Last updated: August 10, 2021

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The frame saw can easily be described as an all-rounder. Whether you are a professional craftsman or simply want to decorate your home, a frame saw will be an irreplaceable tool for you. With the frame saw, woodworking is as easy as can be and thanks to the simple application principle, it brings pure fun.

With our content frame saw test 2022 we want to help you find the best frame saw for you. We have compared different types of frame saws with each other and listed the respective advantages and disadvantages. We hope that this information will help you to make your purchase decision as easy as possible.


  • The frame saw is a saw whose structure is arranged in the H-shape. The frame saw is popular with craftsmen thanks to its universality and is often used in the household.
  • Depending on the type of saw blade, a distinction is made between a slitting saw, a fist saw, a slitting saw, a tail saw and a set-down saw. Each type of frame saw is used for specific work techniques.
  • Before buying a frame saw, it is always necessary to observe how exactly the saw works: on pressure or on tension. Each type of operation is suitable for different purposes.

The Best Frame Saw in the United Kingdom: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a frame saw

What is a frame saw?

The frame saw is a hand saw that is used for working with wood. Basically, the frame saw can be described as a saw that is fixed on the frame.

In addition to the term "frame saw", this type of saw is often referred to as a "tension saw"


The explanation for this is that the frame saw provides optimum tension during the sawing process. Basically, the frame saw belongs to the category of stretching saws. The frame arms and the bar of the saw are made of wood. The wing blades used for tensioning and the bar that fastens the whole saw construction are forged on steel.

The saw with a metal stand date back to 15th century. (Image source: de Rodrigues)

Figuratively, the whole construction of the frame saw is arranged in H-shape, at the upper end of which there is a clamping device and at the lower - a saw blade.

What are the components of the frame saw?

The following parts prefabricate the frame saw construction:

  • Saw blade
  • Horns (handles)
  • Saw arms (spars)
  • Tension cord
  • Toggle
  • Bar

The two ends of the saw blade of the frame saw are connected to the bars by the hinges. They can be turned in the saw arms. Twisting the tensioning cord with the help of the toggle causes the necessary tension. Instead of the toggle and the tensioning cord, some models of frame saws today have a metal wire, a washer and a wing nut.

What are the applications of the frame saw?

The frame saw is used by craftsmen, but also enjoys great popularity in the home. The reason for this is its universal application possibilities. Above all, the frame saw is used for cutting wood to length.

This means that wooden boards can be easily shortened with the help of this tool. In addition to cutting to length, the frame saw is also used for trimming. Trimming is the process of cutting off the missing edge of a plank in order to obtain a shiny surface from a wooden board.

The frame saw is an irreplaceable tool when it comes to woodworking. (Image source: Orehov)

Among others, the frame saw is used for slotting and setting down. Slotting means the process during which the tenons for wood joints are cut. This is followed by setting-off, where the board is cut across the grain to work out the tenons.

Due to the idea of woodworking machines, the frame saw is nowadays pushed about to the back as a tool. It is still used in training processes or in semi-professional environments by craftsmen, but is mostly used in the home.

How to use a frame saw?

The procedure with the frame saw differs depending on the purpose of use.

If the frame saw is used for cutting joints, it is advisable to turn the blade slightly on the plane of the frame so that the crack on the workpiece can be observed. In this case, it is sufficient to hold the tool with only one hand and work on the piece with one arm.

Another working technique is used when one has to trim a wooden board. In such a case, the craftsman holds both the handle and the bar and guides the frame saw from the bottom to the top. This working method also allows long distances to be sawn.

The advantages and disadvantages of the frame saw

As any other tool, the frame saw offers both the advantages and disadvantages that should always be considered when choosing.

  • Fast and effective processing due to long saw blades
  • Uncomplicated handling
  • Universality
  • Elastic and shock-absorbing working method
  • Needs resharpening
  • Rather bulky
  • Often cannot make deep cuts

How much does a frame saw cost?

The price of a frame saw varies according to the manufacturer and type of saw. Overall, the cost of the tool ranges from about 38 to 102 euros. The Japanese frame saws, which have high quality and customer ratings, are the most expensive.

In general, given the wide range of applications of the frame saw, we find the prices quite reasonable. To buy a set-down saw, you have to pay approximately from 40 to 70 euros. The frame saws are worth about 50-55 euros. The tail saws do not differ in price from the frame saws and cost about 55 euros.

type price
skip saws сa. €40-70
Schittersägen about €50-55
tail saws сa. €55

What size frame saw should I buy?

