Making a Frame Saw – Episode 1

Making the Frame Saw 1

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Paul shows some of the uses of the frame saw and covers the different design features. He starts by laying out and cutting the mortise and tenon including the rounded element which make up the knuckle joint.


The length of the stretcher will depend on the length of the blade.

Part Quantity Imperial Metric
Uprights 2 7/8” x 1 3/4” x 16” 22 x 44 x 406mm
Stretcher (length will vary) 1 7/8” x 1 3/4” x 17 1/2” 22 x 44 x 445mm
Hand guard 1 7/8″ x 1 3/4″ x 8″ 22 x 44 x 203mm
Toggle bar 1 1/2” x 7/8” x 12” 13 x 22 x 305mm
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  1. Derek Long on 9 October 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Woot! The frame saw!

  2. NikonD80 on 9 October 2015 at 4:26 pm

    What a lovely surprise for the end of the working week.

  3. John Purser on 9 October 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Thank you for this. I have absolutely no idea why but the thought of making one of these has intrigued me for a while.

  4. caerlynnfibers on 9 October 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Dear Paul, that’s amazing !!!! I just thought to myself when you would come out with it !!!
    no kidding !!!! That’s getting quite paranormal .
    Thanks a lot !!!!

  5. mchickm on 9 October 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Brilliant guys,

    Been waiting for this one !

  6. ballinger on 9 October 2015 at 6:11 pm

    !!!! Yah it’s here at last

  7. Augusto Campos on 9 October 2015 at 6:46 pm

    No Metric measurements?

  8. Christopher on 9 October 2015 at 7:02 pm

    Thank You, thank you, thank you, thank you, Oh did I say Thank you. In case I didnt “Thank you.”
    Paul, That was very nice of you to do this. And Lets not forget that someone has to be holding the camera and Listening. That has to be a hard job to sit there and not say anything so a huge Thanks goes out to Resi as well.
    How about You do a video and let Paul film you. That would be cool. I think. Give Paul’s choppers a break. lol
    I wonder how you drilled your holes in the band saw blade. I tried drilling through one a while back and the bit wouldn’t even start to cut. I was using a 1/16″ cobalt bit, Brand New and some cutting fluid.
    Maybe it was just that particular blade ,I dont know but it was the hardest metal I’ve ever encountered.

    • Craig on 10 October 2015 at 2:56 pm

      In order to drill these hardened blades you’ll have to heat the area to be drilled with a Propane torch to red hot and allow to air cool slowly…won’t take long. Then dimple with a center punch and drill as normal.

    • Resi Tomat on 12 October 2015 at 1:55 am

      Thanks you 😀

  9. sherbin18 on 9 October 2015 at 7:25 pm

    What a treat. Two Sellers in one week.

    This was a great techniques lesson. With a great tool to use after we’re done.

  10. Christopher on 9 October 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Paul, I was Getting the stock ready and I was starting to cut out the Blade guard and the measurements are confusing me. Im going by the blade guard that you have on the saw that was already made. The one your using in this Video. That’s 15″ long? And the width looks more than the 1 1/2″s so Im going to hold off on cutting that out of a large piece of timber that I have. I don’t want to cut down this 2 1/2″ thick board until I know for sure. Thanks Chris

    • Philip Adams on 28 October 2015 at 10:56 am

      Hello Chris,
      You are correct that it should be 1 3/4″ x 7/8″ x 8″. Will get it corrected in the cutting list.
      Thanks, Phil

  11. James Savage on 9 October 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Fantastic! I really enjoyed making the mallet and I’ve been looking forward to this project. Can’t wait to get started.

  12. Ian Thomas on 9 October 2015 at 9:39 pm

    Weird, I can’t see the video.

