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The Frame Saw Part One


If you followed my last video series- The Kerfing Plane part onetwo and three,

and assuming you’ll make one of these fine tools to use in your own shop,

then this next video series should be of interest to you.

The Frame Saw.


The frame saw handle, finely shaped.

The frame saw handle, finely shaped.






















Although the frame saw is often associated with sawing shop made veneer,

the truth is, you’ll get just as much use out of it for general resawing and ripping tasks.

If you’re like me, you prefer to purchase 8/4  stock whenever you can;

furniture and cabinet parts are rarely made to anything close to this thickness so you immediately have some choices to make.

The kerfing plane and frame saw combination makes this kind of resawing accurate and effortless.

( well, not quite effortless -; )

Yes, shop made veneer is possible, but simply resawing thicker material is more likely to appeal to most users.

This first video begins with the hardware, and finishes off with shaping the frame.

There isn’t much to this design so I recommend you spend your time making the handles comfortable to use.

It still baffles me why wood workers make frame saws with only those little rounded corners to hold onto?

If you plan on doing any amount of resawing- make some handles!

They give feedback similar to rowing a boat or dare I say- using a Nautilus machine at a gym.

( not that I’d know anything about that! )

Some people write about frame saws and make them sound like the –be all and end all- of resawing.

The truth is, they’re not.

At least not in this scale.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you you’ll be resawing 14-in. wide planks all day with the saw I designed here.

It’s simply not the intended purpose.

These tools are designed for small to mid sized furniture parts, the scale of furniture I prefer working in.

Pieces in the 6 to 8-in.  (sometimes 10-in.) range are perfect for this size saw.

The Medicine Chest or Valet project from my book, The Unplugged Woodshop are great examples.

As always, I’ll break out some more details in later posts-

but until then, enjoy part one of the frame saw.




The music in this video was a piece I put together using samples and loops from the Mac.

Nothing special, just some rhythms and samples to create a mood behind the visuals.

Some of the tools used in the video are:

Wire Bender

Low Angle Jack Plane

Bevel-Up Jointer Plane

Bad Axe Backsaws





  1. Posted by Xavi Molina on Mar 11th, 2014

    Great video Tom. Thaks!. I was surprised to see how you draw a mark on both sides of the handle with compass. Always learn new things!

  2. Posted by Joe Eberle on Mar 11th, 2014

    Greetings !
    Watching your last few sessions s is really enjoyable. Thanks
    Can you give me a lead on where I can find a decent set of auger bits?
    I just acquired my first brace.
    Thanks for your time

  3. Posted by tom on Mar 11th, 2014

    thanks for the comments and question.
    The only place I know to recommend would be here- Ontario Antique Tools
    Besides that, you can always try your luck with FleaBay~; )
    all the best,

  4. Posted by Julio Alonso Diaz on Mar 12th, 2014

    Hello Mr Fidgen. Thanks for sharing this wonderful videos, it is a great effort from your side. I liked how you combined the fasteners materials in that awesome Bad Axe. I was wondering what do you thinK to get the auger bits from TOOLSFORWORKINGWOOD, I believe they are Clico brand made at sheffield and high quality.

    Keep it up, my best from spain.


  5. Posted by tom on Mar 12th, 2014


    nice to hear from you again, how are things in Spain?

    I’ve looked at those bits from TFWW many times and haven’t ordered. They look good. I’ve never known anyone to use them- maybe someone can leave a message here if they know about these auger bits and/or have tried them.
    You should email Joel at TFWW and ask him- I’m sure he’ll give you a straight answer~

    all the best,

  6. Posted by Julio Alonso Diaz on Mar 12th, 2014


    Thank you so much for your quick reply, things run very well at my shop but not in the country, you know, this mad world……..
    You are right, Joel is very kind as well as the writer/songer/artist (hahaha) of this site. Some time I spoke to him about other stuff and I was very pleased with his advice. I know another page to buy this bits in new condition, at germany:

    And I will not be long to get them, I think the brace is a funny and useful tool, when I do, I will be sharing with you my minds.

    All the best for you too, take care my dear friend.


