Canadian Woodworking

The saw tie

Author: Garnet Hall
Published: April May 2002

Every well-dressed woodworker should have a wooden tie. This project is fun to make and even more fun to wear.


This tie has some history. Two of my wooden ties were hanging on the set of “Home Improvement” for a few years. This is one of them. I sent two ties to the show after meeting Al at a wood show in the U.S. He really liked them and thought Tim would too. I had high hopes they would actually wear them on the show, at least once anyway. They did display them on the set, with each one hanging on either side of the window at the back of the set. Look for them next time you see a re-run.

Wooden ties are fairly easy to make. This one is the saw tie.

Transfer the pattern to the wood.

Start by transferring the project to the wood. I like to make a template, but gluing the pattern pieces to the wood will also work.

Cut the pieces out.

Cut carefully and the pieces will fit better. A good blade is important. I like a #7 precision skip or double tooth/reverse blade.

Assemble and check for fit.

Use a “light box” to see where the places are that are holding the pieces apart. Mark them and sand or cut these places down. You can also use a piece of carbon paper between the pieces. The high spots will be marked by the carbon paper and you will know where to sand or cut. Work away until you have all the pieces fitting within a saw kerf.

Choose your backing.

Backing for the tie can be leather, vinyl or even canvas. You want to use a material that bends easy and will last. Leather is the best and, of course, the most expensive. Heavy vinyl will wear out over time at the bend.

Glue up.

The next biggest problem is finding a good glue to attach the wood to the leather. I find a two-part epoxy for gluing leather to wood works the best. The next best is contact cement and finally, Barge cement (white carpenter’s glue will just peel off). It is easier to apply the wood finish before gluing the leather. It is also easier to glue the tie to a larger rectangle piece of leather and, after the glue dries, trim off the excess leather with a sharp knife.

I think you will have fun with this project. It will get a lot of comments I can guarantee it! The wood shades and species are only my suggestions. Feel free to use other woods.

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