  13. ebourgoine on 9 October 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Why do you send out emails inviting people to view a new episode only to tell them that they can’t see it because they aren’t paying customers! It’s like hey come look at this interesting and informative thing.. ohh just kidding. 🙁

  14. Peter Holt on 9 October 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Had an email saying that a free video on building a frame saw was available, but it will not let me see it because “Hmm, it looks like you cannot access this content. This is probably* because you are not a paying member. “… So much for free…


  15. dbrewster on 9 October 2015 at 9:59 pm

    You know guys, technical difficulties happen. You don’t need to assume something shady is going on. You can also view this video on Paul’s YouTube channel.

  16. Ben Fisher on 9 October 2015 at 10:06 pm

    All I have to say is YAY

  17. rayc21 on 9 October 2015 at 10:57 pm

    this is certainly a project for me. looking forward to making one or maybe 2 or 3.
    very enjoyable video. thank you Paul.

  18. silenthill on 10 October 2015 at 12:28 am

    Love this, can’t wait to make it, or at least attempt it.

  19. trooper82 on 10 October 2015 at 2:02 am

    Thanks Paul & Resi –

    Glad to see this one getting made 🙂

  20. wilkinsb on 10 October 2015 at 2:40 am

    Paul I should say I don’t think any of us will ever not start off our comments with either a thank you or an “I’ve been waiting for this” or a nice job! Well done, again and thanks!

    You start off by stating it shouldn’t cost any more than 6 pounds (about 10 dollars equivalent) to make including the blade and that’s right off the bat quite a statement when you couldn’t buy one of these for any less than $100.00.

    Then you speak about the blade and how you cutoff a “metal cutting band saw blade”, but then say the blade you removed from the demo frame saw were a hacksaw blade. Maybe you could speak just a little more about this to clarify.

    I also looked around a little and both Highland Woodworking and the Traditional Woodworker offer various different blade types for the frame saw. They are more expensive than what you are indicating as the total price to make the saw, but might be an option for those interested.

    Looking forward to your response.


    • Craig on 10 October 2015 at 2:51 pm

      A number of sources offer bandsaw blades like:
      93 inches at $22.50 gets you 4 frame saw blades at under 6 bucks each or so.

    • johnnyk on 10 October 2015 at 8:13 pm

      Please forgive me and igmorre the comment if this comes off as condescending, I am only trying to shed some light…

      There are plenty of metal cutting bandsaw blades available and they are sometimes referred to as “hacksaw” blades. You can buy new ones from a supplier – I haven’t looked yet, but I am guessing Harbor Freight in the U.S., or any company that sells Lennox blades. They are usually Bi-metal blades. You can also re-purpose a used wood cutting bandsaw blade.

      From the video, I’m assuming that Paul bought a longer blade and cut it into smaller pieces. When he was finished, he counted up all the usable pieces and divided the price of the complete blade by the amount of pieces to arrive at his 2-pound figure.

      Again, I apologize if I am being condescending.


  21. stevem on 10 October 2015 at 2:45 am

    Thank you for the bump to 1080P, the crispness added is appreciated.

    • Wesley on 10 October 2015 at 4:58 pm

      The team probably did that to emphasize the crispness of the joints. 🙂

  22. Charles Garner on 10 October 2015 at 4:43 am

    I was thinking about buying one of these saw and now I think I might just attempt to make one. Paul, you make it look so easy, but I know that comes from years of experience. Some day I hope to reach this point. I look forwarD to seeing the next episodes. Thanks

  23. zacariah on 10 October 2015 at 5:00 am

    Every time i see you use your frame saw i’ve always wanted to know where i could buy one, or how i could make one. Thanks for making this video!

  24. tonyw on 10 October 2015 at 5:37 am

    Thank you for this. We (Tony & my son Alex) have been so looking forward to this project ever since it was first mooted. The other tool project that we eagerly await is the transitional plane – hope that one is not too far away now.

  25. António on 10 October 2015 at 8:25 am

    Great teaching video!

    Thank You to all at WWMC 🙂

  26. Al Schade on 10 October 2015 at 11:25 am

    Any blade recommendations? I know he said he used a repurposed band saw blade, but in his other frame saw video it looks like a purpose built blade. A quick search brought up blades that were $100. Any suggestions would be appreciated

  27. garypotts475 on 10 October 2015 at 12:08 pm

    This project goes on my “must do” list. I love the idea of making my own tools. Thanks Paul.

