Filing a Lamb’s Tongue…

So I recently acquired a nice old Disston #7 in need of a handle from one of my Woodnet connections (Thanks Dave!) Judging from the medallion and etch, which is clearly visible, I’d say it dates from just before the turn of the century…

Prior to my taking possession, it seems that the previous owner out of spite, or perhaps a sick sense of humor, installed a tote on this poor old saw that more resembled an oven mit than a device to comfortably operate and control the saw blade. Thankfully though the devious bastard did at least retain the original nuts and said medallion in the installation.

Since I don’t happen to have a proper donor handle on hand, that means I have to make a new one….which is a fun project indeed.

I selected a nice piece of figured maple that was just big enough for the handle  pattern, which I sketched from another #7 and an old Atkins rip saw…its a hybid of the two and kind of has that old school vibe to  it…here it is roughed out and ready to be contoured…

I slotted the handle, drilled and counter bored for the nuts and installed it to take a look…

Looks good so far. Next I contour the handle and I’m ready to define the lamb’s tongue, which is the focus of this post.

The last time I made a handle with a lamb’s tongue I carved it in with a Two Cherries 1/2 inch carving chisel (coincidently given to me by the same guy that sold me this very #7…thanks again, Dave!!!) But this time I wanted to try a different approach, so I decided to use a triangle file to create the carved detail of the tongue. I do this because I’m curious if this is the way factory workers would have originally created the detail on the saw’s original handle way back in Philly where this saw was born. I’m not aware of the methods used to create the lamb’s tongue’s in Disston’s factories…no literature I’ve read reveals this point, but I’m wondering if files were in fact the way they did it.

I started by drawing a pencil line connecting the two points of the handle where the tongue will be defined….then I use a knife to define the line. This knife line will guide the first few strokes of the file by creating a trough for the file to follow…

I use two files to create the tongue detail….a six inch double extra slim, and a seven inch slim taper. I start with the smaller file and just make level, even strokes along the knife line with moderate pressure. The file cuts very quickly. As it does, I begin to rock the file by tipping the toe and handle end up and down as i stroke back and forth to round and define the separation between the tongue and the main handle section. Here’s a look after a few strokes…

Now I switch to the larger file and further refine the groove created at first. Now I tip the file into the finger cutaway and round that area away to create that oh-so-cool illusion that the tongue is just touching the rest of the handle and not actually attached.

 

A little more filing and here’s the tongue all filed up…

I’m pleased with the way it came out. It will need a little more refining with sand paper, but it was certainly much quicker and easier than carving it…from start to finish for both sides, it was about ten minutes. I think from now on, I’ll file my tongues. Again, not sure how they did it in the factory, but I like the results.

I’ll finish up the handle and get it installed soon….I’ll post the finished saw along with my thoughts on its mysteriously thin plate…..stay tuned!

Published in: on November 9, 2010 at 7:47 pm  Comments (7)