Coping Saw Chronicles

December 14, 2017 61 Comments

Coping Saw Chronicles

The lowly coping saw is often the first introduction to a woodworking saw that a youngster encounters. It was for me. I was eight or nine years old when my father clamped the small block of pine into a vise on his workbench.  I had carefully drawn the outline of what was sure to be the fastest Pinewood Derby car ever made. Though he had a nice Delta band saw about four feet away, Dad felt it was important that I do all the work myself. I stood on a stool so I could reach. Up down, up down, with great effort, concentration and determination, my little hands gripped the bulbous handle and I chewed away at my line. First on one side and then the other as the blade wandered to and fro by some uncontrollable force. After what felt like hours, I finally made it all the way around my outline, though by that time there was only a slight resemblance to my original intent. It certainly wasn't perfect, but I did it myself and I was very proud. Much work with files and sandpaper restored the general shape and I was soon off to the races.

My experience with a coping saw must have embedded itself deep within me. It surfaced again about 40 years later when I began to learn about woodworking with hand tools. I discovered there had not been any advancement in coping saw technology in 40 years! Probably 100 or more! Soon after starting Blue Spruce Toolworks, the Knew Concepts saw hit the market with a splash. I used the saw for several years and though it was a nice saw and worked much better than the common coping saw, I wanted something even better, and so the journey began. What follows is the design process of a tool, however the same process can be applied to furniture or other design projects. Here is the abridged chronicle of my improved coping saw design.

Design for me begins in my head and then quick sketches remind me what I was thinking about. No real details, just simple thoughts. Often it will be days, weeks or perhaps months or even years between sketches. At other times volumes of sketches pour forth as concepts and details start to come together.

My first sketch was back in May of 2015. It was just a few lines, a concept for locking blade rotation and a one piece I-beam style frame with overstuffed wood infills. Certainly nothing fancy or well thought out.

Sometime later in May, detail ideas were running through my mind and I put them to paper. Many ideas may not work out but don’t be afraid to capture them. Often a poor idea can lead to a good idea down the road or you can use a portion of an idea to create something new.

With enough sketches and details starting to come together, I started work on a CAD model to begin to analyze size constraints, proportions and details.

The results were.....BORING!  A big yawn, that is what I was creating. I was focusing on many of the mechanical details and lost sight of the aesthetics. I mentally crumpled up those ideas and made a three point swish. It was time to let the mind run free for a while; have some fun without worrying too much about reality.

Other priorities happened and I set the project aside for a while and came back to it in August of 2016. Freeing up the mind can often lead to breakthroughs. When you get stuck in a design rut, change it up, work on something else, take some time off, try a clean sheet of paper. It was at this time I began to explore the possibility of not releasing blade tension while rotating the blade. This would allow the saw to be used in a scrolling function; something that no current saw was capable of (that I am aware) and would save time when setting the rotation angle of the blade. Lots of ideas began to take form once again. It is often one detail or design element that precipitates the creative process.

It was time to try and put everything together in a new CAD model. I also started to explore different frame ideas and blade rotation locking details. Don’t be afraid to pull out a clean sheet of paper and try again! And again!

From this stage to the final version there were countless hours of refining, mock-ups, test pieces, prototypes, re-designs and still more refinements. I took an initial prototype to the Handworks show in Amana, Iowa May 2017 for customer feedback. The design was fresh, exciting and well received. A few further refinements were made, and the final version entered into production August of 2017 with a target launch date of November, two and a half years after the initial sketch! Running a business can slow things down. No, it has not actually launched yet. I am waiting on a few parts but it should be ready very soon!  It is often said "the devil is in the details" and this is true whether it is a new tool or a new sideboard. Take the time required to work out the details. Set the design aside and come back to it with fresh eyes. What may have looked good yesterday can make you wonder what you were thinking the next day. These refinements will pay off.

Here is the final CAD model of the production version:

Some parts awaiting assembly:

Highlights of the saw include a very strong multi-piece frame that utilizes ultra-stiff pultruded carbon fiber composite beams, High strength aluminum arms and rotation bosses, stainless steel hardware and gracefully shaped, fluted hardwood handles.  The high tension blade can be rotated freely or locked into eight positions with a simple turn of the captured thumbwheels. Blade tension is set with the front cap and locked into place with a tightening of the handle.

Several finishes will be offered for the frame including anodized clear or black aluminum, Blue Spruce green or medium or dark blue ceramic coatings and optional custom colors.  Hardware will be available in either black or silver. Handles will be available in figured maple, Africa Blackwood and Cocobolo as well as possible custom options.  This will allow you to create your own, personalized saw.

