Knew Concepts 5" Birdcage Titanium Fret Saw - What a great saw!!!

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Review by Cecil Rogers posted 06-02-2013 04:27 PM 10814 views 3 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Knew Concepts 5" Birdcage Titanium Fret Saw - What a great saw!!! Knew Concepts 5" Birdcage Titanium Fret Saw - What a great saw!!! Knew Concepts 5" Birdcage Titanium Fret Saw - What a great saw!!! Click the pictures to enlarge them

Cutting dovetails by hand has its moments of tedium. Getting rid of the bulk of the waste from the pins and tails is one of them. So, I always try to find a way to speed that up. Enter the small saws…

First, I tried a coping saw. It was a hand-me-down, and I’ll never discard it because of whom, not what, it represented. But, the simple truth is that it was horrible at removing bulk waste from dovetails. After the coping saw, I stepped up to an Olson adjustable frame saw. It wasn’t much better. The frame flexed in two different directions, I could never tension the blades tight enough, and the handle slipped off more than once. Oh yeah, the handle was tiny and always made my hand cramp up when using it also. Those two saws are shown in the pics. They are destined to become yard sale items.

Finally, I broke down and ordered the Knew Concepts 5" Birdcage Titanium Fret Saw. This is an OUTSTANDING saw!!! Rigid, light, comfortable, and you can get the blade tight… Really tight! This is a great little tool.

The first thing one notices when it arrives (besides the no name pizza box) is how light it is. After reducing it to just the saw, it seemed as if the currency to buy it outweighed the saw. That, by the way, is only a very slight exaggeration.

Anyway, I don’t know what the resellers do, but I ordered mine straight from Knew Concepts. It came with the blade in, set and adjusted, the tension lever released, and ready to go. All I had to do was flip the tension lever and use it.

All that was left was to try it out. I grabbed a piece of scrap and laid out some pins and tails, grabbed a saw and cut to the base lines. Then, I got the new fret saw and got the waste out of the way. First time I’ve ever been able to do that without the saw causing me some kind of grief. I would say this saw is worth its weight in gold, but it’s worth a lot more than that… it really weighs almost nothing.

Bottom line, if you do a lot of traditional work with dovetails, or if you do marquetry, this is a great saw. It’s a little expensive, but in my mind, it has already paid for itself.

-- Cecil, Orange Park, FL

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Cecil Rogers

33 posts in 3777 days

12 comments so far

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3372 posts in 3462 days

#1 posted 06-02-2013 08:17 PM

Thanks for the review. I have wondered what someone would think about this one.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

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8920 posts in 3385 days

#2 posted 06-03-2013 02:22 AM

Very clean cuts on the dovetails, almost looks machine made, well done.

View MrFid's profile


906 posts in 2712 days

#3 posted 06-03-2013 02:25 AM

Wait, so that board you were cutting into was only for practice? I got so excited to hear about your crazy dovetails where the top half was cut pins and the bottom half tails.
Besides wetting my appetite for a new type of dovetail joint, I enjoyed the review. Lee Valley ships their KC saws in the same fashion as the ones straight from Knew Concepts. I love my saw as well, although I didn’t get the birdcage variety.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View oldster's profile


2 posts in 3028 days

#4 posted 06-04-2013 01:11 AM

Not bad for the first time with the knew saw! Wait until you get some time with it, and you will simply drop down the kerf, make a couple of “march in place” strokes as you make the turn, and then cut to the line.
You will get it to the point that you will just need to use a shave cut with the chisel for final clean.

My congratulations to you on your astute purchase.

Lee (the saw guy)

-- Lee (the saw guy)

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 3672 days

#5 posted 06-04-2013 01:22 AM

Very informative review. I have never had much luck with coping saws. I realize quality tools don’t come cheap.
And this one is no exception. 215 for the 5”. 195 for the 3” on Knew’s site.

But holy cow. At these prices they better be outstanding.

I didn’t see warranty info on their site. What kind of warranty do these saws come with ?

Great looking saw. Congrats on your new tool.

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2 posts in 3028 days

#6 posted 06-04-2013 01:39 AM

Warranty? They carry a lifetime warranty. At some point, the screws will need replacing, but even that is out there in the distance.
In all of the time that I have been making saws, I have had to replace two saws. One was damaged in shipment, and the other one was simply a person that was unhappy with it. With a field of well over 20,000 sold, I like the odds.

We sold several at the Hand Works show at Amana Iowa show. Folks would walk up to the booth and pick up the saws, and they sold themselves. Comments such as:
“I tried this at the Handworks & that was the end of it. Great saw”
“I was pretty impressed by this saw in Amana last weekend. Can’t wait to put it to use. Thanks again for taking the time to make such an exceptional tool available”.

