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Jim Koepke
02-12-2009, 1:57 AM
There was mention of different ways to use a fret saw when cutting dove tails, but they can be used for so much more, so here is a new thread on fret saws.

My description of the Great Neck 250 was incorrect, it does not have a washer for the serrations, the clamp threads into the handle. There are serrations on the bow and the clamp to allow swinging the bow 360. The two saws on the right are both marked PEER. The one all the way to the right says Germany and the other says West Germany. This probably dates one to pre WWII and the other to after WWII.

The one all the way to the left has no markings. It doesn't have a top fine tensioner. It does have some sort of decorative "finial" or such. My only thought as to use is to catch it on something while setting the blade tension.

The second picture is a detail of the Great Neck's mount to the handle.

jim

Dewey Torres
02-12-2009, 2:02 AM
Jim,
This has to be the first time in almost a year I can remember that YOU were incorrect!


No worries though. The guy that was perfect got nailed to a cross!

Thanks for the correction. You still darn near perfect~

Doug Shepard
02-12-2009, 5:46 AM
So is the 2nd one from left the Great Neck? The thing that got my interest on that one is the other side. Is that a threaded frame section and nut that locks the position instead of a thumbscrew clamp? That looks like it might be a bit easier to tension?

Hank Knight
02-12-2009, 6:16 AM
Jim,

Where do you get your blades and what TPI do you like?

Hank

John Keeton
02-12-2009, 7:11 AM
This is the Olsen that is sold by Craftsman Studio (and others) and I believe Cosman -it bears resemblance to some of the ones Jim has shown.

http://www.craftsmanstudio.com/images_p/C018001D.jpg

Alan DuBoff
02-12-2009, 9:29 AM
Here's a few I have, the exact same one that John Keeton posted a pic of, and I'm not sure if you can see or not, but the blade is kinked/twisted.

Above it is a miller falls with a deep throat and that's a nice one, I love those ornate knobs...and the extra depth comes in handy.

On the right is some type of European saw, possibly, not sure. All the pieces are marked OR, whatever that means, they're stamped all over...

Hank, FWIW, I have tried several tpi, 12, 18, and one other (21 or 23). I can't remember but the last one was in the twenties (I have tried 3 TPIs). I might have them in the garage if I look. The 12s work well, unless you are working fairly hard woods. I broke the blades on all three of these saws trying to cut the waste out of some purple heart and hickory on a dimensional bench I renovated in my garage.. It's nice to have more than one in that case, as it takes some time to get the blade in and kinked/twisted.

Jim Koepke
02-12-2009, 12:24 PM
Dewey, LOL and thanks.

Doug, Yes, the Great Neck is easy to tension. Though with my weight and something to push on, those things just about tension themselves for fear of me leaning on 'em. Have a fewf different blades, I think the one in the GN is at 18 tpi and the other is about 12 tpi. One of the blades is spiral cut, it is a bit fatter than the others.

Hank, Got my blades from Lee-Valley. Usually buy the packages of different tpi.

John, I wonder if Olsen bought peer or if it is like Bailey planes in that everyone copies what works.

Alan, The Miller's Falls is nice, I would like to get a deep frame fret, but that is what hunting is about. That one on the right looks like the frame is upside down or something.

Twisting the blades was mentioned, is the twisting done before putting the blade in the saw?

jim

John Keeton
02-12-2009, 1:35 PM
Jim, not sure on the buyout with Olsen. My guess is that it is an old design that has long since lost any patent protection.

They carry that saw in a 3" deep, and a 5" deep model. I use the 3" (shown in the pic) which works fine for dovetails in drawer stock. If one needed a deeper cut, then the 5" obviously would be the better choice.

Jose Kilpatrick
02-12-2009, 2:42 PM
After watching the 3 minute dovetail video, I definitley want to buy one or ten. I haven't found any locally, yet. Anyone know Where can I pick one up in the North Houston area?

John Keeton
02-12-2009, 3:38 PM
Jose, Woodcraft carries the fret saw (http://www.woodcraft.com/product.aspx?ProductID=141410&FamilyID=3720), but not the 12.5 skip tooth blades that Cosman uses. You can also buy the saw (http://www.craftsmanstudio.com/html_p/C018001D.htm) and the skip tooth blades from Craftsman Studio. Shipping is a bit high though.

