Frame saws - bow saws. #2: A simple frame saw - part two

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Blog entry by mafe posted 09-12-2011 02:00 PM 10330 reads 3 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: A simple frame saw (even if they call it a bow saw). Part 2 of Frame saws - bow saws. series Part 3: Swans and bones – Frame saw for coping (blog) »

A simple frame saw.
part two.

I dedicate this blog to or LJ buddy WayneC, you know why.

This is a blog about making a simple frame saw step by step.

Last blog ended where we had made the tenons for the frame, and we had actually also cut the top of the saw to length.
In this blog we start fitting the blade.
First position the blade and mark with a pencil where the blades top and bottom are.
At the side with no handle the blade shall be just a hair over the saw end.
At the side with handle the blade must be parallel to the crossbar and then you mark top and bottom of the blade.
(I hope that makes sense – look at the picture).

There are many ways to fasten the blade, this is the most simple, a nail.
I will follow the simple road on this saw with no fittings.

First the side bar without the extra handle.
Fix it in your wise and mark a line down the center, it is a good idea to use a marking knife so you cut into the wood.
(Here I use one that is from Korea and a gift from my sister, recommended by my Korean LJ friend Poisson thank you both.).

Saw down the line, and saw a hair deeper than the thickness of the saw blade you will use in the saw.
Then fit in the blade.
It is important that you choose a saw with a saw blade of the same thickness or a little thinner when you make this cut so the blade will be held by the wood (if possible you can use the loose blade for the sawing).
(If you make a saw with no handle then just repeat this on the other side).

Now we go to the bar with the handle.
Put your marks to the face of the bar and find the center.

Drill a small hole through the bar.
The size must fit your jeweler saw blades or fret saw blades thickness.

Now I use a jeweler saw.
(And managed to take a blurry picture of it…).

Mount the blade through the hole.
Saw down to the mark and a hair extra.
Then turn the blade and saw the other part.

Now you have a fine hole where your saw blade can go through.
(Almost magic…).

Remember the crack in last blog…
Well now I discovered it and put the saw under tension, and look what happened!
Learning by doing.
10 minutes later I have made a new, and I got some training, so nothing is so bad, that something good don’t come out of it at the end (Danish saying).

Here a picture of the new saw blade hole.

Now make sure the frame is square.
Lay the blade on top of the saw frame.
Mark the holes of the saw blade.
(The handle of my awl is also made from a piece of parasol).

Drill a hole through the frame.
(I use a push drill, they make no noise).

Mark the thickness of the frame on the nail.
And then cut it of to length.

Mark where the blade meets the edge of the saw.

Bang the nail in.
(Here I use my Sweet little Miss Debbie hammer and send her a thought).

As I said I wanted a little upgrade from the nails, so I bend some brass rod.
Cut of one end as the nails in thickness of the saw and leave the other end quite long so it is easy to get hold of since I want the saw to be easy put apart.

Now I cut a little piece of scrap, thickness of app one third of the frame bars.
This is going to be the tension arm for the saw.
It will need to be as long as the top arm and a little more than the width of the cross bar extra.
(Look at next picture).

Now time to make half a hole to attach the tension string.
I fasten a piece of scrap wood to outside of the end of the side bars.

And then drill a hole app the thickness of the bar down and right in the gap between the scrap and the frame.

So now I can attach the string.
I use a nylon cord, but the string just need to be strong and not too flexible.

At the end of the tension stick I file a little half circle.

Then tighten the tension string by turning the tension stick around until the blade is tight.
And now we have a saw!
(You can over tension a saw, so try carefully to find the best spot. On my Swans & Bones saw you can see a more advanced tension stick that can be adjusted half turns).

Test cutting.
Notice the wonderful grip I have due to the handle.

Test cuts (the two on the top).
Yes it can be used for dovetails Rand.

A nice pair of friends.

Here wrapped up and ready to take on the go.
Compared to the dovetail saw in size.

MaFe has left the building!

The end.

My Swans &v Bones frame saw here:

An old Danish frame saw I just brought back to life:

Hope this blog will inspire others to give it a go on the frame saws,

Best of thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

8 comments so far

View patron's profile


13712 posts in 4257 days

#1 posted 09-12-2011 02:20 PM

well done mads

as always

i made one once
(i had a small band saw that kept breaking blades)

all i had was band saw blades
and found i could drill holes in them

so that’s what i used for the blade

it worked just fine
and with different width blades
will do different circle cutting
(just like the band saw)

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4589 days

#2 posted 09-12-2011 03:47 PM

Well done.

View Mauricio's profile


7166 posts in 4067 days

#3 posted 09-12-2011 03:50 PM

Cooll little saw Mads, thanks for sharing.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 3417 days

#4 posted 09-12-2011 04:33 PM

Great job Mads – and an easy blog to follow.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View PurpLev's profile


8601 posts in 4564 days

#5 posted 09-12-2011 04:51 PM

wonderful blog and a wonderful tool and lessons acquired along the way.

thanks for posting this Mads

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View dbray45's profile


3391 posts in 3692 days

#6 posted 09-12-2011 04:52 PM

Very nice. Your instructions are great for all. Your collection of bow saws is inspirational. One of these days you will be making a bow saw to rip boards, with the blade in the middle at 90 degrees.

I still have to remake my bow saw that I made knobs for some time ago. I have been making a small park bench for my wife and I, for the patio and got seriously side tracked. The project is is one of those, “well, thats not hard to make” projects that involved making a seat that my wife is comfortable. It is also my first “chair.”

-- David in Palm Bay, FL

View Schwieb's profile


1914 posts in 4377 days

#7 posted 09-15-2011 11:38 AM

As usual good work, Mads. Interesting that such a simple project would draw so much interest. I have made several of these of different sizes and designs. I used broken bandsaw blades as Patron suggests.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View mafe's profile


12650 posts in 4005 days

#8 posted 09-15-2011 04:51 PM

Hi guys,
Yes I enjoy to see that a relativly simple project is also interesting, we have to remember all that LJ is a mix of levels and that meet here and learn from eachother. I am quite a beginner my self and can still find great joy in not only learning what can be done, but also to see how others work. Personally I get more confidence the more simple the project seems, so even the two frame saws I made bacically are the same, this second one would make me more confidet and go for it. The reason why I went this way was that I wanted a simple saw that could match the simplicity of my Japanese tools, where the Swans & Bones are more detailed, more decor less tool.
I still have one version I want to make at one time, but right now my list is too long.
Thank you all for the kind comments, I am glad to see it can inspire and hope to see frame saws postet here on LJ.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

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