Frame Saws, Bow Saws, Turning Saws

Frame Saws, Bow Saws, Turning Saws

Wooden frame saws, also called bow saws, are built with two arms, with a bar or beam mortised into the center of the arms, forming an "H" shape. The saw blade is attached across the bottom of the H, and a tensioning system across the top. The beam mortised into the centers of the two arms provides the fulcrum around which the blade is tensioned. Because the blade is in tension, it can be significantly thinner than an ordinary hand saw blade, which must be relatively beefy so as not to buckle. Traditionally the tension was provided with several loops of hemp string in a Spanish windlass, but today it is more common to use a rod tightened with a wing nut at one or both ends.

Frame saws can be used for almost any job: cross cutting, rip sawing, crosscutting wet wood, cutting curves, and cutting shapes within a board. By cross cutting we mean cutting across the grain of a board to shorten it. Rip sawing is cutting along the grain to straighten or narrow a board. Because the blade of a frame saw is easy to release, one can drill a pilot hole, undo one end of the blade, put it through the hole, and then re-attach the blade and cut out almost any kind of shape inside the board, a long through mortise, for instance. Every task demands its own kind of blade for optimal performance. Rip cutting needs a blade with relatively large, flat filed teeth. Crosscut blades have finer teeth filed at an angle. The turning saw uses a narrow blade with fine teeth set for a wider kerf to enable it to cut curves. A big advantage of frame saws is that the blades are relatively long and so permit faster cutting than other types.

Many people enjoy building their own frame saws. They are fairly easy to make, and can be very inexpensive without sacrificing any quality relative to a manufactured product. A nice bonus is that one can give free reign to fantasy in the design and ornamentation of the saw. With a blade, a few bits of hardware, and wood from the scrap pile, one can also knock together a serviceable frame for a special job in a few minutes. But be careful: we have seen, for example, a saw built with thin, elegant arms and an even thinner center beam. Lovely saw, but the builder soon found that the frame was no where near stiff enough to offset the blade tension needed, and the arms were too thin in section to provide a good grip. So one needs to pay attention to the strength and ergonomics parameters. For those interested in this end of woodworking we offer not only spare blades, but also steel blade holders, and twisted hemp cord. It might also be worth having a look at our short section on sharpening saw blades, or better, the directions from Friedrich Kollenrott, which are comprehensive, but unfortunately only in German. We find that the many of the ordinary frame saw blades offered today often have too much set in the teeth, and have not been very well sharpened. This does not need to be a problem if one knows how to fix this. Alternatively one can buy Japanese frame saw blades, which are optimally set and sharpened, but which cannot be re-sharpened.

Important: One should not leave frame saws under tension after work is finished, as this exposes the components to too much stress and can damage the saw.

These photos compare the different types of frame saw blades, rip, cross, wet wood, and turning saw blades more or less in their relative sizes.

Rip cut blade Cross cut blade Farmer's saw blade Turning saw blade
Rip cut blade Cross cut blade Farmer's saw blade Turning saw blade

ECE Bow Saws

The saw blades for the ECE saws can, when they are the same length, be easily exchanged to match the task at hand. The saw arms are in red beech. The beam is in a flexible, light tropical wood, and the frame is tensioned using a wing nut on the threaded end of a 5 mm steel rod. These bow saws show a very good level of fit and finish.

With all ECE bow saws the distance between the saw blade and the beam is about 110 mm, but if you pivot the blade 90 this becomes 130 mm. The length given for the ECE saw blades is the entire length of the blade, and not the distance between the mounting hole centers.

ECE Universal Saw with Japanese Blade

ECE Universal Saw with Japanese Blade

Japanese Replacement Blade
Japanese Replacement Blade 600 mm
ECE Universal Saw with Japanese Blade
This frame saw with a high performance Japanese universal saw blade makes fast and clean cuts along and across the grain. For rip cut, cross cut and diagonal cuts! The blade of this saw cannot be re-sharpened due to the impulse hardening process. It holds its sharpness for a long time. Japanese frame saw blades are thinner than Western blades, therefore they are more delicate. Avoid rough treatment!

