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Forum topic by Betsy posted 04-15-2008 04:59 AM 1201 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Betsy's profile


3299 posts in 3261 days

04-15-2008 04:59 AM

how many of you knew that a coping saw is different from a fret saw. I, for one, did not. A fret saw is designed to do much more precise cuts and, if I’m not mistaken can use standard scroll saw blades. I’ll be pickng one up for doing dovetails.

-- Like a bad penny, I keep coming back!

13 replies so far

View blackdogwoodshop's profile


72 posts in 3093 days

#1 posted 04-15-2008 05:27 AM

I believe that a fretsaw is typically has a deeper frame than a coping saw and, as you suggest, is the hand-saw equivalent to a scroll saw. For dovetails in thin material, a fretsaw is probably a good choice. For thicker stock, I believe a fresaw might prove too tedious for me.

-- Daniel, Southern Indiana -- "Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." --

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3149 days

#2 posted 04-15-2008 05:28 AM

Hmm, I did know about the difference between the two but did not know that you could use a scroll saw blade in a fret saw. Look forward to checking out your work!

-- Eric at

View Lakey's profile


97 posts in 3138 days

#3 posted 04-15-2008 02:35 PM

Fret saws are a little easier to control – but then there are jeweler’s saws, which are usually more adjustable. Scroll saw blades can be a little hard to keep rigid, just so you know – I am still looking for the perfect combo to saw out dovetail waste. Good luck.

-- "No Board Left Behind"

View Betsy's profile


3299 posts in 3261 days

#4 posted 04-15-2008 02:36 PM

Thanks guys. I’m going to check out the fret saw and scroll saw blade combo and see how it works for me.

-- Like a bad penny, I keep coming back!

View Doug S.'s profile

Doug S.

295 posts in 3073 days

#5 posted 04-16-2008 04:16 AM

I’ve got a couple of fret saws – one with a deep frame and one standard sized. I was under the impression that the difference was just the fact that the fret saws had the adjustable frames that let you use pretty much any blade that can be held in the top/bottom clamps (even short pieces of broken blades). And the coping saws needed the fixed sized pin end blades??

-- Use the fence Luke

View Betsy's profile


3299 posts in 3261 days

#6 posted 04-16-2008 03:05 PM

Doug – I’m getting the same general impression. However, the fret saw is apparently much easier to use simply because you can use any blade appropriate for the job.

-- Like a bad penny, I keep coming back!

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 3535 days

#7 posted 04-16-2008 03:32 PM

I have one of each but don’t know which is which.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View motthunter's profile


2142 posts in 3164 days

#8 posted 04-16-2008 03:54 PM

fret saws have a deeper loop.. at least that is what I understand

-- making sawdust....

View CharlieM1958's profile


16225 posts in 3583 days

#9 posted 04-16-2008 05:22 PM

I saw the difference, but I didn’t fret about it. Now I’m coping with the consequences of my ignorance. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 3402 days

#10 posted 04-16-2008 05:34 PM

Yes, I also fretted about the availability of the two saws. Being unable to cope with the lack of availability of the fret, I fretted with an inappropriate use of the cope. After quitting fretting and giving up coping with my cope, I got a fret and fret no more. They are different. Just FYI, it’s actually easier to cope with a fret than to fret with a cope.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View CharlieM1958's profile


16225 posts in 3583 days

#11 posted 04-16-2008 05:37 PM

Sounds like a cop-e out to me, Tom.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Texasgaloot's profile


464 posts in 3065 days

#12 posted 04-16-2008 05:56 PM

Either one seems to be able to generate any number of puns…

I’m not sure, but I believe the fret saw originated to deal with the fancy fretwork one might find in, say, a Black Forest Cuckoo clock, whereas the coping saw is built a bit more rugged to handle coping trim work. Lately another form of fret saw has surfaced, used to cleanly cut fret slots in guitar fingerboards. I guess the difinition lies in the usage.

-- There's no tool like an old tool...

View Betsy's profile


3299 posts in 3261 days

#13 posted 04-16-2008 07:06 PM

You guys are a hoot!

Bruce and Moth——you can get fret saws in a three inch or 11 inch frame. And Texasgaloot is right. I’ve been looking a bit about these saws and they were designed for the finer scroll type work. Coping saws are more rugged, and I might add, for this gal hard to use.

-- Like a bad penny, I keep coming back!

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