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Old 02-24-2014, 07:47 PM   #1
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Default Fret Saw

Please don't run me out of this forum for asking a dumb newbie question, but why wouldn't someone just use a Fret saw to do Scrolling? Kind of like hand tools vs power tools. I realize there's a distinct speed difference but looking at some of the high end Fret saws it seems it should be possible.
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:33 PM   #2
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You will never be run out of this forum for asking a question..

Several people do use a hand coping saw/fret saw Peter in Spain comes to mind. He does magnificent work with a hand held fret saw.
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:30 PM   #3
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Certainly is possible and has been and still is done that way. One could also build a Queen Anne highboy using nothing but hand tools as well. Man has an inherent desire to find ways to do tasks faster, more efficiently and with repeatable consistency. In general, power tools can help fill that desire.

Speaking for myself, I want to take as much of the variability and monotony out of this hobby as possible, in order to make the best quality projects in a reasonable amount of time. Cutting a piece that may have hundreds, if not thousands of inside cuts with a hand fret saw is not my idea of a fun hobby. However, I respect anyone for whom it is.
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:02 PM   #4
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The fret saw is not a very inexpensive purchase (12" for $20 from Sloans Woodshop) so it might definitely be fun to give it a shot. There is nothing wrong with that, and I love to see projects managed with that tool. There is also the used scroll saw market that can get you into the powered hobby for a lot less than the top new models.


As for limitations, it might be a little tough for making bowls, 3d cutting, inlay, or marquetry. Fret saws might also be a little limiting for larger fretwork projects where it would be impossible to reach the center of the patterns. Some Scrollers here have had challenges reaching the center of their projects with scroll saws.

It might, however, be a good way to build up that arm strength.

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Old 02-24-2014, 10:16 PM   #5
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I have over the years enjoyed using hand tools to make furniture or workshop tables. There is a personal connection to something that has taken you a long time to create from just the most basic of tools. Some would say that being able to make beautiful furniture this way demonstrates a talent that cannot be found with a pattern and a twenty dollar how to book at Barnes & Noble. Maybe they are right, but having done both, I can say with certainty that it only matters to the person holding the tool, whatever it may be. I chose the project first, then the tool I feel will create the masterpiece. I suspect the best tool is not the one that plugs into a wall or the one you work with your hands, its the hands that use either one that matters. Chop Chop!
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Old 02-24-2014, 11:55 PM   #6
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I was interested because I came across a Fret saw from New Concepts that looked very light and strong that has a fairly quick disconnect for the blade and since I'm new to all this I figured I could use it in other projects and maybe learn something about scrolling by doing it the slow way. I've decided to buy a Hawk and while I'm waiting to make that purchase this might be educational, fun and useful for other projects.
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Old 02-25-2014, 12:14 AM   #7
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That is how it was done before the saws got motorized. I have a couple that I use once in awhile. Used my first one about 60 years ago. Even have one that holds the pin less blades. Once in awhile, it is nice to do it just like in "the good ole days" Go for it. You will not have to worry a whole lot about the dust you will be stirring up.
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