  28. BrianJ on 10 October 2015 at 12:43 pm

    Awesome. I want to thank you for your teaching style as much as the content you make available.
    It is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, now I’ve got more to be thankful for.

  29. fudoka on 10 October 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Now all I need is a source for broken bandsaw blades 🙂

  30. skodger1nine80 on 10 October 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Fascinating and factual, great job, thank you Paul and team.

  31. jeffpolaski on 10 October 2015 at 5:28 pm

    My concentration is about the blades (Paul makes the wood working part seem clear). It’s the availability of blades that spins my head:

    Sold By Amazon:
    Woodstock D3533 93-Inch Bandsaw Blade, 3/4 by 14 TPI; Also come in 18 TPI and 10 TPI;
    Also shown are many other blades under
    In various widths and TPIs, other vendors sell a high variety of blades. For instance, Highland Woodworking sells a “3/8 inch 4TPI Skip Tooth Bandsaw Blade” that might be better for turning a cut, and the skip tooth might be better for “softer” wood such a basswood to cut carving blanks — the skip tooth clearing out the kerf more frequently apparently producing a smoother cut.

    I personally have my head turned completely around by the variety available, and what might be better for rip cut (as in dovetails) and crosscuts (as in tenon shoulders and the like.) EC Emmerich in Germany sells some different types of blades for crosscut, dovetails, and all-purpose Japanese blades which are in a different length. Curiously, they no longer catalog the hardware needed to make a framesaw, including the “handles” (which are not quite handles but used in turning cuts. Traditional Woodworkers in the US seem to carry their line.

    I personally like the idea of repurposed bandsaw or hacksaw blades, but which ones, and which ones work best at the slower speeds used by a frame saw. There must be a difference between a 3 or 4 tpi blade and a blade over 20 tpi!

    Maybe we can put our heads together and come up with a list of tried and true repurposed blades for a “sawbuck” (That’s American for a ten dollar bill.)

  32. Robert Smith on 10 October 2015 at 8:44 pm

    Paul you are the best teacher I have ever seen . I just need to have more patients to do that kind of work . Thanks again for being a good teacher and roll model for woodworking

  33. Scott on 10 October 2015 at 9:40 pm

    I should not have thrown those old bandsaw blades out. Tried once not to be a packrat, and it bites me in the butt!

    • Bas Cost Budde on 11 October 2015 at 9:48 pm

      You know that junk is stuff you throw away three weeks before you need it, don’t you?

  34. onstage on 11 October 2015 at 3:15 am

    I see that Amazon has several Bahco bow saw blades at low cost–would these be a good choice? I’ll have to check the holes on the ends–maybe there would be no need to drill them. On the other hand, the saw dimensions may have to be adjusted.

    • YrHenSaer on 12 October 2015 at 3:13 pm

      You may find that the type of blade often sold on Amazon and other places as a “Bow Saw Blade” is intended for use in a garden bow saw, used for rough-cutting logs.
      They are very thick, have big teeth with alternate skip or peg teeth and give an extremely rough cut – not at all what this type of cabinet-makers saw needs.

      Probably the best source is re-cycled (cut up) band saw blades.

  35. heathh on 11 October 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Great video. I never would have believed it could be this simple to make a frame saw. Well, simple when Paul makes one at least. We’ll see what happens when I give it a go 🙂

    Any pointers on where I could find an appropriate blade? Does anyone know what tpi and tooth geometry are for the blade Paul installed?

  36. Peter George on 11 October 2015 at 6:34 pm

    I’ve used a Nobex mitre saw blade and also the E.C. Emmerich rip and crosscut blades. They all worked quite well. The advantage of the E.C. Emmerich blades is that they can be resharpened.

  37. Chris Bunney on 11 October 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Hi Paul,

    I have a question about the frame saw compared to the tenon saw:

    As the blade on the frame saw is not as deep as the tenon saw, are you not more likely to “wander” in the cut when cutting a tenon cheek? I always assumed that the depth of the tenon saw blade kept the cut nice and straight.

    What a beautiful saw though – and a great video, as always!


    • dborn on 12 October 2015 at 7:53 am

      Bow saws are incredibly accurate! I use an EC Emmerich bow saw, 700mm or 27″, 9tpi so it’s a fairly aggressive saw. At first it was unwieldly, but once I got the hang of it, it is by far the best saw for me making accurate cross cuts. I would imagine a properly sharpened and set bow saw will be equally as accurate as any properly set and sharpened back saw..


      • jude on 13 October 2015 at 4:48 am


        give them a call before you head out and see if they’re still there. Going on the prices shown on the website, it looks like they haven’t changed things in a number of years.

        For example, a Lie-Nielsen No. 1 plane is advertised at $151, whereas on Lie-Nielsen’s site it is advertised as $225.

        If there catalogue is correct, I’ll carpool with you and stock up. 1/2 price Sorby chisels? Yes, please.

        • jude on 13 October 2015 at 4:59 am

          Belay that order. It looks like they scanned their catalog from 1993 and didn’t update it.

          Oh well.

  38. eJoseph on 11 October 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Here in the US blades are also available at Frog Tool Co. Ltd :


    • dborn on 12 October 2015 at 7:55 am

      I had no idea this place even existed. It’s close enough to me to make an afternoon drive out there..

  39. tonyw on 12 October 2015 at 1:38 am

    Do you realize that the YouTube video referenced by dbrewster above is a different one to this Masterclass one? In the YouTube video, Paul shows how to build a seemingly larger saw that uses a taller blade & doesn’t have the hand guard. However, it does show a complete build with a bit less detailed & faster explanation & in spite of a pop-up near the beginning, there is no cutting list.

    I suspect that this YouTube video is the original one that in reply to my comment on the topic “Hands-on Workshops With Paul” of 11 April 2015, Paul stated “I decided against the bowsaw for now because there was something I was concerned with over a safety issue that though unlikely could happen” so I’m surprised, tho’ grateful for the extra instruction & perspective, that this has now been released to the general public. Maybe it was released by mistake for the Masterclass one or maybe it was decided that the particular safety concern, I think it’s to do with the hand guard, wasn’t such a big issue in retrospect. After all, why waste a good video?

    Concerning the availability & recommendations of blades about which there has been much angst & comment both here & on the YouTube site concerning tpi & how to safely snap a bandsaw blade etc., I presume & hope that there will be a follow-up video concerning this such as there was for the blades for the wooden planes.

  40. Resi Tomat on 12 October 2015 at 2:00 am


    coming… 😀

    Happy woodworking, Resi

  41. Peter George on 12 October 2015 at 5:41 pm

    Another thought on obtaining band saw blades:

    There is a business in Saskatoon (Great Western Saw) that will make up band saw blades to one’s requirements. They charge by the length of the blade and by the type of blade stock. I’m sure they would have no problem with selling short lengths of blade. It might be worth it to see if there is a similar business near by.

    • Ricardo R on 14 October 2015 at 2:12 am

      I worked next door to an industrial hardware store that made band saw blades to order (USA). The blanks came in rolls and they always had leftover pieces of various types and lengths behind their welding machine, waiting to be trashed (and I was always willing to help…)
      Holes can be drilled, punched with manual punch pliers (easiest) or even a punch and a hammer over hardwood end grain.
      The teeth will have to be reshaped with a hand file, following Paul’s instructions and then reset accordingly.
      The safety concern may have came from a liability standpoint, Ive been using bow saws uneventfully since I was a young kid in the 50’s. I just don’t hold the wood below the saw kerf…

  42. billlatt on 13 October 2015 at 12:42 am

    Absolutely loved this video (as I do all of them). This was a very pleasant surprise to say the least.

  43. knightlylad on 13 October 2015 at 9:56 pm

    Thank you for the lesson.

