Fret saw blades

Includes workshop practice, painting and weathering, model photography etc.
User avatar
David B
Posts: 969
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:30 pm

Fret saw blades

Postby David B » Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:33 pm

Can someone advise me on a suitable fret saw blades? I have never used a fret saw and I am completely unfamiliar with what sort of blade might be used for what purpose.

User avatar
Will L
Posts: 1518
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 3:54 pm

Re: Fret saw blades

Postby Will L » Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:29 pm

Do you mean a fret (or coping) saw (for cutting sheet wood and similar) as against a piercing (or jewellers) saw for cutting metal sheet. In general there needs to be as many teeth on the blade as possible in the width of the sheet being cut.

In a fret saw the sheets and the blades are relativity thick and a generic blade will do the job for most modellers. They will last a long time and only break if you really abuse them.

Piercing saws are a lot finer and a lot more critical, while the max number of teeth rule is still true, as they get very fine they also get very fragile and there is a trade off between having enough teeth to cut easily, and not wearing out and breaking in no time. N.B. to few teeth makes cutting very difficult and again leads to breaking. Often brought in packs of various sizes so you can chose a blade to suit the job. This does take expedience, expect to brake a lot.

See here for more guidance viewtopic.php?f=7&t=4831 mostly piercing saw but some info on fretsaw blades too.

Alan Turner
Posts: 493
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 4:24 pm

Re: Fret saw blades

Postby Alan Turner » Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:44 pm

And is the fret saw a hand saw or a mechanically driven saw?

regards

Alan

User avatar
John Bateson
Posts: 632
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 6:39 pm

Re: Fret saw blades

Postby John Bateson » Wed Jul 04, 2018 6:34 am

I use a piercing saw to good effect, with Anchor (Gold) saw blades which can be bought in packs of 144 for £6 and various teeth ratios from eBay. I normally use 4/0 and 6/0. A good piercing saw will be about a tenner.
I don't break many, but use any broken bits with the ends wrapped in tape to open up slots such as coupling slots.

I think the trick when using them is to use very little downwards pressure but lots of motion and keep the blade tight. I even use mine for small bars on the lathe, simpler than searching for the junior hacksaw or changing the cutting blade on the lathe.

Its about 60 years since I used a fret saw ...

John

Terry Bendall
Posts: 1485
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 7:46 am

Re: Fret saw blades

Postby Terry Bendall » Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:23 am

A fret saw has a deep frame and uses thin blades similar to those used in a piercing saw. The frame is usually about 10 - 12 inches deep. A coping saw is a different animal and uses a thicker blade and used for cutting thicker material, usually timber. The frame is usually about 5 inches deep. A fret sawing machine is a motor driven fret saw - in days gone by it would be a treadle driven machine. Put the names into your favourite search engine to see pictures or alternative look in a text book. :) On the fret saw, piercing saw and coping saw the teeth should point towards the handle and the saw cuts on the backward or downward stroke. That way the blade stays in tension during cutting and so reduces the risk of breaking the blade.

The fret saw is normally used to cut wood although with the correct blade, it could be used to cut metal. The basic rule for any type of saw blade is that there should always be a minimum of three teeth in contact with the material being cut.

The traditional way to use a fret saw or a piercing saw is to hold the work on a saw table - a piece of plywood or similar board about 15mm thick with a vee notch cut out of it and clamped to the workbench. A thick block helps to raise up the table to a more comfortable height. The saw is then used with the blade vertical. The saw table is used to support the work being cut. Both can be used with the work held vertically in a vice but that is better when cutting thicker material which is less likely to flex.

Here ends the craft lesson. :)

Terry Bendall

User avatar
Le Corbusier
Posts: 932
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2015 3:39 pm

Re: Fret saw blades

Postby Le Corbusier » Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:35 am

excellent Terry ... thanks :thumb .... now to make the odd adjustment :D
Tim Lee

User avatar
David B
Posts: 969
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:30 pm

Re: Fret saw blades

Postby David B » Wed Jul 04, 2018 5:38 pm

Many thanks to you all for these pearls.

