Knew Concepts Fret Saw Makeover

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Blog entry by BigRedKnothead posted 121 days ago 1099 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

-- Red -- "That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." W. Whitman

22 comments so far

View ToddJB's profile


1989 posts in 763 days

#1 posted 121 days ago

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 (online now)


4632 posts in 925 days

#2 posted 121 days ago

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 -- Stanley #45 Evangelist -

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


875 posts in 266 days

#3 posted 121 days ago

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


1211 posts in 608 days

#4 posted 121 days ago

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, Las Vegas

View ToddJB's profile


1989 posts in 763 days

#5 posted 121 days ago

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


1091 posts in 288 days

#6 posted 121 days ago

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


4748 posts in 615 days

#7 posted 121 days ago

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;-)

-- Red -- "That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." W. Whitman

View BigRedKnothead's profile


4748 posts in 615 days

#8 posted 121 days ago

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

-- Red -- "That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." W. Whitman

View CL810's profile


1967 posts in 1621 days

#9 posted 121 days ago

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! ;-)

-- "It's amazing how much can go wrong when you think you know what you're doing."

View Handtooler's profile


1073 posts in 764 days

#10 posted 121 days ago

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


12262 posts in 2730 days

#11 posted 121 days ago

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

482 posts in 1163 days

#12 posted 121 days ago

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


5125 posts in 1475 days

#13 posted 121 days ago

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

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

View walden's profile


602 posts in 655 days

#14 posted 121 days ago

Looks great Red!

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

View JayT's profile


2185 posts in 843 days

#15 posted 121 days ago

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?

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

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