  7. Posted by tom on Mar 12th, 2014

    My pleasure Julio-
    you’re right, it is a mad world- but working with our hands and heart make it a little bit better.
    For sure, send some feedback when you get some new auger bits, I’ll be curious to hear what you think.
    all the best ( from another snowy day in Toronto- ; )

  8. Posted by Josh on Mar 14th, 2014

    I’m in the midst of building this saw. I’m currently working on the mortises. I’m running into an issue of the divider between the mortises being very brittle. I chipped both on the back end but managed to get them glued back in. I’m using ash. Any tips for this part?

  9. Posted by tom on Mar 14th, 2014

    Thanks for the question.
    Are you chopping the mortises?
    If so, try drilling out the waste first and then use a chisel to square and clean up.
    Make sure your chisel is super sharp and take smaller bites.
    It sounds like the wood may be brittle so tread lightly-;)
    If all else fails, you can try a single mortise/tenon instead.
    Best of luck.
    I’d love to see some pics when you get it done ,

  10. Posted by Josh on Mar 14th, 2014


    I probably have been too aggressive. I’ll take it easy on the last couple. I sometimes get the mallet on my hand and feel like I should swing it as hard as I can. I hope to get to shaping this weekend and get it oiled and ready to use next week. Thanks again.


  11. Posted by Siavosh on Jun 4th, 2014

    Hi Tom, if I need to occasionally resaw a 12-14″ wide board, what dimension framesaw would you recommend? Or maybe another hand tool is better suited?


  12. Posted by tom on Jun 4th, 2014

    thanks for the question. For boards that wide, I’d recommend a frame saw blade at least 32-in. long- but you may want a blade even longer than that…
    The frame saw I made in my book would be a little short for 12-in. + wide boards-
    but I’ve since had Mark Harrell make me a longer saw plate ( 32-in. ) and it works great on wider stock.
    I also have a 36-in. blade which would probably be best for 14-in. boards.
    all the best~

  13. Posted by Gary on Jul 12th, 2014

    Very nice example!
    Question please — Would you expound on the angle of your handles?
    Did you find the downward angle (towards the saw frame) worked better? Would there be advantages or disadvantages for angling the handles away from the saw frame? I.e. which way is more versatile and more comfortable? If you build another frame-saw, how would you execute the handles?

  14. Posted by tom on Jul 12th, 2014

    Gary , thanks for the interest. I find these handles extremely comfortable in use. The only thing I’ve done differently is making a wider grip version.
    But the angle and splay of my original design in my last book, remained consistent .
    All the best-

  15. Posted by Eric on Mar 27th, 2015

    What’s the distance between the mortises, or at least the inside width of the frame? I am making the saw right now, and have all the parts squared up, and I’m getting ready to mark the mortises. I own your book and have watched the vids – but there is no mention of the width of the frame, unless I’m missing it.

  16. Posted by tom on Mar 27th, 2015

    Eric, thanks for the question. The width of the frame arm is noted on pg. 132 ( lower right corner ) as for the space between mortises, about 1/4-in.
    Hope that helps-
    Send me a pic when you get it finished!
    All the best

  17. Posted by tom on Mar 27th, 2015

    Eric, the specs are also in the cutlist on pg. 133

  18. Posted by Eric on Mar 28th, 2015

    Tom: thanks for your quick response! I meant the distance between the left mortise and right mortise, or the distance between the left arm and right arm. I’m guessing it’s about 11″ or 12″?

    When I get it done I’ll definitely send a pic.. My wife’s cousin bought an old hunting lodge in North Carolina and when we went to visit, they showed me the old workroom and there was about 50 board feet of 8/4 and 12/4 black walnut. The previous owner left it there, and they didn’t need it so I took what I could and brought it back to Michigan! So that’s what the frame saw is being made of (and other things)…

  19. Posted by tom on Mar 28th, 2015

    Eric- the distance on my first saw is about 8 5/8-in.
    As I mention in the book, make it as wide as you need and/or as wide as your shoulder width for comfort.
    I don’t work with any stock thicker than 2-in. wide, 4-in. on a rare occasion-
    so the heavy 8-in. span between the arms is plenty.
    all the best~

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