In November 2011, I began writing and building the furniture projects for my latest book, The Unplugged Woodshop- Hand Crafted Projects for the Home and Workshop.
Working with only hand tools, I realized that the process of dimensioning lumber was both cumbersome and wasteful.
I tend to purchase stock in the 4 to 8/4 range, and rarely ever use it in furniture or cabinet making applications at that thickness.
In the not so distant past, my only choice would be to resaw the stock using a panel saw, and/or bring it to dimension using hand planes.
After years of working wood this way, I decided to ask my friend, Mark Harrell if he could manufacture a frame saw blade for me. Following a few variations, we came to this configuration and off I went, dimensioning stock for both veneer work, and basic cabinet making and resawing applications.
Resawing with hand tools came with the same difficulties as sawing on a modern day band saw, and that was saw drift.
Even the finest band saws can have saw drift and the frame saw was no different. I needed to come up with a way of controlling saw drift.
Knowing that a saw blade would follow the "path of least resistance", I developed a tool to create this path before resawing.
Enter, the kerfing plane.
To say that a kerfing plane is a tool designed to saw a kerf around the perimeter of a board, before resawing would be statement the least it can do.
Yes, it will cut a kerf for your frame or panel saw to follow, but you can also use this tool for cutting rabbets, establishing shoulders on dados or bread board ends, sawing stringing and moldings, and yes, making a kerf for another saw to follow.
The combination of these two tools will change the way you work and think about working wood with hand tools.
And using what I'd consider to be the best saw blades available anywhere today, is a real game changer.
Tom Fidgen, Nov. 2013
The frame saw performed exceptionally well. With only a 1/4" deep kerf to follow, it tracks a line with ease. The speed of cut was surprisingly fast. When resawing (through an 8" wide 8/4 black walnut board) I was gaining at least 1 inch of depth per stroke. Which brings me to the length of throw, and is the most important distinction between the kits. At about 32" the saw plate was perfectly sized for a comfortable stroke.
Bad Axe wins out hands down. When it comes down to which I prefer, it's the Bad Axe kit. It's the right size and just performs the way I had hoped.
I bought the blade and hardware for the frame saw and the kerfing plane as a set from @badaxe6. they cut beautifully. I liked the idea of custom making a blade, but have had such good experiences with Bad Axe gear that I went that way.
Complete Kerfing Plane/FrameSaw plates with balance of hardware kit: $250 (Delivery: 5-7 business days)
Lumber Bundle for Frame Saw & Kerfing Plane Blank: $145
(Delivery: 5-7 business days)
NEW for Summer 2016. . . . We have completely overhauled our frame saw balance of hardware kit to conform with Andre Roubo’s design from Plate 278 of "To Make as Perfectly as Possible: Roubo on Marquetry", while simultaneously making it the strongest, most finished frame saw balance of hardware kit available on the market today. In fact, we’re now calling it the Bad Axe ‘Plate 278’ Balance of Hardware Kit. Jump to the details here.
We are ALSO offering a 5-piece pre-dimensioned lumber package for the frame saw and kerfing plane bodies, made of quartersawn white oak (frame saw) and cherry (kerfing plane).
Tom Fidgen, that's who--author of bestselling Made by Hand. And I'm proud to call him a friend. For those of you new to working wood by your own sweat and a crisp steel edge should know this man, and what he has written.
Tom's most recent release, The Unplugged Woodshop, showcases a handful of projects that will challenge but not overwhelm you. He also delivers detailed plans to build your own kerfing plane and frame saw, THE solution for unplugged resawing.
Want help sourcing quality, quartersawn lumber for the frame saw and kerfing plane? Try our pre-dimensioned 5-piece lumber package, so you can get immediately into the joinery. $145.*
- 4-piece quarterawn and pre-dimensioned White Oak frame saw lumber.
- 1-piece quartersawn and pre-dimensioned cherry kerfing plane blank.
*Note: At 14 pounds, this is a heavy package--shipping will range between $15 up to $45 depending on what part of the country you live in.
And that's where Bad Axe comes in. I had the good fortune to work with Tom on the development of the sawplates and balance of hardware kits for these great tools, and Bad Axe now offers them for sale on this page. Specs for both plates come directly from the Tom's book.
