An Ugly Tool That Does the Job

Yesterday was a tool-making day. I have been making punch and die set for making bolsters and end caps for a new knife design. It is similar to the one I have made previously. Here you can see them with the first batch of punched prefabricates.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

This time I have disposed of the shafts and I have made two other additions.

One addition is that I have made two punches for each die. The first is for thicker materials and for pre-punching thinner materials. The second one is then for better punching the final form on a thinner material (1 mm). I want to use this thin material as much as possible for several reasons – it is much cheaper than massive 5 mm sheets, it is easier to fit the hole to the tang, it is lighter, and a lot faster to work overall.

The second addition is an overlay from bakelite to hold the roughly cut sheet in place for the pre-form punch. And this is where the titular ugly tool comes into play. Cutting and filing that old bakelite was a huge PIA, it clogs up teeth like glue. But I did find a way to cut the holes quickly and easily, once I drilled out the corners.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

What you see here is probably the ugliest half-assed tool ever made to meet the demand on the spot. I have used an old broken bandsaw blade, wrapped one end of the piece with twine and duct tape to make a handle, and voila! I had a pull-saw that could be quickly inserted into the drilled holes and that cut the material without getting clogged up because it has reasonably big teef. It did not work perfectly, but it was still much quicker than fiddling around with a coping saw. I may make a better handle that allows me to quickly use broken saw blades, or perhaps even new ones, in this manner.


  1. flex says

    It seems to me that years ago I saw a handle which could clamp down on bits of metal like sections of used bandsaw blades. If I recall correctly it was really designed for hacksaw blades, but could be used for a lot of different thinks you might want to grip.
    I think it used wingnuts to loosen and clamp. I don’t really know how well it worked.

  2. Ice Swimmer says

    This is almost the smallest justeeri (Finnish for two-man saw or Trummsäge) in the world. 8-) I wonder if it worked even better if you filed the back ends of the teeth sharp (that’s a lot of work though, and may not be ever be paid back in the more efficient sawing performance).

    Somewhat off-topic: I recently saw a video about a saw innovation that a guy in Eastern Finland had come up with, that wouldn’t be of much use in knife making but good for sawing for example troublesome branches high up on a tree: basically chainsaw chain with tungsten carbide teeth for cutting in both directions (alternating teeth) and a small shackle in each end, into which a handle or wire or chain could be fastened. The saw could be for example thrown on a branch and the branch sawn by pulling each end in an alternating fashion (how one avoids being hit with a falling branch, I don’t know, maybe sawing a bit from the side, upwind). This is a demo of the thing done by another guy from Eastern Finland (not the inventor).

  3. StonedRanger says

    While I get the gist of what the guy in the video was trying to do, but he would have done the same job faster and safer and use a lot less energy if he had left the chain on the chainsaw. The idea has been in use for decades, just google survival saws. Same thing, smaller scale.

  4. flex says

    To second what StonedRanger says, the guy in the video could have done better by using the chainsaw, or even better by using a circular saw or even a sabre saw. Cracky, if he wanted to use an unpowered saw, a regular hand rip-saw would have been better.

    I presume StonedRanger meant something like this from REI:

    The problem I have with these flexible hand saws is that they are far more difficult to prevent the branch you are taking down from peeling the bark with it. With a chainsaw you typically make a small cut under the branch first, which gives the branch some place to move when it weakens, and cuts through the back so it doesn’t peel down when the branch finally releases. If you are using an unpowered, but stiff saw, you can do the same thing easily enough. But with a flexible cutter, to do that you need to get the ends above the branch you are holding, which is very awkward. I’m not much of a fan of the flexible saws.

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