User avatar
Jol Wilkinson
Posts: 691
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:39 pm

Re: Fret saw blades

Postby Jol Wilkinson » Wed Jul 04, 2018 5:49 pm

For those wanting a good piercing saw;

https://www.cooksongold.com/Jewellery-T ... h=y&show=N

Likewise good quality blades are a must. I find that the cheaper ones make it difficult to get a straight cut.

User avatar
Flymo748
Posts: 2100
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 6:00 pm

Re: Fret saw blades

Postby Flymo748 » Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:22 pm

Terry Bendall wrote:The traditional way to use a fret saw or a piercing saw is to hold the work on a saw table - a piece of plywood or similar board about 15mm thick with a vee notch cut out of it and clamped to the workbench. A thick block helps to raise up the table to a more comfortable height. The saw is then used with the blade vertical. The saw table is used to support the work being cut. Both can be used with the work held vertically in a vice but that is better when cutting thicker material which is less likely to flex.

Here ends the craft lesson. :)

Terry Bendall


If you have a spare offcut (I have lots of lovely bits of white oak shelves!), a tenon saw, and a convenient g-clamp, then you don't need to read any further...

But for everyone else, there's this: https://eileensemporium.com/index.php?option=com_hikashop&ctrl=product&task=show&cid=1615&name=table-extension-clamp

Extends out a bit too far for my comfort, which means that cutting at the very end can vibrate a little with consequent risk to saw-blades. It's cheap and cheerful and easily available, which ticks many boxes for me. I keep one in my tool box...

Cheers
Flymo
Beware of Trains - occasional modelling in progress!
www.5522models.co.uk

Philip Hall
Posts: 1070
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:49 pm

Re: Fret saw blades

Postby Philip Hall » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:50 pm

A very long time ago when I first started using a piercing saw I made up a saw table which has a narrow parallel slot in it instead of a vee slot. The idea (not mine, I found it in a magazine article I think) is that a parallel slot offers more support to thin metal than the vee shape, which over the years has proved to be the case. I have the table top mounted to a large oak block about 8” tall which is in turn mounted in a very large machine vice that sits on the workbench. The weight of the vice stops it from skidding about, and any swarf or components drop onto the bench surface rather than the floor. It also keeps the floor cleaner!

Philip

Terry Bendall
Posts: 1485
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 7:46 am

Re: Fret saw blades

Postby Terry Bendall » Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:12 pm

Flymo748 wrote:If you have a spare offcut (I have lots of lovely bits of white oak shelves!),


That would be ideal.

Philip Hall wrote: I made up a saw table which has a narrow parallel slot in it instead of a vee slot.


Many years ago I made a conventional V slot piercing saw table and one as described by Philip both using 12 mm birch plywood. They really need making again from thicker material which is why I suggested 15mm. The one sold by Eileen's will do the job but as Flymo suggests it may vibrate a bit which could increase the consumption of saw blades whether it is used with a fret saw or a piercing saw. :(

Terry Bendall

billbedford
Posts: 602
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:40 pm

Re: Fret saw blades

Postby billbedford » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:59 am

Jeweller bench pegs are tapered on the underside and don't usually have a notch. The idea being that the metal and the wood of the peg is cut at the same time.
Bill Bedford
Mousa Models
http://www.mousa.biz

Dave Searle
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2008 7:24 am

Re: Fret saw blades

Postby Dave Searle » Sat Jul 07, 2018 11:03 am

Philip Hall wrote:A very long time ago when I first started using a piercing saw I made up a saw table which has a narrow parallel slot in it instead of a vee slot.


Here (in best Blue Peter Style :) ) is one I made some years ago
12mm MDF table screwed to a 2"x2" block and held in the bench vice

Fret-saw-table-1.jpg


Fret-saw-table-2.jpg


Cheers,

Dave


Return to “Tools and Techniques”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest