Making a Frame Saw – Episode 3

Making the Frame Saw 3

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With the two end pieces finished, Paul cuts the beam to length so that he can shape it and cut the tenon in the other end. Paul then tapers the toggle bar and ties on the string used to apply the pressure. For increased safety, he then shows how to make a hand guard which is tenoned into the frame.

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  1. Eric Weaver on 27 October 2015 at 7:48 pm

    thank you! been looking forward to this one.

  2. kaetwo on 27 October 2015 at 8:48 pm

    I can’t tell you how appreciative I am that you and your team put this video series together. I always love building my own tools and can’t wait to get started on my new saw.


  3. kb9jlo on 27 October 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Thank you for providing this. As soon as I can get the blades I plan to build one. And thanks for providing the information on the blades too!

  4. Dr. Ron Goldstein on 27 October 2015 at 10:47 pm

    I have been watching for some time now. I can’t wait to start up my own woodworking.

  5. erikjo on 27 October 2015 at 11:00 pm

    Thank you, this is a great project and I think these episodes deserves a place in the project series (just like the joiners mallet).

  6. HM Magnusson on 27 October 2015 at 11:42 pm

    Thank you for these videos. I wonder how long the saw can be and still be practical. If I would get or make a 1 meter long blade and use it to cut a low hanging branches of a tree?

  7. Gary BALCOM on 27 October 2015 at 11:45 pm

    Great episode! I didn’t catch what he said he used for a blade though, other than a metal band saw blade. I’d like to know at least the teeth per inch.

    • Resi Tomat on 28 October 2015 at 12:36 am

      Dear Gary, see the episode 1 comments – plenty of blades suggestions. Also, Paul discussed in his last blog post here.
      ttfn, Resi

  8. erikhinkston on 28 October 2015 at 12:39 am

    Love this, can’t wait to get this done. I’m hoping you will show briefly how you cut and drill the band saw blade. Perhaps there is no magic there but I’ve heard it can’t be done without some heat treatment.
    Thank you for keeping us busy…

    • rayc21 on 2 November 2015 at 6:01 pm

      hi I drilled my blade cold centre punched first started with smaller drill then 4 mill the only problem I blunted 4 drills. must remember to sharpen them.

    • Danny Morehouse on 3 November 2015 at 3:13 pm

      Bandsaw and other artisan bow saw blades are high carbon tool steel with a spring temper. It’s fairly hard on drill bits. Just heat the drill hole area with a torch to bright red – then back the torch away slowly allowing it to cool to black over about a minute. Then let it air cool to room temp. It would be best to clamp the blade between two pieces of steel or aluminum to prevent softening too much of the blade.

      Be ware of any blade marked HSS of High Speed Steel – namely, hacksaw blades. This is the same stuff your drill bits are made of. It is not generally heat treatable without specialized equipment.

  9. tim boudreaux on 28 October 2015 at 6:29 am

    very nice as soon as I can get some blades I will be building one or two. Thanks Tim

  10. johnnyangel on 28 October 2015 at 9:24 am

    Thanks Paul for, as ever, a great, informative video. Am just wondering, though, what accident or mishap the blade guard is designed to prevent. I’ve been making and using bowsaws for years and I can’t see how I could come a cropper without a blade guard.

    Second point: I’d love your comments on those bowsaw makers — often in Asia — who mount the blade in a saw kerf which is at an angle, enabling one to rip down a long length of timber.


    • bobeaston on 28 October 2015 at 2:23 pm

      Imagine a saw blade breaking, and your hand running into the broken end of the blade. While blade breakage is an extremely rare probability, the guard might save a nasty gash.

  11. António on 28 October 2015 at 9:59 am

    Great series!
    I like it very much!

  12. bobeaston on 28 October 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Superb! …as always…
    The only thing better would be using the brand new frame saw for all of the sawing operations used to make the guide. Yes, the habit of grabbing that tenon saw prevails.

    My turning saw is very similar, extremely light weight, and a real joy to use. It will soon have a partner frame saw.


  13. Luiz Mattos on 28 October 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Oh! I like it very much! Pls, which is the rough thickness of the blanks? Thanks.

    • Eric Weaver on 28 October 2015 at 2:40 pm

      Go to the first video for a parts list. Paul used 7/8″ thick boards which is standard in the UK. If you are in the US it would be 3/4″. Mine are closer to 1″ thick. I didn’t feel like planing down anymore than I needed to for the stock I had at hand. Cleaned them up and called it good. I’m sure that will work fine.

  14. Thomas Angle on 28 October 2015 at 3:56 pm

    I made a small one of these for my nephew for Christmas. There are a few things after watching the video I would have done different. Thanks for the tips.

  15. rayc21 on 28 October 2015 at 6:08 pm

    very enjoyable set of videos started one in oak today.
    thank you Paul and team.

  16. Alexander Kokorev on 29 October 2015 at 6:43 am

    Thank you, Master.

  17. caerlynnfibers on 30 October 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Already made three of them, just great!
    Thanks enormously !!!

  18. knightlylad on 30 October 2015 at 10:50 pm

    Thank you, lovely saw.

  19. David R. on 4 November 2015 at 4:13 pm

    I recently tried to resaw a smallish board of oak (maybe 8″x10″x1″) with an old frame saw with a rusty blade. I am not exactly sure, what went wrong, but I ended up with a very rugged surface, maybe a quarter inch variance in thickness. Not good at all. I did sharpen the rip cut blade, but haven’t checked the set. My guess is, the blade is no longer usable and I should have been able to saw it well with one in better condition.

    Is it recommended to use this kind of frame saw for resawing or would I need one with the blade centered between two beams? I don’t see me getting a band saw in the near future, so I would like to have a working option of resawing stock. Opinions and insights are appreciated. Thanks.

    • steff on 4 November 2015 at 6:22 pm

      see my post below yours. That was my reply to your comment.

  20. steff on 4 November 2015 at 6:20 pm

    I believe that this kind of frame saws with a rip saw blade have been used, especially in Germany were this type of saw was very common, for separating boards. I’m sure that you can resaw a board with a frame saw like this. But you will be limited in height. So if your board is too long then you can’t cut through it. I think that is the reason why someone invent that frame where the blade is between two beams. Another thing is that you will have more power and maybe a bit more balance or control.
    The blade of this kind of frame saw, which you can buy as replacement part, are from my point of view absolutely fine for resawing. I’ve actually bought one to build one of these horizontal frame saws.
    I made some tests with just the blade and even this is working. The only thing is that you have to give the new blade a light touch with a saw file so that it will be really sharp and you have to reduce the set a little bit. See Paul’s video how to do that. And another hint. To prepare your board with a kerf which gives you more control and guidance is a real success factor. A kerfing plane (or saw) is pretty helpful.
    Hope that helps.

    • David R. on 4 November 2015 at 6:55 pm

      Thanks for your insights, Stefan. I did use a backsaw to get started with the other end of the board, which helped a bit, but at that point it was already beyond much hope. In contrast to Paul’s frame saw, most of our German ones can be rotated and thus fixed at a 90° angle so as to allow for sawing longer boards. I didn’t make use of this either. I think I will get me a fresh blade and give it another try.
      I suppose it should be possible to make a taller version of Paul’s saw with more space between blade an beam for a deeper cut for resawing, but that would still be limited. I don’t see how to make it into a blade-in-the-middle saw, since you’d need a different method for tensioning the blade. There’s a method described at and you can get a kit from Bad axe toolworks but it’s a bit on the pricy side in my opinion.

      Maybe we should move further discussion to the forum, though. It may be a bit off topic by now.

      • jgust747 on 5 November 2015 at 4:47 pm

        Take a look at for some better pricing on saw plates for a frame saw.

      • steff on 5 November 2015 at 6:29 pm

        Hi David,
        as far as I know the longest replacement blade you can get in DE is 700mm.
        As already mentioned I’ve used one of these ECE replacement blades for building a kerfing plane. Check it out if you are interested in:
        That’s all material from the DIY store (apart from the saw blade).
        The blade is about 8 bucks and you can order it at
        Another blade is already reserved for building a frame saw. Unfortunately I haven’t got enough time to do all the things on my list.
        At hyperkitten it is described how to build one with pretty common and simple hardware.
        And Tom Fidgen from is describing how to build one with the bad axe kit.
        But honestly, you don’t need this kit. You can buy the needed material at the DIY store.
        Use a rectangle steel profile. Cut two smaller piece with a hacksaw and finally cut a slot into it.
        The rest is just a few screws and/or bolts.
        If you will build one let me know how it came out.
        I have to do my workshop makeover this fall. Maybe I will find time during the winter to build one.
        Have a look at my blog from time to time. Maybe you will read about it in the near future.

        • steff on 5 November 2015 at 6:34 pm

          Oh, one more thing. Bob Easton who is also member of this site has written one or two interesting reports about resawing in his blog. It is worth to read and helped me pretty much to get the right attitude about resawing.

  21. lcyohe on 17 November 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Being this a class, I thought I would share a few things I’ve learnt. It’s good to review. I don’t want to forget and by sharing here I’m reinforcing my skills. Also, if going through a project you make no mistakes, you didn’t learn anything as you already knew it. So, here we go! (and not in any particular order)

    Watch all the videos all the way through and take notes, before you pick up mallet and chisel! I didn’t notice that Paul had cut only one tenon, saving the other one to match the length of the saw blade. I cut both at the same time. Fortunately, I bought a band saw blade and was able to cut it to length. Had I bought a fixed length blade, I might not have been so lucky. I would have had to cut a new cross brace (wasting wood) or trim the blade, if possible.

    While my tenons fit perfectly, the radius on the shoulders was off a little. Didn’t quite have so smooth of a match. Couple of things, I wasn’t very accurate with my “bean can”. More importantly, I didn’t slow down and take my time. I’m noticing that when I slow down, I mean really, really slow down, I become much more accurate. Being more accurate brings me ten times more efficiency. In a weird sort of way, I’m faster. Less rework, frustration, more rework, etc. Accuracy! Accuracy! I’m going to put a sign up in my shop – Accuracy!

    I chose Hickory for this project. Picked up a couple boards online of 7/8 and 15/16 x 3 foot lengths. Beautiful looking wood. The grain is lovely. But, this stuff is hard as a rock! Probably not a good choice for a beginning hand-tool wood worker. What was I thinking? Used in chairs for centuries. Best material for a handle, ever. I like the way Hickory feels in my hand. There is a heft to it; dense and solid. I know I’m handing this down for generations. But can be very difficult to work with if your new to using hand tools only. While Hickory might a good choice of wood, and the saw a good beginning project, perhaps not the two together. Maybe an easier to work hardwood as I develop my skills.

    If you’re going to use Hickory, everything must be sharp. I forced myself to stop and sharpen my chisels or at least polish the bevel occasionally (that made a huge difference). Hickory forced me to stop and read the grain as I was chiseling out the curves. Almost split the wood right down through, but I caught myself early enough.

    It’s going to be a good looking saw and will last forever. But my next saw out of that second plank will be even better – now that I have some experience with Hickory. I’ll spend a bit more time first thinking things through. Hickory runs along the grain fast, so go slow. Transfer my lines properly – taking the time to be accurate actually speeds things up in the long run.

    Thank you Paul for a wonderful project and the skills I’m learning. I may be pushing half a century, but you can teach an old dog new tricks. Now I’m off to build the bench stool next for my son. I’d build it with him, but it’s a Christmas present. Don’t tell him! And my daughter now wants a dining room set. The list is beginning to grow!

  22. adrian on 24 November 2015 at 1:59 am

    Bravo, I am going to make a dozen and use them as Christmas gifts.
    Thanks so much Paul and crew , excellent example of real woodworking!!!

  23. Eric Weaver on 3 December 2015 at 5:16 pm

    After making the full sized version I decided that a smaller one would be nice too. I made it to fit a standard 12″ hacksaw blade. After cutting the Milwaukee band saw blade to length for the full sized version this left me with enough left over for 2 shorter blades (or another long blade). I call this one my dovetail saw. The full size was a bit unwieldy for that task in my opinion. This is just right plus it is much better than my cheapo hacksaw for those rare occasions when I need to do some metal cutting. I know that the Milwaukee blades will cut metal but I have dozens of hacksaw blades I picked up years ago. No need to dull the blade on metal. This saw was made from pallet wood. When I get something suitable for another I’ll dedicate this one to the hacksaw use. Really loving the frame saws! A small note on something I did to modify the saw. I found that my hand was slipping some while sawing. Some bicycle handlebar grip took care of that problem quite well. I got the kind that looks like leather wrap so it looks good too. It’s also pretty inexpensive.

  24. mitown on 6 January 2016 at 7:38 pm

    I was think of buying one of these. I’m so glad I didn’t, because it’s so much more fun to make one.
    We have a wood recycling centre in Abingdon where a while ago I’d bought a couple of old oak table legs. I’d been wondering what to make with them. Now, thanks to Paul’s excellent video, they’ve been converted to a very useful frame saw.
    Thank you Paul.

  25. Kevin O'Brien on 21 October 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Can this be made from cheap pine. Thought I would try this with cheaper wood first.

    But maybe pine is too weak??

    • Philip Adams on 7 December 2016 at 2:35 pm

      Hello Kevin, it could be somewhat limiting as far as longevity and strength are concerned.

  26. mark esterly on 3 December 2016 at 9:32 pm

    finished a frame saw in hickory and made blades from 3/4″ and 5/8″ wide strapping from shipping scrap following your method for re-cutting saw teeth . i was surprised how well it looks and cuts. thank you for sharing your craft.

