Reconstructing a 15th century German frame saw: Back to basics


I recently posted about developing a prototype for a medieval frame saw or bow saw. I was successful in creating a wooden frame that would hold a saw blade, but I was dissatisfied in the excessive bulk and weight of the frame, and when I went back to compare the finished prototype to an early 15th century illustration of a frame saw, I was disappointed to see how different my finished prototype looked from the original. I had been thinking like a modern woodworker, adding bulk to key places for extra strength, generating lots of waste, and willing to make up for all the waste with a more marketable product.

So with due shame, I literally went back to the drawing board and designed a very different saw from a very different way of thinking. I looked very closely at the saw in the picture, studied its curves, studied each detail…

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