. I trimmed the extra part of the copper fitting flush to the end of the handle with a hack saw.

The biggest challenge in making the handle fit, is cutting the mortise slot into the end. I found the center of the handle and carefully drilled an 1/8″ hole straight down the shaft. I then took an 1/8″ chisel and cut a rectangular mortise down the hole. Carefully checking every few minutes, I took my time and pared away the wood so that the entire tang of the saw would eventually fit snuggly into the handle.

Once everything fit well, I figured out where the hole of the tang lined up with the copper ferrule and drilled an 1/8″ hole through the copper. A 16 penny nail fits perfectly into the 1/8″ hole to act as the pin. I cut the nail to size and hammered it with a ball peen hammer to act as a rivet. I also used some JB Weld in the hole to give everything a bit more strength.

With a little oil on the handle, here it is. A Knew Concepts with a much more comfortable handle ready for years of use.

Woodworking in America

I stopped by the Marketplace at The Woodworking in America show in Covington, KY today after work. Living in Cincinnati I’m spoiled that I get to waltz right in like it’s no big deal when the majority of people who attend have to make travel plans and hotel accommodations. I attended the first WIA a few years back in Berea, KY and had a blast listening to presenters like Roy Underhill, Brian Boggs and Frank Klaus. However, the money has been too tight for me to afford to attend any of the seminars since then.

I picked up a few things while I was there, nothing much. I mainly went there to buy the book “By Hand & Eye” by George Walker and Jim Tolpin. I’ve read good things about it and knew Lost Art Press would have a booth so leaving with that was a no-brainer. I also picked up a couple of DVDs about using SketchUp. I’ve been wanting to learn how to use this design software for years but after fiddling around with it in the past, it never clicked. Hopefully the DVD’s will make a light bulb go off in my head.

I stopped by the Knew Concepts booth and looked at their fret saws again. I see them every year but they never bring any inventory to sell. They would give me a card and tell me to go on the website and use it for free shipping. Every year I took the card and just forgot about it. Well not this year. They finally brought saws to sell so I bought one.

I’ve wanted one of these saws for a few years now. They are much stronger and hold the blade much stiffer than an ordinary coping saw. I’ll use it mainly for cutting the waste out of dovetails as well as some fret work from time to time. The difference between a Knew Concepts saw and a coping saw is night and day. I may turn a new handle for it out of cocobolo to beautify it someday, but I’m in no rush for that.

With my Knew Concepts saw, my coping saw is perfectly happy in his new home.

All in all, the Woodworking in America is a good show that’s worth going to. It’s not like The Woodworking Show that travels around the country. It’s mainly focused on hand tool woodworking so you won’t find a lot of power tools or boxes of discount belt sander sanding belts. About three quarters of the vendors focus on hand tools which is fine by me.

I was disappointed not to see Welch chair maker Don Weber again this year. He hasn’t attended in a couple of years and I’m not sure if he will again. I took a blacksmithing class from him a few years ago at his shop in Paintlick, KY. He’s extremely knowledgeable about woodworking and a hell of a craftsman, as well as down right a nice guy. I did talk to a few young chair makers who were selling some sweet ass chair making tools. I wanted to buy a drawknife sharpener and adjustable calipers but my funds were already spent. I got their cards so maybe sometime down the road I’ll buy them off the internet.