Introduction: Make a Bow Saw (aka Frame, Turning)

Picture of Make a Bow Saw (aka Frame, Turning)

Making a bow saw is easy with a few basic woodworking tools and skills - why not have a go!

Two videos are available. One with full details plus a shot of the plans, the other just showing the build

Free plans are available to download from my website:

You'll need some hardwood - I've used European beech (fagus sylvatica) and Dark Red Meranti (shorea spp.),

some non-elastic cord, a couple of steel pins, and a band saw blade (good way to use up broken ones).

Step 1: Arm Mortises

Picture of Arm Mortises

Layout the mortises as per the plans you downloaded ( ), or to your own design

Chop them out - I've made them through mortises, which I feel maximises the frame rigidity

Doing this before shaping the arms makes it easier to clamp whilst chopping!

Step 2: Stretcher Tenons

Picture of Stretcher Tenons

Layout the tenons on the ends of the stretcher

Saw the tenon shoulders and cheeks

Fit the tenon thickness to the mortise at each end

Step 3: Mate Mortise & Tenon Joints With a Curve (Optional)

Picture of Mate Mortise & Tenon Joints With a Curve (Optional)

This optional step makes for a strong hinge connection for transferring tension to the blade

Mark identical shallow curves at the shoulders of the tenons, and entrance face of the mortises, using a pair of compasses

Pare the curves with sharp chisels

Saw the tenons to width, making them narrower at the ends so that they can rotate in the joint

Step 4: Shape the Arms and Stretcher

Picture of Shape the Arms and Stretcher

As an absolute minimum, you need to shape a notch near to the top of the arms, to prevent the tension cord from sliding off

You also need to bore the holes through the width of the lower arms. I also cut a slot here, which allows for a sprung grip on the saw's blade handles

Ideally shape a comfortable grip handle too, and why not include a little decoration as well

A coping saw, rasps, and files will handle all the basic shaping

Step 5: Make Blade Handles

Picture of Make Blade Handles

Turn blade handles on a lathe

Alternatively, glue a slim dowel through a thick dowel to make a very simple but functional blade handle

Slit the slim section, to take the blade

Step 6: Attach a Blade

Picture of Attach a Blade

Install the blade handles in the assembled frame, and drill blade attachment holes

Cut a length of blade the width of the frame (internal size)

Mark for, and drill attachment holes in the blade

Install the blade and secure with steel pins

Step 7: Tension the Blade

Picture of Tension the Blade

Tie a loop of cord around the upper arms, sitting in the notches

Twist cord around and insert the tension toggle (simply planed up from a length of hardwood)

Use the toggle to continue twisting the cord until the correct tension is achieved, and allow it to lock against the stretcher

Step 8: Finished!

Picture of Finished!

You're ready to saw!

To protect your tool, why not give it a coat of boiled linseed oil.

Thanks for reading my instructable. If you build a frame saw, using these instructions and plans, please do let me know, and post a photo if you can




Lorddrake (author)2017-05-19

very nicely crafted

About This Instructable




Bio: Happy in wood shavings YouTube: Patreon:
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