  44. rbh on 14 October 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Paul, Thanks for this video. I have been wanting to do this for some time but with the video, I think I will do it now. This is a bit different than the youtube video. In this saw you are using a hacksaw blade but in the youtube video you use a more traditional frame saw blade. Where did you get this frame saw blade and what tooth configuration and filing does it use? Is it Rip and about 12-14 TPI? Again, thanks for the masterclasses as they teach so much – like having my own apprenticeship.


  45. mkankmike on 17 October 2015 at 4:09 am

    Possible source for broken bandsaw blades would be to check the local schools that have a wood shop.

  46. jeffpolaski on 21 October 2015 at 5:53 pm

    It takes a bit more space, gear and preparation to do this work as opposed to the woodcarving (birds and such) I’ve done for many more years. But, watching the chisel work (that Paul calls simple) drives home to me the need for reliably sharp tools.

    The slight pressure of a finger can make the difference between a good shape of a sparrow’s beak and a millimeter of (excuse me) botched beak. With this mortise and tenon, spanning perhaps 20 or more millimeters of matching curves, for the first time I saw the need for a sharp, sharp tool and the precise experience to apply it to the work.

  47. Philip Adams on 28 October 2015 at 11:11 am

    Hello all, great to see the interest this has stirred up. Sorry about the initial technical problem which seems to have stopped some of you from viewing for free. I thought i would post a link to Paul’s blog concerning the difference to between the saws on the YouTube video and here as a clarification:
    Best, Phil

  48. Resi Tomat on 3 November 2015 at 11:50 pm

    Correction on the hand guard measurements now made – the ones in the post above are the correct ones.
    Happy woodworking, Resi

  49. Jason Watkins on 4 November 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Can these 14tpi Milwaukee bandsaw blades be sharpened by hand, or are they disposable?

  50. Jeremy Schneider on 17 January 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you so much for these videos.

    Perhaps this is more detail than you’re interested in, but I felt the need to let you know how appreciative I am of what you do. I’m a physician in my 30’s and I never knew I was interested in traditional woodworking until a few years ago (I discovered how much I enjoyed it while making a handmade shoe shine box for my brother). Once I found this passion, I regretted that I never took woodshop or other building/design/engineering classes in high school or college as I thought I had missed out on my opportunity to learn the fundamentals from experienced craftsmen/teachers.

    When I found your videos on YouTube (and now this site) I was amazed that a master craftsman would so freely share his invaluable knowledge and expertise with the world. Furthermore, I was impressed with your natural gift for elucidating and imparting that knowledge. Thanks to you I have been able to expand my own woodworking skills and have been able to develop an avocation which has brought me countless hours of enjoyment and has enriched my daily life.

    Thanks again for everything you do!

  51. rgrifat on 10 May 2016 at 11:01 pm

    I have made the saw, and it cuts fast.
    the only problem is that it pulls to one side always so I have to twist the saw to the opposite side to keep the cut going straight. knowing how much to pull could be tricky.
    I have read elsewhere that this is due to uneven set on the teeth and that it can be remedied by passing a file on the side of the teeth that the saw pulls to.
    Any help will be greatly appreciated.
    All the best,

    • Philip Adams on 18 July 2016 at 2:22 pm

      Hello Rami,

      Is the slot that receives the blade completely straight? Is the whole frame of the saw straight, or is there some built in twist? Also have a look at the blade in isolation to check for any kinks or such.

      It can be due to being overly or unevenly set, in which case you can follow the instructions in the following video:
      See our YouTube video for further info:

      This generally leaves sufficient set in the teeth for the saw to be used. Often this will take care of the inequality. If not, reset the teeth using a sawset.

      Other than that it can be an aspect of sawing technique. Make sure you’re not pushing down too hard when sawing and align your body with the cut as Paul does in our videos.

      Hope that helps!

  52. dwake23 on 12 July 2016 at 6:08 am

    First off, absolutely wonderful series, and I’m enjoying working through this. Thank you Paul and team for all the hard work.
    I do have a question concerning post lengths. The blade recommendations I bought were from highland woodworking, and are 26.5 inches hole to hole. I was wondering if Paul or the team had any thoughts on whether to adjust the height of the posts from 16″ based on the stretcher having to be much bigger than the 17.5 inches in the cut list. Should the posts be longer because the stretcher will be longer?

    • Philip Adams on 13 July 2016 at 9:28 am

      Glad you are enjoying the series.
      The posts don’t need to be adjusted in length. You probably won’t be able to apply quite as much tension to the blade unless you where is some way to increase the strength of the frame, possibly in thickness.

  53. Kevin O'Brien on 18 October 2016 at 7:19 pm

    In case no one spotted it the cutting list has an error.

    Should in fact be
    Hand guard 1 1 3/4″ x 7/8″ x 8″ 44 x 22 x 203

  54. Stephan Grimm on 10 February 2017 at 10:59 pm

    Hi Paul,
    many thanks to this series – I just startetd with a oak floor panel on sunday and finished the project on Friday. A lot to learn and a fantastic tool which came out (in some late night sessions :-)) The saw is overwhelming and for the few bucks for the bandsaw blade I was really amazed of the outcoming result. Good if the No.4 has been ready and some other tool preparation (chisels and so on) you explained in earlier projects. I think I will make a second one immediatly because of the pleasure. again – great many thanks for this very well documented project and all the hints and tipps you gave on this. best wishes

  55. JamesWorld on 12 February 2017 at 10:02 pm

    I had to laugh when I got to the bit about Biblical times. I was showing my wife the video of the saw being used and told her, “This is what Noah used when he built the ark.”

  56. ted clawton on 28 May 2018 at 7:23 am

    3 yr old project, I know, but hopefully will get some answer.

    Why does this joint need to have curved shoulder? Is it something to do with the pressure put on it while sawing?


  57. harry wheeler on 28 May 2018 at 4:24 pm

    I think Paul did that to avoid single point contact as you tension the blade. If the shoulder was cut square, it would be almost impossible to avoid having those two joints touching at only one point on each side. This way, the posts can pivot around that radius and have good surface contact with the shoulder line for a few degrees either side of perpendicular and that allows for minor differences in blade length compared to the length of the stretcher. Hope that helps.

    • ted clawton on 28 May 2018 at 5:10 pm

      Makes sense to me, thanks for the reply. This will be a fun one to try out.

  58. Edward Snow on 7 August 2018 at 10:11 pm

    Great job on the Frame Saw!
    Thank you.

  59. Alec Cicciarella on 7 October 2019 at 6:23 am

    All I have is a construction grade hand saw and a flush trim saw, but I do have a table saw can I cut a tennon with square shoulders on the table saw then either chisel or rasp the radius after? How would this effect the over all length of the tennon would a 1/2” mortise still work? Or would I have to make it deeper?

    Thank you.


    • Izzy Berger on 11 October 2019 at 2:37 pm

      Hi Alec,

      Paul says:
      Yes you can, you will have to do your own calculations to establish if you have enough material.

      Kind Regards,

  60. Alec Cicciarella on 10 December 2019 at 7:53 pm

    What is the length of the blade?

  61. Alec Cicciarella on 24 June 2020 at 8:15 am

    I want to use this saw for finishing the resaw cut that I will bet starting on my table saw any suggestions on blades? I could only find a 1/2 6 tpi band saw blade would this work?

  62. NADAV Maroko on 8 August 2020 at 7:03 pm

    I want to build a frame saw and I can get a 600mm or 700mm blade
    How long should be the uprights for this length of blade?


  63. NADAV Maroko on 8 August 2020 at 7:10 pm

    And another question
    Does it meter if the stretcher made out of hardwood or softwood?
    Should the stretcher be soft to absorb tension while the uprights are hard?

    • Craig on 9 August 2020 at 3:33 am

      The uprights on my Ulmia saws are 13 3/8 inches and are Beech.
      The stretchers are limewood/basswood.

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