Our plates for both kerfing plane and both sizes of frame saw plate are hammer-set by hand and filed razor-sharp for your immediate use. Balance of hardware for the frame saw and fasteners for the kerfing plane plate are included in the comprehensive package represented for sale on the right. All you have to do is cut and form the wooden components.
The balance of hardware kit includes: two brackets (with kerfs pre-cut), one of which is tapped for the 3/8" eye bolt, a 3" x 3/8" eyebolt with jam nut, striker plate with fastening screws, and two u-bolts to secure the plate to the brackets.
Bad Axe originally fielded the 25.5" frame saw kit with kerfing plane plate & fasteners, followed by the 31.5" plate & kerfing plane in .0315-gauge format. After much discussion with Tom, we have come to realize that the 31.5" plate represents the sweet spot when it comes to throw--that is, how to comfortably resaw your stock as a one-man operation. Anything longer is either underutilized, or it moves into a two-man resawing operation. Moving the opposite direction in sizing, we believe that the 25.5" plate is no longer necessary, because the 31.5" plate again presents a throw most attuned to the human physique. We have therefore discontinued the 25.5" plate.
Introducing the 'Plate 278' Frame Saw Hardware Kit
"If Andre Roubo were alive in today's hand tool market, how would he modify his frame saw design for a one-person operation, and how would he take advantage of 21st century production techniques?"
From "To Make as Perfectly as Possible: Roubo on Marquetry"
(Lost Art Press)
New for 2016: We began offering our KPFS balance of hardware kit eighteen months ago to accompany our frame saw and kerfing plane plate sales based on Tom Fidgen's baseline, no-nonsense design illustrated in his excellent book, The Unplugged Woodshop.
And what resulted was exactly that: a budget-conscious, workable balance of hardware kit that gets the job done, which frees up the user from sourcing materials locally and making what can be a pretty challenging hacksaw cut that oftentimes drifts off square and making a much wider kerf than what the plate itself requires.
Then we took a look at the original hardware Andre Roubo designed in plate 278 from Roubo's "To Make as Perfectly as Possible: Roubo on Marquetry" (Lost Art Press), and asked ourselves. . . .
"If Andre Roubo were alive in today's hand tool market, how would he redesign his frame saw design for a one-person operation, and how would he take advantage of 21st century production techniques?"
With that imperative firmly in mind, we decided to do two things: we modified Roubo’s original design from a two-man 48" saw, to a one-man tool with 31.5" plate and resawing approach Tom Fidgen envisioned in The Unplugged Woodshop. In so doing, we upped the ante in keeping with Bad Axe's mantra that form follows function at the highest possible level. What follows is the dramatic result:
We completely overhauled the entire hardware kit to make it stronger, accurized and corosion-resistant. In short--we wanted the brackets, eyebolt, retaining u-bolts and striker plate & screws to look like the vintage hardware Roubo originally forged, while leveraging today's superior manufacturing & finishing techniquess. Here are the new specs:
Where 18th Century Design meets 21st Century fit & finish
- Thicker Tensioning Bracket Walls: We redesigned the plate tensioning brackets with 3/16" thick walls, constituting the strongest, most durable frame saw plate tensioning bracket available in the market today.
- Accurized Kerf: The new brackets are pre-kerfed by CNC to achieve precise width & depth, with absolutely no slop or drift: our CNC'd approach achieves dead-nuts accuracy with no guesswork or chance that you will veer off square when making the cut by hand. The kerf itself is has an exacting width tolerance between .032 /.035--less than the variance of a human hair.
- Professional finish: We promote a strong visual appeal by grinding the carbon steel brackets free of machining marks, followed by bead-blasting to deburr the edges and maintain a consistent surface texture. We then apply a professional-grade black-oxided finish for corrosion-resistance, and to present a nicely matched look with the shouldered eyebolt.
- The eyebolt rocks: We source our drop-forged and black-oxided eyebolt (lift-rated to 1000 pounds overkill) from one of Wisconsin's very own: Green Bay Drop Forge, whom you have correctly surmised share a home with the Packers ("Go, Green Bay!). Even Yvonne (Bad Axe Co-Owner, CIO/CFO and my better half who was born and raised in Duluth, MN, and as such is a die-hard Vikings fan) agrees with this move. A 3/8-16 brass jam nut accompanies the bolt, to reinforce thread count engagement for bombproof plate tensioning, which at the same times adds a subtle decorative flourish.