ECE Universal Saw with Japanese Blade 600 mm
Blade details see repl. blade!
Order nr. 301149 cart
Price € 64.00

Japanese Replacement Blade 600 mm
Pitch 2 mm
Blade thickness 0.6 mm
Kerf approx. 1.0 mm
Blade width 33 mm
Total length 600 mm
Distance hole center to hole center 570 mm
Teeth row length 545 mm
Order nr. 300645 cart
Price € 27.90

ECE Universal Saw with Japanese Blade 700 mm
Blade details see repl. blade!
Order nr. 301147 cart
Price € 68.00

Japanese Replacement Blade 700 mm
Pitch 2 mm
Blade thickness 0.6 mm
Kerf approx. 1.0 mm
Blade width 33 mm
Total length 700 mm
Distance hole center to hole center 672 mm
Teeth row length 645 mm
Order nr. 300646 cart
Price € 31.40
ECE Rip Cut Bow Saw
For resawing and all rip cuts such as tenons.

ECE Rip Cut Bow Saw with Blade 600 mm
Blade details see repl. blade!
Order nr. 301162 cart
Price € 42.00

Replacement Blade 600 mm
Pitch 5 mm
Blade thickness 0.7 mm
Kerf approx. 1.2 mm
Blade width 40 mm
Total length 600 mm
Distance hole center to hole center 577 mm
Teeth row length 590 mm
Order nr. 301163 cart
Price € 7.50

ECE Rip Cut Bow Saw with Blade 700 mm
Blade details see repl. blade!
Order nr. 301153 cart
Price € 45.00

Replacement Blade 700 mm
Pitch 5 mm
Blade thickness 0.7 mm
Kerf approx. 1.2 mm
Blade width 40 mm
Total length 700 mm
Distance hole center to hole center 677 mm
Teeth row length 690 mm
Order nr. 301154 cart
Price € 8.50
ECE Cross Cut Bow Saw
For all kinds of crosscut

ECE Cross Cut Bow Saw with Blade 600 mm
Blade details see repl. blade!
Order nr. 301150 cart
Price € 42.00

Replacement Blade 600 mm
Pitch 3 mm
Blade thickness 0.7 mm
Kerf approx. 1.1 mm
Blade width 40 mm
Total length 600 mm
Distance hole center to hole center 577 mm
Teeth row length 590 mm
Order nr. 301152 cart
Price € 7.50

ECE Cross Cut Bow Saw with Blade 700 mm
Blade details see repl. blade!
Order nr. 301151 cart
Price € 45.00

Replacement Blade 700 mm
Pitch 3 mm
Blade thickness 0.7 mm
Kerf approx. 1.1 mm
Blade width 40 mm
Total length 700 mm
Distance hole center to hole center 677 mm
Teeth row length 690 mm
Order nr. 301171 cart
Price € 8.50
ECE Farmer’s Bow Saw

ECE Farmer’s Bow Saw

ECE Farmer’s Bow Saw Blade
ECE Farmer’s Bow Saw Blade
ECE Farmer’s Bow Saw
coarse and fast cut, also for wet wood, ideal saw for firewood.

ECE Farmer’s Bow Saw with Blade 600 mm
Blade details see repl. blade!
Order nr. 301156 cart
Price € 42.00

Replacement Blade 600 mm
Pitch 7 mm
Blade thickness 0.7 mm
Kerf approx. 1.4 mm
Blade width 40 mm
Total length 600 mm
Distance hole center to hole center 577 mm
Teeth row length 590 mm
Order nr. 301157 cart
Price € 7.50

ECE Farmer’s Bow Saw with Blade 700 mm
Blade details see repl. blade!
Order nr. 301158 cart
Price € 45.00

Replacement Blade 700 mm
Pitch 7 mm
Blade thickness 0.7 mm
Kerf approx. 1.4 mm
Blade width 40 mm
Total length 700 mm
Distance hole center to hole center 677 mm
Teeth row length 690 mm
Order nr. 301159 cart
Price € 8.50
ECE Turning Bow Saw

ECE Turning Bow Saw

ECE Turning Bow Saw Blade
ECE Turning Bow Saw Blade
ECE Turning Bow Saw
to cut sweeps
blade can be removed for sawing within a plane surface.