Modern frame saws are available in different sizes. The blade length of a frame saw ranges from 400 to 700 mm. Basically, the length of the saw has no influence on the working process. Nevertheless, the length of the saw affects its bulkiness.

So, the longer the saw blade, the bulkier the saw. On the other hand, longer models can cut large pieces quickly, which saves working time. Usually, the models with 600-700 mm are optimal for the different operations.

What is the optimal weight of the frame saw for me?

The weight of the frame saws ranges from 300 to 1000 g. Some models of frame saws even weigh more than 1 kg.

The importance of frame saw weight can be approached differently. Since while sawing one has to deal with the heavy workpieces from time to time, one then benefits significantly from a large weight of the frame saw.

On the other hand, it is not so easy to keep a heavy saw in weight. Here we advise you to make the decision according to your preferences.

What are the alternatives to frame saws?

Considering the wide choice between the saws, it is generally possible to replace a frame saw with other clamping saws. The alternatives for this are shown with the hacksaw and the chop saw.

Type Description
Hacksaw A clamped saw, the opposite of a frame saw, has a U-shape. It is also manually operated and universally replaceable. This type of saw is known for its light weight and ease of use. Among the hacksaws, a distinction is made between metal hacksaws, which are used for metalworking, fret saws, which are intended for thin wooden boards, and a mini version - puksaw. However, what makes the hacksaw difficult to use is that you have to apply quite a lot of force to work the material.
Klobsäge The largest hacksaw, which was mainly used for turning out boards or for ripping wood and building logs. Because of its size, the Klob saw is considered bulky and detrimental to working speed. With modern machine processes, the Klob saw is no longer contemporary.

The saws can be classified not only according to their external design, but also their mode of operation vis-à-vis fibre. In such a case, a classic alternative among cross-cut saws is a foxtail. It works in the same way as a frame saw across the grain (the teeth are at an angle of about 65° to the saw blade).

Thanks to the large teeth of the foxtail, wood and plastic can be cut quickly and efficiently. However, compared to a frame saw, the foxtail is a hacksaw (unclamped tool), which means that such type of saw is not as firmly fixed to the saw handle as the frame saw.

However, a frame saw remains the winner in this "saw marathon". If we look at the other types of clamped saws, the frame saw is distinguished by its universality. It is definitely a reliable all-rounder.

Decision: What types of frame saws are there and which one is right for you?

After you have decided on a frame saw, you are faced with a question: Which type do I actually need? In this section we want to help you make the best decision for you. Depending on the saw blade, all frame saws are divided into the following classes:

  • the Schittersaw
  • the fist saw
  • the slitting saw
  • the drop saw
  • the tail saw

Each type of frame saw has some advantages and disadvantages, which we are happy to inform you about.

What distinguishes the slitting saw and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The slot saw is of great use when dealing with joints such as slots and tenons. For this purpose, the slotting saws have the wide saw blades. For the deep and narrow slots, the slotting saw fits best. The centre tooth pitch is directly in line with the butt. The solid blade body also allows the slitting saws to move smoothly and without vibration. Unfortunately, the size of the blade does not allow the machining of round or curved shapes.

  • The wide saw blade
  • Fits for deep and narrow grooves
  • It is possible to cut only straight with the slitting saw

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the cut-off saw?

In the case of the set-down saw, the tooth distribution is small and fine and is weak on the butt. There are hardly any limitations to this version of the saw and you can make a fine cut with it. It must also run across the grain.

A set-down saw is best suited for tines and dovetails. The design of a set-down saw does not require any facilities for rough work.

  • Suitable for deep cuts
  • Handles tines and dovetails
  • Saws across grain
  • It is not possible to work in the rough

What distinguishes the Schittersaw and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Rough work requires exactly this type of frame saw. So, if you are faced with the task of sawing firewood or cutting boards, squares or logs to length, you need exactly the Schittersaw. The tooth pitch is medium and the teeth are designed for push and pull. Because of the size of the saw blade, the Schittersaw is not a good choice for splitting or edging sawn timber.

  • Perfect for rough work
  • cuts various types of wood from
  • No edging or splitting is possible

What distinguishes the tail saw and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The tail saw is the smallest type of frame saw. Its narrow teeth allow the processing of particularly curved shapes, and the long saw blade enables speedy work. The saw blade can be unhooked to allow work to be carried out in tools that are closed on the outside. The toothing is folded and butt-jointed. Since the tail saw does not have a wide blade, it cannot be used for straight cutting.