A further advantage of the saw is the ability to convert from coping saw blades to fret saw blades with a simple adapter.  This feature greatly enhances the versatility of the saw allowing a great selection of blade choices.

The next steps are waiting for the remaining components to be machined, perform final assembly checks, create the website order pages, finalize packaging, write an instruction manual, and to finally take orders.  Like most Blue Spruce Toolworks products, we build to order to allow full customization and may even offer some limited edition options.  It has been a long journey and almost 50 years after my first encounter with a coping saw, I am very excited to premier the best coping saw ever made!

When it is finally launch time I will post another blog with all of the options and ordering instructions.  For those who follow me on Instagram and emailed me to get on the list for the first 50 saws, I will be contacting you via email before the end of December.

Dave

 




61 Responses

Rick Lucier
Rick Lucier

January 31, 2019

I would like to get in line for your new coping/fret saw. It sounds great.
Rick Lucier
300 Wimberley Hills Dr
Wimberley TX 78676

Brian
Brian

October 18, 2018

I’d like to be on the list for a coping saw. Any idea of a release date & options yet?

Thanks,
Brian

William Adams
William Adams

October 18, 2018

Thank you for sharing your design thought process! (and appreciate the Pinewood Derby story - mine was similar, but involved a pocket knife) - I’d love to be added to the list of folks to get the saw. Thanks!

Simon W
Simon W

October 18, 2018

Hi Dave,
I’m interested in the new saw, and would welcome any notification or consideration for purchase. I live in Australia.
Thanks!

Ryan
Ryan

October 18, 2018

Sign me up for a saw please. Thanks.

Joe Frucci
Joe Frucci

January 12, 2018

Hey Dave,

If not too late please add me to your list.

Joe Williams
Joe Williams

January 06, 2018

I want to be on the list for a saw! I had no idea this even existed until today!

Piet Dijk
Piet Dijk

January 02, 2018

Hallo Dave, what is the reason of removing my message? I wrote you to put my on your list,because the design is so beautiful

Piet Dijk
Piet Dijk

January 01, 2018

Hi Dave, it looks great, please put me on the list for the green one,

and a happy New Year from the Netherlands,

Piet Dijk

Albert Dao
Albert Dao

December 30, 2017

This looks amazing. Any room on that list for a Canuck?

Merle Hidinger
Merle Hidinger

December 26, 2017

Hi Dave,
Please add me to the list for the new coping saw.
Thanks,
Chip in Virginia

Merle Hidinger
Merle Hidinger

December 26, 2017

Hi Dave,
Please add me to the list for the new coping saw.
Thanks,
Chip in Virginia

Scott Johnson
Scott Johnson

December 25, 2017

I own several Blue Spruce tools, and as always the coping saw is all attention to detail! I’m looking forward to placing my order as soon as they are available.

Daniel Santos
Daniel Santos

December 24, 2017

Please place me on your list of individuals that would like one of your coping saws when they become available. Thanks and Merry Christmas!

Martyr
Martyr

December 18, 2017

Hi Dave, I’m very interested in one depending on price point.
Marty Reser

Dave
Dave

December 18, 2017

If still open, I’d also like to get on the advanced order list. Thanks

Cliff Buccicone
Cliff Buccicone

December 18, 2017

I would like to be placed on your order list for a saw. I purchased my first Blue Spruce tools this fall and am very impressed with the quality of your tools. I’m sure the coping saw will be as good or better than the chisels I’m using almost every day.

Ron Casden
Ron Casden

December 18, 2017

Dave, your methodical design approach and commitment to the best in form and function paid off brilliantly. Please add my name to your list of eager buyers. Thanks, Ron

Ian Jaques
Ian Jaques

December 17, 2017

Please add me to the list for the coping saw when they are ready for purchase

Timothy Calderwood
Timothy Calderwood

December 17, 2017

Looks very enticing—maybe a “cut” above the others? :) Please add me to your ever growing list!

Brian Cunfer
Brian Cunfer

December 16, 2017

Looks impressive. Put me on the list for an order

Steve Shaw
Steve Shaw

December 16, 2017

Hey there Dave,

I’ve been waiting since handworks, so please add me to the list as well. I can hardly wait!

Stephen Redgewell
Stephen Redgewell

December 16, 2017

I have a Japanese one it drives me mad. Great concept, add me to the waiting list as well.

John Dickens
John Dickens

December 16, 2017

Dave, please add me to your list

Luis E Mercado
Luis E Mercado

December 16, 2017

Please add me to the coping saw waiting list. Thanks!

Bill Frederick
Bill Frederick

December 16, 2017

Please add me to your list it looks like a fantastic saw with all the extras that are needed to be able to do a great job. Thanks

Daniel Hoffman
Daniel Hoffman

December 16, 2017

I hate my current not so coping saw. Please add me, too.

Syl Mongeon
Syl Mongeon

December 16, 2017

Great concept. Enjoyed you taking us through the concept to output phases. Would it be possible to also add me to the list if there is still time please? Many thanx.

Michael J Price
Michael J Price

December 16, 2017

A great story and insight on the creative process. Like all your tools, looks top shelf! Definitly interested in having one when they become available, I’m sure your list is long!
Michael

Brian R Morrison
Brian R Morrison

December 16, 2017

I use Blue Spruce tools. Please add me to the wait list. I would like to add this tool to my tool box.

william clauson
william clauson

December 15, 2017

A+…the poetry of the whole process is a beauty to behold! I’m enlisted too.

Charles Daugherty
Charles Daugherty

December 15, 2017

Saw design looks beautiful but will look incredible with a clear finish & blackwood handle. Please add me to the list.

Richard Geist
Richard Geist

December 15, 2017

I would like to purchase the coping saw. Please put me on the list.

Greg Pasley
Greg Pasley

December 15, 2017

Hi Dave,
Please add me to the wait list for the new coping saw. I thank you!
Greg

Ernie Collamati
Ernie Collamati

December 15, 2017

Great looking design! Please add me to the list.

John
John

December 15, 2017

Please contact me when you are ready to sell as a hand tool enthusiast I am all in

George B
George B

December 15, 2017

Sweet…I want one!

Rick Bowles
Rick Bowles

December 15, 2017

Looks terrific, sign me up for one Dave. Best, Rick

Adam Riebeling
Adam Riebeling

December 15, 2017

Great post! I’ve already scratched the Knew Concepts saw off my want list.

Stephen Loeser
Stephen Loeser

December 15, 2017

Please let me know when it’s available as I’m very interested. Thanks
Steve

John Getz
John Getz

December 15, 2017

Great looking design, please add my name to the list. Happy Holdidays,

John

Larry Burns
Larry Burns

December 15, 2017

Saw looks great! Please place me on your list! Cheers,

Bob Jackson
Bob Jackson

December 15, 2017

Looks like a great saw; no surprise there! Please add me to the list.

Greg Kimball
Greg Kimball

December 15, 2017

Could I be included on the waiting list please?

James Schooley
James Schooley

December 15, 2017

Looking forward to the great unveiling of the new saw. Please let me know when it’s ready to order. I’m interested in seeing your new addition and would like to add it to my tool arsenal.

Jerry Potestivo
Jerry Potestivo

December 15, 2017

Please let me know when it’s available

Daniel
Daniel

December 15, 2017

Hi Dave,
I also would love to purchase one, if I could be added to the list.

Merry Christmas!

Doug Jines
Doug Jines

December 15, 2017

Great story Dave!
Please add me to the waiting list.

Richard Poitras
Richard Poitras

December 15, 2017

Please add me to the waiting list for one of the coping saws.
Michael McCurley
Michael McCurley

December 15, 2017

sign me up.

Shaun Mirams
Shaun Mirams

December 15, 2017

Hi Dave
Your intro story brought back fond memories and a big smile, I will now forever cherish that thought every time I pick it up to use. Please add me to the list. Thanks

Eric S.
Eric S.

December 15, 2017

Looks great! I really like the insight to the process…

If you have a list started i’dlike To be added…Again great Job!

David Cameron
David Cameron

December 15, 2017

Was at your shop this summer and saw your prototype. Asked to be put on your list of the first 50 buyers but never heard back. Am I on that list????

Mark
Mark

December 15, 2017

I am very interested in the “better idea” coping saw. Please let me know when I can order one.

Thanks,
Mark

Steve Kindem
Steve Kindem

December 15, 2017

HI Dave,

I’ll take one too!

Loc Vetter
Loc Vetter

December 15, 2017

Please place me on the waiting list for two saws, Maple handle.

Thank you.

Damon Casemore
Damon Casemore

December 15, 2017

Put me on the list.

Eric Broque
Eric Broque

December 15, 2017

Saw looks terrific. I sent you some suggestions for names awhile back when you asked for ideas, so I’m curious now what name you finally selected? A great design deserves a distinctive name.

William Boecklen
William Boecklen

December 15, 2017

I am quite impressed with the design of the new saw. Please add me to the waiting list.

Jack Palmer
Jack Palmer

December 14, 2017

I can already see, I may have to have two of them??

Martin Green
Martin Green

December 14, 2017

Hi Dave
Can I get on the waiting list for the new coping saw please , I saw the prototype at Handworks vety impressive I’m sure they will sell like hot cakes

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