Roubo Frame Saw




Introduction: Roubo Frame Saw

About: I have been working with wood since I could stumble into the shop with my dad. About a year ago I moved into a house with no space for a full shop so I decided to take up all hand tool wood working. That sta...

I made a frame saw a year ago. It worked fantastically, but one day I dropped it and busted out one of the mortises. Oh well it is just a good reason to remake this one even better. A frame saw is the traditional way of resawing lumber. This one is meant for one person but some of the larger ones are designed for two people to run.

Tools Needed:

#4 Hand plane setup for smoothing:

Scrub or foreplane:


Marking Gauge:

Panel saw:

Marking knife:

Chisel Set:

Block Plane:

File set:

Long-nosed marker:

Dovetail Saw:


Carving kit:

Supplies Needed:

Frame saw kit:

White Oak: or whatever wood you want to use.

Boiled Linseed Oil:

Past Wax:

wood glue:

Step 1: The Frame Saw Kit

I built this saw with a kit I bought from BlackBurn Tools and am in love with the kit. I purchased the 32" size kit as that is easy enough for one person to run by themselves. in this case, I am actually reusing the kit that I used in my last one.

Step 2: Laminate Lumber for Beams

You will need stock about 1 1/4" thick. Unfortunately, I did not have enough of it on hand to make this so I need to laminate two 3/4" thick pieces. I flattened one side of both pieces with a scrub plane and number 4. then enough glue is added and the two boards are clamped and set aside to dry. after the glue cures the stock can be flattened and smoothed on both sides.

Step 3: Trace the Pattern

In my case I used the old frame saw to trace out the pattern I wanted to follow, but you can download the pattern at Balckburn tools where the kit came from. With a paper pattern, I find it easiest to just glue it to the stock and cut out to the pattern.

Step 4: Shape the Beams

I start by making a series of relief cuts down to the marking line. if the grain is running well I will use a mallet to snap off the large chunks. A large chisel can make quick work of bringing it down to the line. In some cases a turning saw is useful, but most all of the work is done with a chisel and mallet for me.

Step 5: Shape the Handel

For the handle, I will use a chisel to do the majority of the shaping. Then I will come in with coarse rasps and then a coarse file and then a fine file and finish the surface with a very fine file.

Step 6: Insert Pressure Plate

On one end of the beam, there needs to be pressure plate inserted for the screw to push against. I set the plate on the beam where it should go and then trace it out with a marking knife. Next, the waste can be removed with a chisel down to the depth so the plate is flat with the surface of the beam.

Step 7: Shape the Two Stretchers

The two stretchers that separate the two end beams are about 1 1/4" square and made to match the length of the blade you chose. it is a simple prosses of ripping them down and mill them to dimension. I made them 1" longer than needed for a 1/2" tenon on either end of the beam.

Step 8: Cut the Tenon

I use a marking knife to mark out a half inch long tenon that is 1/3 the width of the stretcher. then use a back saw to cut them to shape.because these are so small I chose to use a dovetail saw.

Step 9: Cut Mortise

In either end of both beams, there needs to be a mortise cut to fit the tenon. I start by chopping either side with a chisel to sever the fibers, the come in with a smaller chisel to remove the waste. Kepp testing the fit and make sure the stretcher seats all the way down to the beam. Be very careful now to blow out either side of the mortise.

Step 10: Add Some Carving

A little bit of carving can make the whole difference in the world. I added a bit of carving to both beams. and total it added about 1 hour of work to the task but was so worth it in the end. For this, I just used a V-Tool to follow a line. With 15 minutes of practous, you can do this too. It is so much easier than it sounds.

Step 11: FINISH IT!!

For the Finish, I used Boiled linseed Oil and paste wax. It just feels great for a hand tool. then you can put it together and have some fun.

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    3 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I was encoding celtic knots earlier for my CNC machine. I didn't engrave one yet, but I plotted one. How'd you like to carve this? I think it would make my eyes go buggy.


    3 years ago

    Beautiful work. I'm inspired, thank you!