Introduction: Scrapwood Frame Saw

About 2 years ago, I stumbled upon Pask Makes' Scrapwood Challenge videos and was instantly in love with them. In many of these videos, he makes tools that seem genuinely useful for woodworkers and this hooked me on the idea of taking some trash and making treasure.

This Make a Tool contest, an extra hacksaw blade lying on my shelf, and some scrap oak inspired me to make this frame hacksaw that is very strong and collapses for easy transport or storage.


-Sawblade: I used a hacksaw blade but any blade can be used. I've seen expensive folding bowsaws that collapse used for camping and bushcraft. If you decide to change the blade, the dimensions of the saw will also change from the ones I used.

-Wood: Any hardwood can be used. You should have 1 piece slightly longer than your sawblade, 2 pieces for the handles (I used 1ft pieces), and 1 piece slightly longer than half the handle length to become the tension bar(I used an 8in piece)

-Paracord: This will provide the tension to keep the saw rigid and allow the blade to cut straight. It needs to be twice the length of your sawblade.

-Bolts: You'll need 2 bolts to hold the blade in place

Step 1: Cutting the Mortises and Tenons

The first step is cutting the mortises and tenons that will hold the saw together. These do not need to be a perfect fit and a slight wiggle is actually needed to put tension on the saw, so don't make them too tight. This is a great skill building task for someone who hasn't done many mortise and tenon joints before because there is lots of wiggle room for mistakes.

Cut the tenons on the piece slightly longer than your blade; this will become the pivot bar. Cut the mortises on the pieces 1ft long; these will become the handles.

After cutting these and ensuring that they fit with a slight wiggle, move on to the next step.

Step 2: Sawblade Slot

The next step is to cut the slot for the blade. Cut down the centre of the handle piece parallel to the pivot bar with a saw slightly larger than your sawblade. Drill a hole and insert a bolt to hold the blade in place. Nuts can also be added to secure the blade even more.

Trim the excess length of the bolt, ensuring not to deform the threads. This will allow the bolt to slide on and off to replace the blade or store the saw.

Step 3: Shaping the Handles

The next step is to shape the handles to your desired shape. This is all about comfort and the design is completely up to you. One of my favourite handle shapes is an octagon because it is not as smooth as oval or circular handle that may slip in the hand. I did this by using a plane to take off the corners of the square handles, creating an octagon that is quite comfortable.

The string holders at the top of the handles are carved with this step. For a simple fix, you can use a round file to carve a groove for the string to fit in, but I decided to make it a bit prettier and carve it. The most important thing is that the groove is deep enough so the string doesn't slip out under tension.

Step 4: Sanding and Finishing

I finished everything by sanding with 100 and 220 grit sandpaper. I used beeswax to seal the saw, but any type of natural or synthetic finish could be used.

Step 5: How to Set Up Your Saw

The frame saw relies on the blade being under tension. The paracord loop, twisted by the tension bar, will draw the tips of the handles together. The handles will pivot on the pivot par and put tension on the blade, making it rigid and ready to cut.

First install the blade using the bolts, then take the paracord, tie it in a loop, and pull it around the tips of the handles with string grooves. Take the tension bar or even another scrap piece of wood and ensure that it can touch the pivot bar while being looped in the paracord(see second picture). Start twisting this piece, ensuring that the end in contact with the pivot bar will prevent the string from unwinding. Continue to twist until the blade is under enough tension to saw without binding or bending. The tighter the tension on the saw, the sturdier the saw will become.

Step 6: Finished

I am very happy with the way this project turned out because it not only works, but it looks pretty good too. I also only spent a weekend afternoon working on it which goes to show that simple and effective tools can be made quite easily.

Thanks for following along with this project! I hope you learned something from this instructable and if you liked reading it, please vote for this project.

Please leave questions and pictures from your build of this project below.

Happy building!

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