Florida West Coast Woodworkers

Serving Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte Co

Month: October 2015

October General meeting – Phil Bakers Saws

There were 29 members present and 2 guests, our speaker, Phil Baker, and Gonzalo Suarez.


Phil Baker was our presenter. He collects historic hand saws (not power). His favorite type is the back saw, and he brought some examples. One was made in 1760 and another in 1835. Some tidbits: Most saw makers began as file makers. All back saws of less than 12 inches have the same angle (hang) to the handle. The tapered blade gives you a chance to see what you are sawing. The gauge saw had been designed to set the depth of cut with a metal piece, but these are no longer made. A 6” saw was made to cut dovetails, clock parts or miniatures. Saws that cost $2.50 then are selling for $600 now. And he spoke of the process of restoring old saws. He  showed us several examples of his saws including the oldest know saw made in America around 1760.IMG_1415 IMG_1414 IMG_1413 IMG_1412 IMG_1412

Club Business

Turners’ Meet October 20, Denny Wetter’s house

Shop Meet, October 26, also at Joe Manke’s house

Next general meeting is November 11, and will be held at Bee Ridge Park

Holiday Party, December 9 at Advantage Lumber, sign up

Terry Bair: Wood and Tool Show, March 18-20

John Slezak: Missing in America Project, needs urns and/or wood

Third Quarter Show & Tell Drawing Winner: Denny Wetter

Show & Tell

Terry Bair—tawny eagle/dryad puzzle

Fred Damianos—floating corner shelves

John Philips—turned vase

More Phil Baker

I had the pleasure of driving Phil to the meeting and home last week and he told me some interesting stories. I also visited his house and shop several months ago and I have attached some pictures.

I first heard about Phil on Youtube when he was interviewed by Josh Farnsworth at a Midwest Tool Collectors meeting. Here’s that video.

Phil told me he is 87 years old. He is still restoring historic homes. His latest is the Higel house in Venice which he just finished.IMG_1438He made all 30 window for it from scratch. Here are some of the window parts in his shop.IMG_1148 IMG_1147 IMG_1149 IMG_1153Here are some of the sashes stacked up and waiting to be installed in the house.IMG_1441    And, here are the ones that have been installed.  IMG_1440

I also saw some of his 690 back saws while I was visiting.

IMG_1152 IMG_1155 IMG_1151 IMG_1150He also has a small collection of butcher saws hanging in his shop IMG_1146

Phil told me that he once restored an old church, I dont remember where it was, that had a 172′ tower. The architect ask him why  the chandlers were swaying when the wind blew. He put up some scaffolding and removed some trim to find that the beams that were supporting it could be scooped out with his hand. They complete redid that old church to it’s original design  with out the tower falling down .

Phil is a fascinating character and I hope I will be able to visit him some more!