ECE Turning Bow Saw with Blade 600 mm
Blade details see repl. blade!
Order nr. 301164 cart
Price € 42.00

Replacement Blade 600 mm
Pitch 3 mm
Blade thickness 0.6 mm
Kerf approx. 1.2 mm
Blade width 10 mm
Total length 600 mm
Distance hole center to hole center 575 mm
Teeth row length 600 mm
Order nr. 301165 cart
Price € 7.50

Japanese blades for bow saws and frame saws

Using a Japanese blade can substantially improve the quality of cut and general ease of use with frame saws. The saw teeth are laser hardened, which means they will remain sharp much longer than with conventional blades, but also means that they cannot be re-sharpened. Depending on how they are mounted, they can cut either on the push or pull stroke. If you hear or feel a light clattering while sawing, change the angle at which the blade enters the wood, which will help you to obtain a finer cut. Experiment with different blade angles, and you will be surprised at how much improvement you can expect in the speed and accuracy of the cut.

Japanese saw blades are thinner than the normal European types, and so a little bit more demanding. So be careful for instance to keep the blade lined up exactly in the cut. This will avoid kinking the blade. The listed lengths are for the total blade length! These blades fit easily into the saws from ECE and Ulmia, but not into the frames made by Wilhelm Putsch. If you would like anyway to use the Japanese blades in a Putsch frame, you will need to alter the mounting system using two of the blade holders listed near the bottom of the page, and you will also need to extend the middle beam a few millimeters or perhaps more simply make a new one.

The distance between the mounting holes in the same nominal length can be a few millimeters different. One must be aware of this when changing from a standard blade to a Japanese blade. See chart!
Japanese Blade for Universal Use
Japanese Blade for Universal Use 600 mm
Japanese Blade for Universal Use 600 mm
for ripcut, cross cuts, diagonal cuts.
Pitch 2 mm
Blade thickness 0.6 mm
Kerf approx. 1.0 mm
Blade width 33 mm
Total length 600 mm
Distance hole center to hole center 570 mm
Teeth row length 545 mm
Order nr. 300645 cart
Price € 27.90

Japanese Blade for Universal Use 700 mm
Pitch 2 mm
Blade thickness 0.6 mm
Kerf approx. 1.0 mm
Blade width 33 mm
Total length 700 mm
Distance hole center to hole center 672 mm
Teeth row length 645 mm
Order nr. 300646 cart
Price € 31.40
Japanese Crosscut Blade
Japanese Crosscut Blade
Japanese Crosscut Blade 600 mm
Pitch 2 mm
Blade thickness 0.6 mm
Kerf approx. 1.0 mm
Blade width 41 mm
Total length 600 mm
Distance hole center to hole center 570 mm
Teeth row length 540 mm
Order nr. 300643 cart
Price € 28.20
Japanisches Schlitzsägeblatt
Japanisches Schlitzsägeblatt
Japanese Ripcut Blade 600 mm
Pitch 2.8 mm
Blade thickness 0.6 mm
Kerf approx. 1.0 mm
Blade width 41 mm
Total length 600 mm
Distance hole center to hole center 570 mm
Teeth row length 540 mm
Order nr. 300644 cart
Price: € 28.20

Hardware to Build Your Own Frame Saw

Aside from a saw blade you need only 2 blade holders and some (recommended) specially produced hemp string to build your own saw! If you are looking into these saws, we are sure you have enough wood lying around to build something beautiful!

Pair Saw Blade Holder
If the blade holders on your saw are integrated in the frame, or you want to make your own saw, you need these holders. It is possible that you will have to widen the slot of an existing frame handle.
Total length 98 mm
Thickness 2.5 mm
Comes with screw and washer
Order nr. 301170 cart
Price for one pair € 9.00
Twisted Hemp Cord
Twisted Hemp Cord
Thickness 2 mm
For all those who hate these modern wires and steel rods.
We recommend 5 m for one saw.
Order nr. 109002 cart
Price per meter € 0.40
Hörnchen mit Stift für ECE Gestellsägen
Handle with Pin for ECE Bow Saws<
Handle with Pin for ECE Bow Saws
Due to a smaller distance of the blade mounting holes of Japanese blades we stock these handles with two different pin positions.
Total length 140 mm
Handle length 86 mm
Diameter of through rod 15 mm
Made of beechwood

Handle with Pin for ECE Bow Saws with Western Blade
Picture top
Pin center 9 mm distance from handle edge
Order nr. 301180 cart
Price per piece € 3.50

Handle with Pin for ECE Bow Saws with Japanese Blade
Picture bottom
Pin center 5 mm distance from handle edge
Order nr. 301181 cart
Price per piece € 3.50
 
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