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Fret saw operation. Answered

Typically, what sort of thickness of wood (plywood, solid softwoods) can a hobby-quality, bench-top fret saw comfortably deal with?


I have cut 2 " x 2" with care.9mm ply easily - 18mm with care, get a good one although mine has variable speed I rarely use it.

Make a zero tolerance clearance plate for it.

Buy good quality blades they will repay the investment,

Cut slow. Stop pushing and the blade stops cutting - useful when you need to think about what your going to do next.


If I've googled this correctly, a "zero tolerance clearance plate" would be a replacement for the part of the saw where the wood sits during cutting, but has (almost) no gap twixt blade and plate?

Yes thats correct - Most of the blade breakage is caused by: Too wide a gap in the plate allowing the work to tilt into it when cutting close to the edge - You don't need a big gap any way just the width of the saw blade. Also good for band saws as well.

And in the case of beginners and kids they let go of the work allowing it to vibrate up and down - Bingo goes the blade.

Trying to cut too fast and too hard a material is also death for blades. The blade binds and almost instant break. Remember if you don't push the blade won't cut.

Matching the blade teeth to the work. The wisdom says at least 3 teeth should be in contact with the materials at all times - So the thinner the material the finer the blade needs to be. (more teeth) In practice this is hard to achieve.

i have used jewellers saw blades in a scroll saw to cut silver and aluminium BUT they are very brittle and you have to go very slow.

my own scroll saw is a Clark's from machine mart. Works fine for me. At School we shelled out for Hegners - supposedly the best on the market.

Kiteman. re: zero-tolerance clearance plate... Correct. the area through which the blade travels is barely larger than the blade itself.

On a table saw, it's usually an oval insert, on a band saw or fret saw, I think it's a circular insert, although I can't recall and my band saw isn't handy to check (I don't own a fret/jig saw)

For a sabre or circular saw (handheld), I think it would require a new guide plate, since they usually don't use inserts to cover the blade area.