Despite writing my sensual spiel about the whys of the bandsaw, I haven’t actually used it since closing the workbench business.
That’s because I discovered the frame saw (that thing that the savages use).
Prior to four months ago, the most experience I had with one of these savage implements would have been the equivalent of a large coping saw (the turning saw), and I believe my experience is that of most English / American craftsmen. But I’ve now come to realise that one of the most underestimated tools in modern hand tool woodworking is the framesaw.
One frame saw that has had me very interested and quite possibly got me started on these, is those big sod off things used for re-sawing. Mr Rogers has done a wonderful job of tempting me with these, and I’m sure I will knock one up soon. I thought I’d start smaller though, as I wanted something a bit more general purpose.
As soon as I got my first saw knocked up I stuck my hand in to the off cut bin, raked out some rough stuff and chucked it in the vice.
I picked the saw up, my arm buckling under the load, I’d made the bloody thing too heavy. I gently positioned the blade against my thumb, gave the saw a light push and made the most cock-eyed cut I’d ever seen, nearly taking my thumb and arm with it. This seemed to confirm my beliefs that these saws were for the rough work. But as I gave the saw, and myself more time, I realised I was quite wrong.
After an afternoon of farting about with technique and modifications, I was splitting line after line and with great speed.
A little later Helen popped in to let me know that dinner was about ready – no chance, I had another frame to knock up. That’s how the addiction started.
Since then I’ve made many more, slowly closing in on a perfect, yet fast to build design. When I’m happy I’ll post drawings and ‘may’ do a video.
I’m now at about MK God knows what, and I can tell you a few things about the saws.
A few saws of different lengths will cover all your needs; dovetails to thick rips.
With the right blades (a post on those shortly), they cut shockingly fast, clean and straight with very little resistance.
They suit your body mechanics much better than conventional saws. Once in the right rhythm I can saw for hours with none of that cramp.
And if your other half sees you using one, well… nothing else will make you look this manly, just pop a roll up behind your ear.
If all is going wrong and you made the frame right, then blame yourself. It took me quite a while to master the thing. Stick at it and you will be rewarded.
The two drawbacks worth noting are that you will get sick of tensioning and un-tensioning the twine before and after use. And for thick, wide cross cuts the throat depth may hinder you. With technique you can get around it but it starts to lose it’s efficiency.
I’ve a lot more to say on these saws over the coming weeks – months, including some videos demonstrating them. So keep your eye out.