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Forum topic by Karda posted 10-30-2020 04:24 AM 333 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Karda

2589 posts in 1466 days


10-30-2020 04:24 AM

what is the difference between a fret saw and a coping saw, I have a 6 inch coping saw, can I get fret saw blades that will fit it. My saw uses the pin type blades thanks


10 replies so far

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SMP

2853 posts in 818 days


#1 posted 10-30-2020 04:55 AM

As you mentioned coping saws have pinned blades thus the blade has to be thick enough to hold the blades. Fret saws generally clamp over the blade so they can be super thin(but higher chance of snapping blades) fret saws can also be labeled jewelers saws as they tend to be used in fine jewelry work as well. For general woodworking, i like a coping saw with Pegas 18tooth skip tooth blades, most decent woodworking stores will have these:
https://toolsforworkingwood.com/store/item/MS-CPEG.XX

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Karda

2589 posts in 1466 days


#2 posted 10-30-2020 05:12 AM

I am trying to learn to do dovetails, rob cossman recommends a fret saw because the blades are thinner. I can see his point the blades i have do seem a little thick

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Sylvain

1107 posts in 3412 days


#3 posted 10-30-2020 09:50 AM

Once you have made the saw kerf with your dovetail saw, any coping/fret blade thickness which can enter in the kerf will be ok.
The difference might be how easily one can make a turn and as a consequence how much is left to be pared at the bottom and in the bottom corners (assuming the board is held vertically).

Paul Sellers doesn’t recommend this method except for non-fine work.
I have used the coping saw method successfully (in this project 3rd picture) leaving a half mm at the bottom to be pared with the “knife line” as a guide. See last picture of this last link.

dovetail recommended method for fine result.

coping saw

dovetail with a coping saw to show how hand tool woodworking is fast.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

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controlfreak

1385 posts in 514 days


#4 posted 10-30-2020 11:32 AM

My coping saw blade is wider than my dovetail kerf so I will need to cut into the waste making new kerf to reach the bottom. My fret saw will fit into the dovetail kerf just fine without causing any damage.

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HokieKen

15309 posts in 2051 days


#5 posted 10-30-2020 01:48 PM

I use a coping saw for DT waste. I start at the top of one kerf and cut down and across to the bottom of the other kerf then cut back across to remove the remainder. So I have to cut a lot more than I would if I had a fret saw that had a blade thinner than my DT saw kerf. If I cut more dovetails I would probably invest in a fret saw but I don’t cut them that often so I don’t mind wasting a few extra seconds making an extra cut. In other words, a fret saw is a good idea but a coping saw will work too :-)

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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MrWolfe

1232 posts in 1036 days


#6 posted 10-30-2020 03:35 PM

I prefer Japanese razor saws over dovetail saws (Dozuki) but the kerf is very narrow and coping saw blades won’t fit in the kerf. A jeweler’s saw/fret saw (the blades don’t have pins and are are thinner) works very well. I like the Pegas 15 t.p.i. skip tooth blades. They are not very expensive and I prefer the jeweler’s saws that allow you to take up the slack in the blade because the frame itself is adjustable. You can usually change the orientation of the blade so that it cuts at an angle (not straight horizontally) and that helps with the saw frame clearing the board you are working on. I’ve used these on a couple dozen dovetail boxes and I’ve just upgraded to a Knew Concepts fret saw because blah blah blah. I only upgraded once I knew that dovetailing would be something I do for a LONG time. The cheap fretsaw works great tho, better than a coping saw if you have a very thin kerf.
Jon

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BigMig

518 posts in 3526 days


#7 posted 10-30-2020 03:42 PM

I use a Stanley coping saw from the hardware store (maybe $12) for cutting out waste for dovetails…works well

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

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Loren

10784 posts in 4560 days


#8 posted 10-30-2020 03:57 PM

You can use a coping saw. You just have to learn to turn the corner in the dovetail. The left over bit is easy to chisel out.

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SMP

2853 posts in 818 days


#9 posted 10-30-2020 04:46 PM


I am trying to learn to do dovetails, rob cossman recommends a fret saw because the blades are thinner. I can see his point the blades i have do seem a little thick

- Karda

Right, its important to look at plate thickness of your DT saw AND your coping saw blades. When I was at a Lie Nielsen event a few years ago looking at their saws, they guy asked if I would be chopping out the waste or sawing. When i told him cutting, he told me to get their straight DT saw rather than their tapered. As the straight plate is .020 and the tapered is .015. The Pegas blades are .018 so you can see where the issue would be.

Personally i don’t like fret saw blades as they tend to snap on me quite often(or the clamp comes undone) and then its extra time finding more blades and changing them out, etc frustrating. Can’t say i’ve ever broken a coping saw blade.


My coping saw blade is wider than my dovetail kerf so I will need to cut into the waste making new kerf to reach the bottom. My fret saw will fit into the dovetail kerf just fine without causing any damage.

- controlfreak


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Karda

2589 posts in 1466 days


#10 posted 10-30-2020 05:20 PM

ok thanks I will stick with the coping saw

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