Alan DuBoff
02-12-2009, 3:53 PM
After watching the 3 minute dovetail video, I definitley want to buy one or ten. I haven't found any locally, yet. Anyone know Where can I pick one up in the North Houston area?
As I have mentioned in another thread, if someone is considering a fret saw to cut the waste out of dovetails, the better solution is to use the thin coping saw blades which Tools For Working Wood sells. The ones that are .018" thick (http://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/Merchant/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=toolshop&Product_Code=MS-COPE.XX&Category_Code=TMQ) work with most all dovetail saws, and are worth considering. The coping saws are cheaper, and secure the blade much better, as well as being able to turn so you don't have to kink the blade.

Jim, you kink the blade after you put it in the saw. So, you just put the fret saw blade in normally, and then just take a needle nose pliers and tweak it at each end.

You know, I never thought much about it, but it might be possible to kink the blade around 45 degrees, so that the front was in properly and the mid/rear was kinked 45 degrees, so you could use the fret saw like Frank Klausz does his bow saw (bigger blade, much harder to twist) by starting off with the blade in the bottom of the slot and just put it through to continue the cut on the twisted section, if that makes sense.

But to be honest, the coping saw is a better solution to the problem, at least in my experience. You get a a pack of 12 blades for about $7 at TFWW, and they fit most any coping saw.

Jose Kilpatrick
02-12-2009, 5:19 PM
Thank you both.

David Keller NC
02-12-2009, 8:21 PM
Guys - I still do not understand why anyone finds it necessary to kink the blade on a fretsaw. When I do use them, I simply make one push into the kerf, then rotate the frame around 90 degrees on the return stroke. My thought on dovetailing is the less steps, the better, and futzing around with needle nose pliers and blades an extra bother - why bother?

Jose Kilpatrick
02-12-2009, 9:45 PM
I'm not sure how to consider your advice at post # 666.... lol j/k

Alan DuBoff
02-12-2009, 9:52 PM
Guys - I still do not understand why anyone finds it necessary to kink the blade on a fretsaw. When I do use them, I simply make one push into the kerf, then rotate the frame around 90 degrees on the return stroke. My thought on dovetailing is the less steps, the better, and futzing around with needle nose pliers and blades an extra bother - why bother?
I don't know about futzing, but if you have a fret saw with a 3" - 5" throat, which most are, how would you cut the waste out if the board your working on is 24" long? This is where a deep throat fret saw comes into play, like the Miller Falls I pictured earlier in the thread, but still, what do you do when you get a 36" board to dovetail, like a chest?

Maybe I'm not understanding you correctly, can you post pics of how you do this David? Or describe it better?

David Keller NC
02-13-2009, 9:41 AM
Alan - Your post clears this up a bit for me. What I meant was the 99% of cases that I'm doing in my shop - dovetailing drawers. I've two fet saws, one with a 5" throat, and one with an 8" throat that covers just about all situations on drawers. I really wasn't thinking about case sides, in which case you're quite right - a fret saw with an 18" throat would be getting rdiculous (though they still made them up until about 2 years ago).

As for what I do, it'd be difficult to photograph, and I unfortunately do not have a video camera. But I can try to describe what I do a little better: Once the kerf is finished from the dovetail saw (a Western saw -I'm not sure the kerf from a dozuki would be wide enough to accomodate a fret saw blade), I insert the fret saw and slide it down to the bottom of the kerf with the blade extended all the way forward (I set up my fret saws to cut on the pull stroke).

While pulling the fret saw towards me, I twist my wrist so the saw frame winds up at about 45 degrees from horizontal at the end of the stroke. The next stroke completes the move to horizontal, and the fret saw blade is now cutting horizontally along the baseline of the dovetail. From there, of course, it's smooth sailing until the other side and the "tooth" pops out.

Reading this description takes considerably longer than it does to execute it - I've practiced the twist so much that I really don't think about it or slow the progress of the stroke at all.

