RWW 151 Roubo Resaw Frame Saw in Action

roubo frame saw resawHere is a quick look at my dedicated resaw frame saw in action. It is based on the drawings by Andre Roubo. The blade is 4×48 and toothed at 3.3ppi. It is a monster in action but takes a delicate touch to keep it running true. The wider blade tracks very well with only minimal steering and can cut a board in half to make a panel or is great for sawing thin veneer. I have some more written on this saw’s capabilties over on this other post too.Resawing by hand has never been so easy and fun! I have built both a 48″ and 36″ version of this saw using 2, 3, and 4″ wide blades. They all have their merits for different sawing tasks but the 4×48″ blade is definitely my favorite. Semester 4 of The Hand Tool School has a dedicated lesson on resawing as well as a separate 2 part video series on building this saw and tuning the blade. Then we use it to resaw a 24″ wide piece of Walnut for a drop leaf top at the conclusion of the semester.

Frame Saw Hardware available through Artisan Iron Designs
Blades, saw files, and drill bits available through Blackburn Tools

Blackburn Tools is now also offering frame saw hardware kits if you want a simpler look without the iron scrollwork.

A huge thanks to both Vince and Isaac for working with me to make this saw a reality and for stepping up to the production of supplying hardware to my Hand Tool School members who are building this saw.

33 Responses to “RWW 151 Roubo Resaw Frame Saw in Action”

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  1. Nik Brown says:

    Seriously cool stuff man! Amazing work… I think you have the blade in backwards though ;-)

  2. Nice work Shannon! I have suspected for some time that a wider blade would track a bit better. I think the original Roubo version was about 4″ wide. While it’s true that no blade, no matter how wide, is going to resist the torsion forces of the wide frame, I’ve got to believe just based on my experience resawing with a regular hand saw that a wider blade will still help. I’ve gotten used to the 2″ wide blade in my frame saw, but I’d still like to one day make a 4″ wide blade to compare it to.

    I think it’s kind of like ripping with a wide plate hand saw vs. ripping with a continental style bow saw. You can rip with both, but in my experience, the English style hand saw with its wider blade is just easier to track a straight rip with vs. the continental style bow saw.

    • Shannon says:

      Thanks Bob. I worked with the 2″ blade myself for the past several months and like you said, it works well. There was a noticeable difference when I switched to the 4″ blade a few weeks ago however. My next experiment will be to see how a thinner plate will work.

  3. Jamie Bacon says:

    Looking good Shannon. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a frame saw get better results. Looks like it cuts pretty fast also.

    • Shannon says:

      I believe the elapsed time on this 10×36 board was about 8 minutes once I remove the talking bits and shifting of camera and lights and such. Granted it is Basswood so it’s pretty easy to saw. The Walnut veneer was quite a bit harder and that was about 3-4 minutes. My bandsaw does not cut that fast

  4. Ian Mackay says:

    This is so awesome Shannon. I can’t wait to get my blade and build this puppy.

  5. Stan P. says:

    Nice, it looks really smooth in use. this may be a dumb question, but I’m curious, do you start the cut with the frame saw or with a smaller hand saw?

    • Shannon says:

      I do start the kerf with a regular hand saw, in my case a 6 ppi rip saw. The coarse teeth make the frame saw tough to start but the cantilevered weight makes it even harder. Just a shallow kerf across the end grain and I was off to the races.

  6. Ken Lomas says:

    I would like to build this frame saw.
    I feel that very few people have focussed on this important part of the “hand tool” life. So many of us just need that 1/2″ – 1/4″ piece of wood out of a 8-12″ x 1-3′ board to complete our project in a ‘1-off’ scenario where a band saw is an expensive, noisy and many times dangerous solution.

    Kudos to you for pioneering this important subject… in which there is a enormous dearth of usable information available.

    Are you going to make any of this important research available to seasoned woodworkers like myself that may not be participating in your school? I do think that there are many others like myself who just want the plans & parts (i.e 4″ suitable steel for blades, etc)… plus, a bit of basic instruction in order to add this versatile ‘frame-saw” to our workflow.

    Ken Lomas

    • Shannon says:

      Thanks Ken, but like so many other things in the hand tool world, I’m only standing on the shoulders of giants. I’m hardly the first to build one of these and I relied heavily upon the work that Mike Siemsen already did in building his own. The decision to go with a 4″ blade was based on Roubo’s own sketches, and experience using a 2″ blades for the last 6 months. As far as building this yourself, look below the video player and you will find links to both the blacksmith for hardware and the saw maker for blades.

  7. Dave Jeske says:

    Really nice work. I can see me building one of these in the future.
    The hardware looks awesome also. Thanks for bringing this to the hand tool community.

  8. Wilbur Pan says:

    In the video, the far end of the saw sometimes drops, which means that you’re sawing into the grain. At best it looks like you’re sawing across the grain. It’s a testament to the saw that the cut seems to be going as easily as it does. Have you had a chance to tilt the board away from you so that you’re sawing with the grain, and did that make a difference?

    • Shannon says:

      Yes tilting it away absolutely makes it easier especially in a harder wood, but no necessary. You may notice that the Walnut veneer board is actually tilted away a bit since it is harder than that Basswood hunk. I found clamping vertically meant I could switch sides instead of unclamping and flipping the board which meant I was less hesitant to switch sides and less interruption of the “flow”. I find that to be more important in tracking the line in the long run.

