Optimized musical handsaws

Traditional Musical Saws Made Better!

Here at the Musical Saw Shop, I offer more than just my own Stradsaws!  If you love the old musical handsaws - like the antique Mussehl &Westphal shown in the picture above - I have a very unique service: musical saw optimization!  

All handsaws - whether or not they were specifically made for music - are very limited in both their available note ranges and especially in the quality of their bottom notes.  Why is this? Let me briefly educate you:

  • The taper is insufficient.  The note range of a saw blade is determined by the degree of angle of the sloping sides.  If the blade has too little angle, it can only play an octave or two.  Handsaws generally have insufficient taper.  The tip of the blade is usually too wide - this can be remedied with great results!
  • There is no insulation between the blade and the wood of the handle.  This results is "handle interference" noise - which makes the lowest notes pretty much unplayable.  This problem can be remedied, with excellent results!
  • The finish of both the wood and the blade are very rough - a defect which is thinly disguised by cheap lacquer varnish!  The lacquer is basically a plastic coating which partially muffles the blade's sound.  The lacquer on the wood is not the best finish - especially considering that underneath the coating, the wood was left surprisingly rough.  This is another problem that can be fixed!

To Optimize a handsaw, here is what I do:

  • I correct the taper of the blade.  The tip will be narrower, and the note range will be increased by one to two octaves - at least!  I can remove the teeth to improve both the sound and the safety of the saw - or I can leave the teeth intact!
  • I install a vibrational barrier material between the metal of the blade and the wood of the handle.  The saw kerf is slightly widened to accommodate the combined thickness of the blade and the insulation.
  • I remove all of the factory lacquer from the wood and the blade.  It will be replaced by genuine oil varnish, which brings out the beauty of the wood grain.  The blade will be correctly protected with a micro-crystalline wax polish, following the application of Boe Shield - the compound used on Boeing aircraft!  This protectant leaves the metal free to vibrate...
  • I thoroughly re-surface the blade:  It is carefully ground to a soft, very smooth sheen through over a dozen grits of abrasive - finishing at 900-grit!
  • I carefully finish-sand and polish the wood of the handle.  I then hand-engrave it, turning it into a real work of art!
  • I can replace the old binding screws with nicer, hex-drive screws in black or natural stainless steel.
  • I make a matching saw cheat just for each optimized saw - it's included as part of the job!

Why Optimize?

It is now possible to have a traditional musical handsaw that can play a big note range and have  greatly improved low notes.  The appearance of the wood and the metal can be  improved through fine sanding and the correct varnish and protectant.

Any handle can be fitted with a concert-quality Stradsaw blade, which has a full four-octave note range.  


Optimized handsaws will be listed for sale here, as they become available.  The cost is quite reasonable - less than what I charge for my Stradsaws.

I can also Optimize your old, special handsaw for a reasonable cost - contact me if you are interested!

Optimized handsaws for sale

Sold Out - Next Saw Coming in Late March 2020 - Stay Posted!