Blue Spruce Fretsaw
Above: Carbon fibre provides lightweight strength in Blue Spruce Toolwork’s new fretsaw.
Review and photos: Robert Howard
Knew Concepts were the first to successfully revolutionise the design of these saws with their titanium framed coping saw. However, I get the impression that their emphasis was primarily on the saw frame, in an attempt to find a design that would be light enough to properly tension the blade, but inexpensive enough to succeed in the market.
This they did, but for me the weak point of their design was their blade tensioning system. It did place a wonderful tension on the blade, and for that I loved it, but I have always yearned for a higher quality version of it. This we now have.
The blade holding, tensioning and rotation system is highly effective.
Blue Spruce Toolworks have built on the Knew Concepts revolution of frame design by introducing carbon fibre to provide lightweight strength, but have gone beyond by vastly improving the blade holding, tensioning and rotation system.
Everything about the Blue Spruce system is very high quality, and works beautifully. It is so good that, uniquely, it can be used as a scrollsaw, with the blade under full tension but totally free to rotate as the handle is turned to steer it. Each stainless steel blade clamp is on the end of a short shaft that passes through a boss on each end of the frame. One is threaded to receive the wooden handle, and as the handle rotates on the thread it applies the tension to the blade.
The really clever part is that a nut on the inside of the boss can be adjusted to allow the handle to lock up on its thread, applying the required tension to the blade, but at the same time remaining free to rotate in the boss. Bearings fitted to each shaft in its boss allow the connected system to rotate smoothly while under the applied tension.
Thumbwheels fitted above each boss control pins that allow the blade to be fixed in any of eight indents along each 360° rotation.
The saw can be bought as a fretsaw or a coping saw, but the names only signify two different methods of holding the blade. The fretsaw uses pin-less scrollsaw blades which are held by stainless steel thumb screws, whereas the coping saw uses the traditional pinned blades. A conversion kit is available.
Finally, each saw can be ordered in any of 11 frame colours, two hardware finishes, and six handle woods (but two of these cannot be legally exported from the US).
Unfortunately, not everyone will be able to, or will allow themselves to, afford this superb saw. But if you love beautiful things as much as I do, I hope you will find a way. I know I will be repeating the mantra about long after the price is forgotten, the quality remains.
Review tool supplied by Blue Spruce Toolworks. See www.bluesprucetoolworks.com