  • Can work on curved shapes
  • Enables speedy work due to the long saw blade
  • Cannot be used for straight cuts

What distinguishes the fist saw and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Fist saw can also be called a cut-off saw. As the name suggests, this frame saw is mainly used to cut wood lengthwise or to trim sawn timber. The characteristic of the fist saw is its large, wide-set teeth. The disadvantage of such saws is that they do not allow cross-cutting.

  • Edges sawn timber
  • Used to cut wood
  • No cross-cutting

What is still remarkable is that all the above mentioned types of frame saw prove that they can only be used in one particular step. So, you need a new saw for each new step. It leads to the fact that the whole qualitative equipment is not so cheap for a craftsman.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate frame saws

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many possible frame saws. The criteria that you can use to compare the frame saws with each other include:

In the following paragraphs we will explain what is important in each of the criteria.

Type of blade

In order to do the job in the best possible way, we advise you to always pay attention to the type of saw blade first. The saw blade determines the type of frame saw with which you would process the workpiece.

For cuts along the grain, choose the rip saw blade, while a mitre saw for cutting board is exactly what you are looking for. If you are into edging, get yourself a Schittersäge. Only a tail saw allows you to work with curved shapes.

A different saw is usually needed for each step, which is a big disadvantage (Image source:

What is quite economical when buying a frame saw is the possibility to change a saw blade after one use. So, instead of getting a new frame saw for each new step, just upgrade to a different saw blade. The price for separate saw blades starts at about 15 euros.


Although the length is not a decisive factor for the purchase of a frame saw, it is advisable to take the length of the saw into consideration in order to provide comfortable use. As has already been mentioned, the longer the saw, the greater its bulkiness.

If in your professional environments you need to have a lot of tools always with you, it may not be such a good option to get even a moderate frame saw. The length of the saw blade positively influences the speed of a work process. That is, you can handle large surfaces quite quickly as you cover longer distance with such frame saw.

Toothing type

The toothing type is another criterion that is worth mentioning before purchasing the frame saw. All saws work either push (push) or pull.

The European frame saws mainly work on push or on push and pull. This means that you "push" the saw through the wood. If you pull the saw backwards through the wood towards you, you have the saw that works on pull.

The most famous manufacturer of the push-pull frame saw is Japan. Thanks to such a high reputation, Japanese frame saws are now a single group that stands out for its particularly high quality.

Each type of saw promises better results in certain types of applications. If you have a goal to cut the tree in front of you, the frame saws on tension are the most suitable. Nevertheless, such frame saws have less cutting power than saws working on pressure, and that is why they are mostly used for finer cuts. So, if you can't come to a decision, make sure that the saw you choose can work both on push and pull.

Blade width

The next point that should make your choice easier is the width of the blade. This has a significant influence on the course and manoeuvrability of the saw.

The wider the blade, the better you will be able to saw the large cuts straight

But if you want to be able to follow the curve, look for narrow blades. For example, the width of the tail saw blade, which is optimal for processing curved shapes, is only 300 mm, while the width of other frame saws is 600-700 mm.

Tooth widths

The last purchase criterion you should take into account is the tooth width. The tooth width refers to the distance between the teeth of the saw blade. The frame saw with a tooth width of less than 3.5 mm. is suitable for fine processing of wooden boards.

The working speed is not high and the power is rather low. On the contrary, the frame saws with a larger tooth width are used for somewhat coarser cutting surfaces and show a faster sawing progress.

Facts worth knowing about the topic of frame saws

How do you construct a frame saw yourself?

Is it possible to construct a frame saw yourself? Yes! All it takes is a little patience and effort. Since the construction is a time and effort consuming process, we find a video tutorial the best option to make you aware of all the details.

What's really interesting is that you can sign up for frame saw building workshops these days. There, under the guidance of prominent craftsmen, you have the opportunity to feel like a designer. After such workshops you go home not only with new knowledge, but also with a fresh frame saw in your hands.

How to sharpen the frame saw?

It is necessary for a woodworker to be able to sharpen the frame saw himself. It can be easily achieved if you follow the advice below.

  1. Preparation: Prepare all the materials for sharpening: a flat file, a file clamp (two strips with clamps), a saw file, cabinet pliers and a triangular file.
  2. Dressing: Dress your saw blade with the help of a flat file and a file clamp.
  3. Shape theteeth: Shape the teeth with a saw file.
  4. Setting: Set both sides of the saw blade with the setting pliers.
  5. Sharpening: Sharpen the saw blade with a triangular file.

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