There are whole other worlds with different woodworking mindsets
and motor skills out there.
It has been pointed out by a few of
us that this group seldom ventures outside a well defined part
of the world when discussing unplugged traditional woodworking.
Most members of this group buy tools and employ methods that are
based in the British Isles and North America. There is a nod on
occasion to Japanese woodworking but there are few posts on
tools beyond planes, saws, and chisels.
There are whole other worlds with
different woodworking mindsets and motor skills out there. For a
little over a year I have been collecting tools from The Baltic
States and Balkans to assemble a “set” of tools that were used
by woodworkers in the past. I have concentrated my efforts in
Bulgaria and have not only put together an assemblage of tools
but also collected other wooden artifacts that were made with
One type of tool that is far
different than those in other parts of the world is the handsaw.
You know what our’s look like and probably use them frequently.
Bulgarian saws are quite different. They have almost no features
in common with ours except they have teeth. But, unlike our
saws, they cut on the pull stroke instead of a push stroke.
Their handles look oddly different than the ones on our saws. I
have sharpened and set several Bulgarian saws. They feel
different but cut the same as our saws.
The standard number of teeth on
these saws are 8 per inch and they are pitched to the rear. This
type of saw is called a “Turkish Saw”. That is because Bulgaria
was part of The Ottoman Empire for 500 years and saws of the
Turks became the norm.
That occupation set a different
trajectory for the way their technology evolved that was and is
different than to what we are accustomed.
The top saw is an 18th-Century saw typical of those used in The
Ottoman Empire. The saw plate is thin and it cuts on a pull
stroke. The bottom two saws are typical of those made used in
Bulgaria into the 1950’s. For scale, the top Ottoman saw has a
blade 11 1/2 inches in length beyond the handle.
This 18th-Century Ottoman saw has a forged iron bolster that
helps retain it to the handle.
These are not keyhole saws but normal Bulgarian handsaws.
I wager that less than 1% of the members of this group did know that Disston manufactured saws using the Turkish Pattern.
They stole the idea just
like I stole this image from Jim Bode as it appeared on
James E. Price