By now you know the mystery box contents revealed the bow saw from Gramercy Tools. The box was much larger than I anticipated, and for a very good reason: The saw was completely assembled, a nice and unexpected touch.
After unpacking and tensioning the blade per the enclosed instructions (two turns of the toggle), I had to take the saw for a test drive. With a few box blanks handy, I tested it by cutting waste between pins and tails of a small box – it felt great in my hand, was easy to control with only one hand; and it cut beautifully with the 18TPI blade already mounted, ready to cut in push mode, which I prefer:
Broken down into its component pieces, with a 6-inch rule for reference:
The results of the test drive follow. First I tried a larger pin:
I then tried a smaller pin, about 2-½ kerfs wide, showing the tails on the poplar board – no paring after chopping what little remained after cutting the bulk of the waste with the bow saw:
The walnut (pins) board:
This short trial showed me I have great control of the bow saw, even in narrow, small places. It will be the ideal tool for delicate, intricate curve work. This is possible by the use of thin, narrow blades (only 1/8-inch wide). I also learned that it is best to use the full length of the blade when cutting; doing so greatly improves its turning ability in close quarters.
As I was drafting this I did a quick search, and found a December 2006 review of the bow saw by Christopher Schwarz. He gave it a glowing review – I totally agree with his conclusions – this is a great saw to have in the tool arsenal!