Knew Concepts Fret Saw Makeover

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Blog entry by BigRedKnothead posted 04-29-2014 04:48 PM 4102 reads 2 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I recently purchased a Knew Concepts “woodworkers” fret saw. I was tempted by the titanium version, but opted for the aluminum at half the price.


It is a great saw for cleaning the waste between dovetails. No complaints there.

However, I have to agree with some common complaints about this saw. First the….Red! I know the maker has been given enough grief about his choice of color so I won’t pile it on. Just toss me in with the other petty woodworkers who enjoy the aesthetics of fine hand tools as much as the function. This saw looked like a UFO in my till next to my nice backsaws. I had to do something about the red color.

So, some interbz research taught me that the cleaner “Grease Lightening” would remove aluminum anodizing. You can read more that here you’d like. Soon I picked up a bottle for a couple bucks and went to town.

Scrub-a-dub in da tub:

Mucho Better:

Now for the other complaint….the handle. It’s a decent stock handle, but in used I kept wishing it was longer with a more comfortable shape. Evidently I’m not the only one. Knew concepts offers upgraded handles made by Elkhead tools. And I found a blog by Derek Cohen about replacing the handle on his saw.

I could have went either route, but I opted to have another LJ friend turn a nice cocobolo handle for me. He is a fine turner as you’ll see with the results.

When I recieved the new handle, I drilled, fit, and epoxied it into place the same manner as Mr. Cohen in his blog:

Now the unveiling…..

And after:

Now that’s a tool I’m proud to have in my shop!

Questions and comments always welcome, Red

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

22 comments so far

View ToddJB's profile


8294 posts in 2334 days

#1 posted 04-29-2014 04:59 PM

Vastly improved! Knew Concepts should take a lesson from an Old Concept – you can make a high function and aesthetically inspiring tool. Good job to both you and Terry.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View Mosquito's profile


9541 posts in 2496 days

#2 posted 04-29-2014 05:02 PM

Looks way better. Though I find it funny someone who goes by “Red” doesn’t like a red tool lol :-P

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1303 posts in 1838 days

#3 posted 04-29-2014 05:05 PM

Coat it with some clear satin finish lacquer.
Annodizing protects the AL.

Nice handle, and yes it looks better … I didn’t know you were such a fashion queen :-)

-- Jeff NJ

View Hammerthumb's profile


2907 posts in 2179 days

#4 posted 04-29-2014 05:10 PM

Fashion Queen. That’s funny!

Red – how do you like this saw compared to your old coping saw? Is it worth the $ you paid? Does it make better cuts on the waste than your old coping saw? If so, whats the difference?

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View ToddJB's profile


8294 posts in 2334 days

#5 posted 04-29-2014 05:18 PM

And… do you think it is the saw itself or the blades, and if the blades what are the blades?

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View Slyy's profile


2840 posts in 1859 days

#6 posted 04-29-2014 05:22 PM

Looks like it oughta be more at home among the rest of its older cousins! Nice change up on this fret saw Red, the cocobolo handle is gorgeous!

-- Jake -- "Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us." - Neil Degrasse Tyson

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8542 posts in 2186 days

#7 posted 04-29-2014 05:34 PM

Hehehe. I’ve kicked around doing a review of this saw, but I couldn’t help but customize it first.

I like it a lot better that a regular coping saw. You are able to turn your cuts exactly 90 degree with this saw. That means cleaning out dovetail waste is a one cut approach, as opposed to sweeping left and right with the coping saw.

And yes, much of the “like” has to do with the blades. I have never worked with any other fret saws. If there are other fret saws that fit these blades, I bet they’d work as well.

The price? You can actually get a basic KC for $49:
They go up in price when if you want quick release (probably overrated), and the ability to lock the blade at different angles (not overrated).
Notice the angle I am sawing. The blade is locked at 45 degrees. That means you could DT a large panel and not need a saw with a deep throat. The KC locks nicely at these angles.

Most see the $99 and freak out because other coping saws are $20. It’s just not apples to apples. This is a made in the US tool that has been very thought out. My little beefs, like a really nice handle, would only drive up the price. I felt like it paid for itself the first big set of DT drawer I did.

Hope that helps fellers. And if you get one, don’t feel pressured to strip the red. It’s mostly my OCD;-)

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8542 posts in 2186 days

#8 posted 04-29-2014 05:38 PM

Oh ya, fashion queen I am not. My wardrobe is beyond sad. My tools however….;-)

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View CL810's profile


3869 posts in 3192 days

#9 posted 04-29-2014 05:50 PM

Good work Red. While I’m partial to red I could use a handle upgrade. I don’t know about your queen status, but your tools are smoking hot! ;-)

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 2336 days

#10 posted 04-29-2014 06:00 PM

Absolutely beautifully done. And your LJ turner needs to receive his/her credit for the wonderful craftsmanship.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View WayneC's profile


13794 posts in 4301 days

#11 posted 04-29-2014 06:05 PM

Very nice. Will have to do some research on the cost of the titanium version with a custom handle to get ahead of the curve. :)

+1 on handle credit. :)

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1169 posts in 2734 days

#12 posted 04-29-2014 06:27 PM

Ya gotta add some bling, Mr. Fashion Queen. Gold enamel paint and some rhinestones along the spine, maybe.

Nice job.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View Brit's profile


7545 posts in 3046 days

#13 posted 04-29-2014 06:39 PM

I have heard he threads some tinsel through the holes at Christmas. :o)

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View walden's profile


1552 posts in 2226 days

#14 posted 04-29-2014 07:07 PM

Looks great Red!

-- "I am hiring a realtor if and when the day comes a lion is on my roof."

View JayT's profile


5961 posts in 2415 days

#15 posted 04-29-2014 07:09 PM

Dang, Red, that looks great! How did you get Terry to find a piece of cocobolo that has the same orange tones as the knobs on the saw?

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

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