Tools in ‘The Anarchist’s Tool Chest:’ Part 2-1/2, Frame Saws – Lost Art Press


I don’t know why my brain refused to acknowledge the two frame saws in my chest while I was writing part 2 of this series. So here’s part 2-1/2 of the series on my coping saw and fretsaw.

Ah, now I remember why my brain froze, I didn’t want to revisit the topic of coping saws. I’ve still not found one that satisfies me on all fronts. I’ve tried, cheap, expensive, vintage, yellow and rare. All have some aspect that I don’t like.

So I’ve given up and reverted to the German-made Olson coping saw I bought in 1996 or 1997. It’s been modified significantly, especially the blade-tensioning mechanism, and I’ve stretched the frame. And you can’t buy this saw new anymore. The Olson saw is now made overseas and I’m not a fan of what’s happened to it.

What I can recommend, however, are the blades for whatever coping saw you do end up settling for. I have been very happy with the Pegas coping saw blades, which are made in Switzerland and cut like a dream. And they are tough; I’ve had individual blades last for more than six months.

For fretsaws, I also went full-German. I’ve had an old German jeweler’s saw since the 1990s that tensions blades to a remarkable level. Why? Because I filed grooves into the pads of the blade-clamping mechanism. That improved its grip to “Coach Stan Turnipseed’s Handshake” level on the EU’s fretsaw clamping matrix.

You can find these jeweler’s saws on ebay for $10 to $20. The old ones are better than the new ones. Be sure to get some Pegas blades for these as well.

— Christopher Schwarz

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