Either I’m getting taller or my eyes are getting
worse, and the horse I copied from one of my uncle’s and have
been using for almost 40 years now is a bit too short these
I’ve always been interested in trying the Cornish “saw grip”
from the UK on Alice Frampton’s Cornish Workshop web site.
Pennsylvania Dutch birdsmouth design on the right is simple and
lightweight for toting around, but once the saw is tapped home
in the wedged vise jaws, it’s easier to pick the whole horse up
and reverse it than it is to reverse the saw to change sides.
The softwood birdsmouth is cut 7 degrees from vertical and
reinforced with a carriage bolt to prevent it from splitting,
and the hardwood jaws are beveled to 8 degrees so the mouth
bites high on the jaw taper, forcing the jaw edges tight on the
sawblade above. The saw requires a mallet to install and remove,
which over time is hard on the jaws.
This horse has a 50” working height, with 6 X 30 X 3/4” jaws set
in uprights of 1 3/8 X 3 3/8 X 48” jointed by mortise and tenon
to two ¾” rails cut to provide an overall frame width of 20”.
This one is on its third set of jaws and is spruce and cherry
with holly jaws.
The Cornish vise is more sophisticated with a hinged jaw bearing
against a fixed jaw….
….secured by a loose bar riding in slots in the uprights and
bearing on two
hardwood wedges screwed to the bottom of levers which are in
turn screwed to the moving jaw. Sweet...
Here for weight I used a
7/8” steel bar salvaged from an old wrench, instead of a lighter
hardwood dowel that would have to be tapped home a bit harder.
The specifics of the Cornish design allowed a carpenter to
quickly fabricate one of these on a job site using the lumber
and framing saws at hand. I used a bit more time and tools to
reduce and refine the scantlings a bit, and will only mention
the dimensions I changed from the original plan.
The frame was got out of three VG Doug Fir 2 X 4’s I used last
year for concrete forms, the uprights measuring 1 5/16 X 3 1/8 X
52 1/2” and tapered from the center rail to the feet, allowing
an overall working height of 53 ½”.