  27. Sam Jackson on 24 January 2017 at 8:13 am

    Eventually, I now have a very good saw. I took the time to practice cutting the scallops – in pine; Paul makes it look very easy – it ain’t. Not if you want four ‘all the same’; but patience and practice, once again, turned the trick. The Tenon for the handle was a revelation; once again Paul sped through – faultless as ever, but its no mean trick to get it all ‘square, tight and straight – second go worked (ish) #3 was fine. I like cutting mortise joints and every one I do seems to be just a little better than the last – one needs to watch carefully how Paul does ‘em, the small (micro) movements reflect a true craftsman. Thanks Paul, very much, I shall dedicate the next joints I cut with my now much liked ‘frame saw’ to your teachings.

  28. Spencer Gaskins on 13 February 2017 at 3:47 am

    What a fun teaching/learning class! Having used power tools for most work, the shaping really concerned me – But, as usual, Mr. Sellers plows through as instills infectious confidence in those taught.

    Couple of things:
    I love mahogany and sharp chisels. Who would have thought that the thing that concerned me most was the thing about the project I loved the most? Sharp tools (once again, thank you Mr Sellers for the free class on sharpening…) made chiseling and hogging out the mortises like carving butter. I loved working with the wood so much, I ended up making two saws over the weekend.

    The knuckled mortise is a lot harder than it looks in the video. Of course, I am comparing my neophyte skills to a master craftsman, but I had no problem with very good, crisp mortises. ‘Knuckling’ the scallop and joining it to a convex tenon was a humbling experience. I need more practice with curved surfaces.

    I gained a lot of confidence with my chisels on this project. So much so, that the second frame saw took about 1/3 of the time than the first. I also gained a lot of confidence in my sawing technique and ability- I now have confidence that I can correct a saw line going astray. That was a nice lesson!

    This thing works well! I was able to cowboy the bandsaw blade and file down the rough edges. I made a couple different blades – a 10 tpi, a 10/14 tpi, and an 18 tpi. The saw is well balanced and cuts like a dream.

    Thanks for the class!

  29. Spencer Gaskins on 14 February 2017 at 12:17 am

    Oh, one more thing…

    When I first watched the videos, the shaping of the hand guard was intimidating. However, by the time it came to actually build the hand guard, I knocked it out in about 30 minutes. There was no hesitation, no ‘worry’ about whether I would mess it up, no lack of confidence in the ability to create an angled tenon or shaping the curve, Following Mr Sellers guidance – and he goes through this part quickly in the video – I just took what I had already learned by building the frame and just built it.

  30. Patrick O'Sullivan on 17 August 2017 at 7:50 pm

    First, thank you for so generously sharing your knowledge and experience! It is truly a gift!
    I’m very much a beginner at this and making the frame saw was the second project I tried on the recently finished workbench, which was the first thing I’ve ever built using hand tools! Thanks for that.
    I built the frame saw from some of the leftover 2×4’s I bought for building the workbench. I used a 15 tpi band saw blade, 3/8 inch wide and while it cuts incredibly well, I can’t seem to cut a straight line with it. Granted, I’m very much a novice at this but it cuts consistently to left every time. Not sure why. Any thoughts?

  31. Patrick O'Sullivan on 17 August 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Ok. Note to self, and anyone else having this problem, apparently the direction of the teeth on the blade is an important factor in determining whether or not your saw cuts straight! Who knew? (probably everyone) I turned the blade around so that they point to the rear, problem solved.

    Side note: what an incredible saw!

    Thank you Paul Sellers!

  32. Josh Jenkinson on 11 October 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Found a good place to get wide frame saw blades in the U.K. without having to import from fine tools in Germany or highland woodworking in the U.S -look for faithfull mitre saw blades. Under £5 from My Tool Shed. I got a 14tpi 550mm long thin blade which will hopefully work a treat.

  33. ted clawton on 29 May 2018 at 5:42 am

    Paul Sellers’ branding icon for websites and such should be some arrangement of a rag-stuffed bean can and a no. 4 Bailey-style plane. love the bean can’s multiple uses 😀 Can’t wait to try this project (twice, I’m sure :- )

  34. michael on 7 March 2019 at 5:44 pm

    Thanks I made this saw from pine that’s what I have also why is the toggle so long

    • Izzy Berger on 8 March 2019 at 3:39 pm

      Hi Michael,

      You can have it any length you want, you need to slide it up and down so it will catch on the main beam.

      Kind Regards,

  35. Mike Zeller on 6 November 2021 at 6:58 am

    I felt compelled to comment on how nice it is to actually see Mr. Sellers working at his full speed in various parts of this video series. We are so used to him slowing everything down so we can see exactly what he is doing. It’s nice to see him giving the tasks some welly now and again. 50 plus years of experience at work there. I am so grateful these bow saw videos were made, I have been wanting to make a couple saws for several years now. I have a much better idea of what to do to make that happen after watching all of the videos. Thanks again for all the hard work you all put in to these videos and the websites. Stay safe!

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