- Beefier striker plate, U-bolt retainers and black-oxided slotted head screws: Our remaining components constituting the striker plate and U-bolt sawplate retainers are also made here in the US. We’re black-oxiding the U-bolts in carbon steel, and have developed a thicker striker plate in stainless for strength and wear-resistance.
- Our hammer-set (and sharpened to joint) kerfing plane and frame saw plates: Our kerfing plane and frame saw plates themselves remain unchanged.We hit the sweet spot with those long ago after much research and development with Tom as he was writing The Unplugged Woodshop. Our 31.5" design provides maximum amount of throw without making a saw requiring a two-person operation, or by short-changing the average throw with a shorter saw (which brings no added value). As with any Bad Axe saw, our frame saw and kerfing plane plates are are uncompromisingly hammer-set and expertly sharpened to joint by hand. Attend one of our seminars, and we'll train you to hit our standard! But that's better explained in another page. . . .
- Pricing remains the same:We have launched our revised KPFS balance of hardware kit out of the budget realm into the high-end mode.But--you'll note that the upgrade has NOT increased pricing. Do bear in mind that our FrameSaw/Kerfing Plane Kits present the balance of plates and hardware you'll require to make two tools (the frame saw AND the kerfing plane).
5-piece quartersawn lumber bundle--new for Summer 2016!
We now offer pre-dimensioned, quartersawn lumber kits for the frame saw (white oak) and kerfing plane (cherry), so you can get right in to the joinery.
The wood is sustainably harvested right here in Wisconsin and consists of premium stock you'll thoroughly appreciate working.
At $145, the five-piece bundle is not cheap, but you'll be pleased with the quality, jointed flat and square stock with the convenience of not having to source it yourself.
Like our bench hook sets, this is something you can source and dimension yourself--but at the end of a busy day, convenience counts when you're on a tight schedule. We offer quality, quartersawn lumber without you having to not only source it yourself, but doing the grunt work of flattening, squaring and shaping before getting to the (by far more fun) joinery part.
The five-piece bundle weighs in at 14 pounds, so bear in mind that shipping will vary between $15 up to $45 depending on what part of the country you live in (surcharge applies for international orders.
We strongly recommend that our Canadian customers go through Tom Fidgen's site for the same at www.theunpluggedwoodshop.com, to avoid prohibitive shipping and customs charges.
"But--where are the instructions?"
You'll find everything you need to know about the joinery below. Nothing like a video and step-by-step procedural. Here are links to Tom's blog, where he'll walk you though the process of making these great tools:
Online Tutorials, by Tom Fidgen
"The combination of these two tools will change the way you work and think about working wood with hand tools"
--Tom Fidgen, Sep 2013
Now--where did I put those slabs of California Oak I was going to rip into 3/4" tongue and groove flooring . . . .?
All Bad Axe Tool Works Saws Feature the Following:
- Custom filing available at same price per request
- Bad Axe saw sharpening rates $15 nominal fee
- Highly-figured 19th-century patterned hickory handles, also available in cherry, walnut, maple & mesquite.
- Five handle sizes available: XS, S, R, L, XL
- Flush-face slotted sawbolts/nuts in three alloys and four finishes with a 13/16" deep-dish decorative medallion
- Firearms-quality hot-blued finish on traditionally-folded steel back
- Optional black or bright nickel carbon steel, brass, copper-plated and bronze saw backs
- Premium-grade Swedish Spring Steel, RC50-52
- Traditional hammer-set toothline
- Lifetime guarantee against all material defects
Learn more about my material choices and rationale.
Other Top Selling Bad Axe Tools:
- Bad Axe 10" Dovetail Back Saw
- Bad Axe 10" Carcase Back Saw
- Bad Axe 12" Hybrid Dovetail/Small Tenon Back Saw
- Bad Axe 12" Carcase Back Saw
- Bad Axe 14" Sash Back Saw
- Bad Axe 16" Tenon Back Saw
- Bad Axe 18" Large Tenon Back Saw
- Bad Axe 20" Miter Saw
- The Roubo Beastmaster
- Bad Axe Bench Hook Sets
- Bad Axe Miter Box Saws
- Bad Axe Fasteners
- Bad Axe Tool Care
- Bad Axe Accessories