Friday, June 24, 2011

Frame Saw Progress

Moving along with the frame saw project—once you cut the mortise and tenons for the arms (what I'm calling the horizontal boards that hold the blade) and stretchers, it's time to work on the blade-holding mechanism.

One end of the blade will be held in place with a lag screw (minus its head). The other end will have a carriage bolt.

Both the screw and bolt need to be sawn down the middle along the last inch or so of their lengths. Then you need to drill a hole through them that lines up with the holes that are located at each end of the blade. (The blade that I bought from Highland Hardware had holes, otherwise, you'll have to drill them yourself.)

These sets of holes are for crosspins, or screws, or nails—whatever you'd like to use to keep the blade from falling out of the frame.

You need to cut the head off the lag screw so you can add a washer and nut to that end. By tightening the nut, the blade is tensioned.

At the other end of the frame is a carriage bolt that does not need to move.  After I drilled the hole in the arm for the carriage bolt, I squared up the top of the hole so the carriage bolt can drop down into it, locking it in place.

At this point, you have a workable saw that will be murder on your hands.

Now comes the fun part: shaping the arms and stretchers to make the saw more comfortable to use and easier on the eyes.


Stephen Shepherd said...

Only one blade?


Dyami Plotke said...

Looks like a nice saw, Kari. Are you making it for the pleasure of making it, or will it give you cutting capacity you don't otherwise have?

Jeremiah said...

Do you think a 3/4" band saw blade, cut to the appropriate length would work for a saw like that? A couple weeks ago I ruined a pretty nice Woodslicer bandsaw blade from Highland Woodworking because I forgot to set the tension when I powered up my bandsaw. Oops. The blade is still really sharp, it just has a really prominent bend in it now that I haven't been able to hammer out so it won't run smooth at all and I worry trying to use it would mess up my bearings. At the same time, I don't really want to throw it out because it is relatively new and quite sharp.

Brian said...

Lookin' good. You avoided the pitfall of too-small hardware that I made on my first pass. I wonder, however, if the kerfs in the arms are going to be deep enough. When I got the tension in my blade good and tight, the arms bent in more than I thought they would.

I'm almost ready to use my frame saw again on my new project. Not sure if I'm looking forward to it--I'd really like to remake it on a larger scale with a custom blade, but project-completion pressure is building.

Make sure that blade is sharp!

Bob Easton said...

for Jeremiah...

That bandsaw blade will work ... IF ... all you want to do with it is make rough cuts. (Many discussions about this on the Sawmill Creek forums). People have had some success using bandsaw blades with much smaller turning saws, but not much at all with large frame saws.

For really good ripping, and maybe even resawing, a good wide blade like the one Kari wisely selected is the better solution.

Bob Easton said...

for Kari...

Whoa!!! Look at those arms. Doesn't look like you'll break this saw. It will be interesting to see how you make it more comfortable.

FWIW, I found myself handling my saw from both the crossbars and the sidebars. So, there are several areas that need to be hand friendly. Depends on what you're sawing.

As always, very nicely built!

Vic Hubbard said...

I can't wait for the video of that bad boy in action.

Kari Hultman said...

Stephen, for now....

Dyami, I need to cut some logs into planks and I neither own nor wish to own a chainsaw, so this saw is the ticket.

Jeremiah, as Bob noted a couple comments after yours, band saw blades don't seem to work all that well with this saw. I use old bandsaw blades for scratch stock--they're perfect for that.

Brian, I tightened the blade pretty well and the arms/stretchers didn't flex. I haven't shaped it yet, though, and the parts are pretty beefy. Might be a different story when they're thinner.

Bob, thanks for posting the link and adding your thoughts about the bandsaw blade. I saw some of these saws in use and noted that people use both the arms and stretchers for gripping. That's why I'm adding handholds on the arms, like the one in the Roubo plate.

Vic, Nancy has agreed to demonstrate using the saw. You guys are in for a real treat!

Arthur van der Harg said...


You might be interested in the first video at Caspar Labarre's site. He made a copy of the saw with Roubo's version of the tensioning mechanism. You can see the saw in action on a pretty interesting resawing job. Action starts at about 2:20 in.

Arthur van der Harg

Santiago said...

Hi Kari

Why don't you build anatomic handles for the saw?

Bob said...

I for one appreciate the well manicured nails in the first series of photos. Nice.
Oh, the saw is pretty cool too btw.

Anonymous said...

Now that's what I call re-sawing !
Wish I understood what he was commenting about, I'm sure it was apposite.


Kari Hultman said...

Arthur, thanks for the link. Very cool!

Santiago, you mean like arms that look like real arms?

Thanks, Bob. :o)

Sinonm, he certainly seems to know what he's doing. He's got a monster blade in that saw.

Arthur van der Harg said...

Ah, should have realised he speaks Dutch :-)

Quick translation:

On the bolt: The bolt tapers and there's a depression in the plate so that it will center itself.

On the handles: The handles are left rough like proper sawyers would do, using only a rasp. That way you'll get nice calluses.

On the sawing motion: You can really keep this up for long. [pause] I notice this is more precise. And now I understand why veneer sawyers saw horizontally, it is because they then have many fewer imperfections in the cut. The saw is resting on the stuff and all they have to do is balance it. The saw stays straight in the kerf because it drops down. So they only have to adjust the balance, which is much more precise than going up and down. Then all sideways motion matters in the stroke and there's much more room for error. This is much more precise because the saw is resting and all you have to do is... this... to follow the cut.

The blade he's using seems to come from a two-handed tree-felling saw.

Arthur van der Harg said...

That should be a two-handled tree-felling saw, not a two-handed one.

Docwks said...

I'm just curious why you are using a frame saw to make planks? I know you don't like chain saws and that I understand, but you don't have any local woodworking bud that will let you use their bandsaw? I mean I like doing things by hand, that's like work with sweat and everything. How long are these logs? I'm sorry just think a frame, buck or bowsaw have there place, but man they are work. As a kid I "got" to use a two man crosscut saw for a summer, I was one buff 8th grader that next school year.

Kari Hultman said...

Arthur, thank you for the translation!

Mr Bill, I've wanted to build a frame saw for awhile— probably since I saw the one at Colonial Williamsburg—and this seemed like a good project for it. I actually do have a rather large bandsaw (18"), but it didn't seem to want to cut these logs. I probably need to sharpen the blade or buy a new one.

johnjoiner said...

Nice Kari.

I little tool gloat here - check out my frame saw here:

If you need help with those logs you can bring them to the HTO booth at WIA. We'll bring our saws. ;)

Denver Brad said...

I've wanted to build a frame saw to use to resaw rough stock. Your post has been essential to fill in missing details.

I especially like the sharing of your techniques to, for example, get a straight slot cut into the middle of the bolts. It's specific info like that that makes your post so very helpful to someone who's never built a frame saw. i.e. me :)

Kari Hultman said...

John, nice frame saw! I'll look forward to seeing your in person. I will not, however, have my logs in tow. ; )

Denver, I'm so glad it was helpful. Good luck building yours!