I wanted an intensely American look for these saws, so drew my inspiration from Disston, Simonds, Harvey Peace and Wheeler Madden Clemson. The Reconstruction period of the 1870’s/1880’s produced my personal favorite type of saws, and so have incorporated that look and feel for the Bad Axe saws with blued backs, highly figured handles and the flush sawnuts/bolts prevalent during that period. While these are largely cosmetic choices, that the design imperatives of handles with low hang and a plate gauge and filing most appropriate to the kind of work the customer requires trump all else..
Bad Axe Tool Works
The Reconstruction period of the 1870’s/1880’s produced my personal favorite type of saws, and so have incorporated that look and feel for the Bad Axe saws...
— Mark Harrell
Handles: Cherry speaks for itself. After sanding/polishing the wood down to 400 grit, we treat the wood with Watco Danish oil, then buff it out using Carnauba Wax on a Beall wood buffing system, which really pops the grain and protects the surface. I also offer handles in Walnut, Mesquite, Fiddleback Maple, and Apple when I can source rift and/or quartersawn stock.
Premium grade Swedish Spring Steel RC 50-52: The steel I use is a high-grade Swedish premium-grade spring steel measuring from .018 up to .0315 in thickness depending on the size of saw you order. Gauge thickness is carefully determined based on saw size, length, depth of plate under the back and utility for the type of saw.
Backs: I offer backs in standard hot-blued carbon steel and optional bright-polished stainless steel or black pearl nickel-plated carbon steel. The standard bluing constitutes a hot caustic salt bluing process that I’ve contracted with a master gunsmith to achieve, and it’s a firearms-grade finish. I also wanted to produce backs in stainless steel following the Disston tradition of offering backs in both blued and bright polished modes. I'm now offering an optional black pearl nickel-plated finish for carbon steel backs, which provides outstanding corrosion resistance and a great look--this is where form and substance converge.
Sawnuts/bolts: I chose the kind of flush-faced sawnuts/bolts commonly used in the 1870’s, with the deep-dished medallion sawnut, because again, it’s a traditional look from the Reconstruction era. I chose slotted sawbolts because split nuts are so easily deformed. I designed the fasteners such that only the sawbolts have to be unscrewed to remove the handle, leaving the sawnuts on the medallion side of the handle in place.