Jim Koepke
02-13-2009, 11:23 AM
After watching the 3 minute dovetail video, I definitley want to buy one or ten. I haven't found any locally, yet. Anyone know Where can I pick one up in the North Houston area?

Mine were bought in eBay auctions. Be careful and do not get carried away. The sellers often do not know what they are selling. Currently, there are more fret saws listed under coping saws than under fret saws. Here is a listing for one that looks similar to the Great Neck 250. 220358656012

This is one that "looks like" a Miller's Falls. 270342072308 It looks like one of the original screws went missing.

Here is another listing for a group. 130286925866 Nothing special, one looks a lot like my post WWII PEER. One looks like it may be difficult to tension a blade. The wing nuts on the brown handled one look a bit cheapy to me.

This one you have to see to believe! 250360216651 Who would have thunk it? A chain drive fret saw. There is always someone trying to build the better mouse trap.:o

jim

Jose Kilpatrick
02-13-2009, 2:18 PM
A coping saw can be angled 360 degrees and can be angled in such a way (somewhere around 30 degrees) where you can cut out waste in dovetails. Now if you were cutting dovetails on some 4" thick stock, I could see where a fretsaw would complete the task and a coping saw would not.

BTW Alan, thanks for the link. I ordered one of the coping saws with the 18 TPI .018" thick blades. I'll let you know how it performs.

Alan DuBoff
02-13-2009, 3:10 PM
A coping saw can be angled 360 degrees and can be angled in such a way (somewhere around 30 degrees) where you can cut out waste in dovetails. Now if you were cutting dovetails on some 4" thick stock, I could see where a fretsaw would complete the task and a coping saw would not.
Actually, the fret saw is better suited for thin material, like for marquetry or detail work that needs to be cut out by hand such as inlay.

Yes, the pins will secure and hold the blade much better, so at the end of the day the coping saw can do the same thing, if the blade is thin enough to fit in the kerf. If it is not, you could always make 2 passes for each cut, to clean the waste out, but the idea of using a fret saw and/or the thin blades is so that you can get the blade in the dovetail kerf and angle and turn it as David Keller describes, that is how I do it also David.

The limitation of using a fret saw without kinking the blade is that you are limited to the depth of the frame, so 2x that distance is the most you can cut (using the throat on both side of the board).

BTW Alan, thanks for the link. I ordered one of the coping saws with the 18 TPI .018" thick blades. I'll let you know how it performs.
Please do let us know how you like them. They have a courser blade with 15 TPI, but it is .020". That will work for many dovetail saws also, but the .018" is a safer bet, even the older Disston 68/69/70 saws had a plate that was less than .020" in some cases. At least I have some that mic out at about .017"-.018".

I am using .020 on a 13" long plate I'm working on right now. But I would use .018" up to about 12". Andrew Lunn is using .015" on his dovetail saws, and for saws up to about 8"-10" I think that would work fine. There is quite a difference between an 8" and a 12" long plate.

All of our mileage varies, some folks don't even cut the waste out with a saw...it's not just about how thin the saw plate is, it depends on the type of saw, how course the teeth are, the rake, the amount of set, etc...and therein lies the science of saw making.:)

frank shic
02-13-2009, 7:50 PM
You know, I never thought much about it, but it might be possible to kink the blade around 45 degrees, so that the front was in properly and the mid/rear was kinked 45 degrees, so you could use the fret saw like Frank Klausz does his bow saw (bigger blade, much harder to twist) by starting off with the blade in the bottom of the slot and just put it through to continue the cut on the twisted section, if that makes sense.


this is a FASCINATING idea and deserves further research...

paul womack
02-20-2009, 11:52 AM
There was mention of different ways to use a fret saw when cutting dove tails, but they can be used for so much more, so here is a new thread on fret saws.


Those are beautiful saws, but I'd call them "jewellers" or "piercing" saws, as opposed to "fret" saws.

Fret saws are used (doh!) for fretwork, which requires a far deeper throat. 12" is the smallest I know of, and I own a 18" model.

Here's a modern one:

http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=3&p=45654&cat=1,42884,42902

BugBear

John Keeton
02-20-2009, 12:08 PM
Frank, on kinking the blade more than 30 degrees, use caution - they will snap! Not very expensive, but hate to waste one.