I see that you are in Ohio, sorry that you weren’t there. The entire show was hand tools only, no power tools allowed.

Lee (the saw guy)

-- Lee (the saw guy)

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Cecil Rogers

33 posts in 3777 days

#7 posted 06-04-2013 11:57 AM

Well Ron, there you have it. They have a lifetime warrenty.

Lee, thanks for making such a quality tool. I really do like it. It’s comfortable, light, and very easy to manuver. As for sawing right to the line, I think it was the Schwarz that demonstrated that in the video on your site… But, for me, I don’t know that I ever want to get there. That is no fault of the saw! I would hate to blow a prepped board because I over torqued a paring cut and blew out some grain. I’ll be very comfy using it to get within a 16” of the base line and then chopping it down from there. I think for me, it delivers a “cleaner” appearing cut in the baseline. Of course, those are all personal quirks.

Again, thanks for the saw.

-- Cecil, Orange Park, FL

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Cecil Rogers

33 posts in 3777 days

#8 posted 06-04-2013 02:20 PM

An afterthough: For anyone considering purchasing one of these saws, and in consideration of the expense, go to a store or a show and pick one up… USE it for a few minutes to cut some wood.

I bought mine sight unseen based on reviews from people I trust. Two of the things I liked in the reviews was how rigid it was reported to be (I HATED the flex in the other fret saws) and that the blade could be “indexed” at 45 degrees.

I don’t often do wide panels, as in blanket chests for example, but I liked the idea that I could index the saw blade at 45 degrees and come in from above and get it done. On the other hand, from a comfort and familiarity standpoint, most of the time, I just come in from the side with the blade straight to the frame. With a 5” throat, I could do a 10” board with no problem.

Just to try things out, I used at as it came out of the box. It was delivered indexed at 45 degrees for a right hander. That was me… Anyway, with a little time and practice, I think I would set it 45 and just leave it to cut out the waste. Having said that, the 3” throat would put me closer to the work and I’m wondering if it would have given me a sense of better control and feedback from the work. I don’t know, and I’m not sure now that I ever will.

Now, add to all of that an aftermarket Elkhead handle made for this saw… it changes the weight and grip feel of the saw. Not a bad thing, to be sure.

With the price and the options, one has to consider that this is one of those “lifetime” tools. Pick them all up and see which one feels best for the long haul. If you’re going to be using this tool for the next few decades, it only makes sense to get the right one. It’s certainly something I wish I had done.

-- Cecil, Orange Park, FL

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3645 posts in 3992 days

#9 posted 06-04-2013 08:25 PM

Looks good. I’ll have to get one someday. I currently have an old coping saw from my father that’s really frustrating to use. What blades are your favorite for cutting dovetails (both brand and size/TPI)? Every coping saw blade I’ve tried gets stuck in the kerf and heats up to molten with the friction, even though I can feel some set on the teeth and have tried several different TPI.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

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Cecil Rogers

33 posts in 3777 days

#10 posted 06-04-2013 09:26 PM

Bobasaurus, I use the the P├ęgas blades. Currently, I’m trying out the SK7. They’re a 15 TPI skip tooth blade. They cut fast, and with the skip tooth, they clear the waste very well as long as the stock isn’t too thick. In the past, I used the SK3 (20 TPI skip tooth). They tend to cut just a little slower, but they seem to be a lot smoother. They are also a little more “delicate,” so they require a little lighter touch. I’ll probably go back to those as soon as I run through this pack of blades.

As for the coping saw blades, I just don’t use them. The blades are too thick, and the teeth don’t clear the saw dust quickly enough. I think that’s what is causing your friction build up. After I went to the Olson saws I started using the fret saw blades. And now that I can tension them properly with the KC saw, it’s just fast and they cut like a hot knife through butter.

Hope that helps.

-- Cecil, Orange Park, FL

View Chris 's profile


1880 posts in 4799 days

#11 posted 06-06-2013 01:05 AM

hey Sam… Thanks for posting this review I have been considering this saw but wasn’t sure of it.

By the way, I’m over in the Southpoint area of Jacksonville.


-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View Cecil Rogers's profile

Cecil Rogers

33 posts in 3777 days

#12 posted 06-06-2013 12:17 PM

Yes Chris, we must chat. Like that bookcase you built. I’m currently in the design mode for a couple of bookcases for my daughter. I was thinking walnut or maple, but she wants them painted black… so, she’s thinking poplar.

-- Cecil, Orange Park, FL

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