  9. Bob Easton says:

    I was waiting for this video to see how you made use of the length.

    You could almost call this a walking saw. :-)

    Next, you need a free standing vice. I saw such things in the shops in Venice where craftsmen carve oars (remos) for gondolas. It looks just like the typical leg vice, but stands in a socket in the floor. One can move around it in all directions. Then, you could have good stance without bumping in to the bench.

    Great saw. Thanks for showing it.

    • Shannon says:

      That idea has crossed my mind looking at the Roubo plate of the two guys sawing at a twin screw vise. If you notice in the video I saw from both sides of the cut but much prefer to off bench side as I can square up to the cut much easier without contorting up against the bench. It plays a huge role in sawing accurately with this big saw.

      • Adam Maxwell says:

        Great video, but I already told you that :). Inspired by the Roubo plate, I built a crude twin screw for resawing in the end of my Nicholson workbench; it’s two (crummy) wooden screws and Doug Fir jaws. Because my bench is in the middle of the shop, switching sides is really easy, and I can saw all the way down to my bench top using the same stance on either side.

      • Ah-Ha! Found a picture of some of those free standing vises. While not focused specifically on the vises, you can see three of them (on the right side) in Paulo Brandoliso’s workshop here.

        And, if one clicks on that image, there’s a slideshow about forcola and remi making that shows the vises in several photos.

        Ready to take a jack hammer to the shop floor? Actually, I like Adam Maxwell’s idea too!

        • Shannon says:

          Thanks Bob, this was the exact site I was thinking of and I’m glad you found it. When I finally have the wherewithal to build my freestanding, French Oak timberframed shop, I’ll be sure to allot for a small concrete pad under the floor where I can sink a post for my “Chevalet de scieur”. Check out a post on Patrick Edwards’ site about the marquetry donkey. Second image in the post where you see the sawing horse over an open hole in the floor.

  10. Grant Springer says:

    Beautiful saw!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Great work. Kudos for mentioning Mike.
    Good music.
    Whats with the Festool t shirt? :-) :-) :-)

    • Shannon says:

      LOL every time I wear that I get comments. It’s actually an old Wood Whisperer shirt but with the shop apron on, Marc’s logo isn’t visible and all anyone sees is the Festool logo.

      • Grant Springer says:

        Oh the irony ! :-)
        Thanks for not only building that beautiful monster but also for sharing it.
        Any chance you will be showing it off at HandWorks in Amanna IA ?

  11. Bruce says:

    Looks like that saw chews through wood faster than a regular 26″ rip saw.

    They may need that saw for the great roubo table build in GA that Benchcrafted just blogged about.

  12. Michael says:

    I just spotted an historical variation of that resaw frame in the wild (ebay Germany).

    It is however a bit larger standing just shy of 6’7″, the frame is also jointed the other way around with the tenons on the short stretchers fitting in mortises on the long sides.

    I may build one at some point.

  13. Eric Hartunian says:

    Great saw! I’m waiting on some parts to make one. Just wondering how much set you put on the teeth? My initial thought is to use very little set, but I’m not sure if that will clog the saw with such big teeth.

    • Shannon says:

      Go with your gut Eric and start with just a little set. It is easy to add more and more than likely you will have to set a few more deeply than other to get the blade running true. I don’t have any way to measure how much set I put in my saws. It is a feel thing with the constant reminder to myself to go easy. It is easier to add more than remove. Take a look at my post on saw tooth geometry for some more detail on this

  14. Kendall Taylor says:


    Will the hardware from artisans support the four foot blade from blackburn. His website said the hardware is for a three foot saw.



  15. Pat Filoteo says:

    I’ve finished & tested mine (48″ w/4″ blade). A few notes for others that are going down the rabbit hole:

    1) I made mine from some fir. It works fine. I suspect that the key for wood choise is its stiffness, not hardness.

    2) The scroll work is much easier than it looks and requires a minimum number of tools. They make for relatively comfortable hand grabs. You need to create 8 for the saw & I found that I was much better by number 6.

    3) Roubo (To Make as Perfectly as possible) recommends ZERO set, and instead suggests filing & polishing the back. This is to optimize the saw for minimum waste when creating veneer. I don’t plan on making thin veneer (Roubo veneer is ~1/12″) so mine has the same set as my other saws.

    4) When I was testing it, I had not fully read Roubo’s instructions – I mean it is really “just” a rip saw, right? After much effort, I realized that you should start the cut with a regular rip saw. Roubo actually recommends at least 3/16″. Also, you don’t want to cut perpendicularly, he recommends a less aggressive cut.

    5) The saw teetch are punched pretty aggressively (~0 deg pitch). I think it would have been better to have these back at 5 or even 10 deg. Most of us will use this without a helper and it is _a lot_ of saw to be pushing. I might adjust this a little at the next sharpening for some of the front teeth.

    6) It is worth the effort. Good luck to anyone that takes it on.

    • Shannon says:

      There is some merit to relaxing the rake but first make sure you are pushing too hard with this saw. This saw is all about the mantra “let the saw do the work”, and if you try to push it, it will often resist. If you ever find yourself short of breath or sore of arm while using this saw, you are pushing it too hard.

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