Best Fret Saw in 2022 (Reviews and Comparison)

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Nowadays we are used to having power tools to do most jobs. But one hand tool that retains its place in most woodworkers’ toolkits is a fret saw.

A fret saw is used for making narrow, intricate cuts. Its most common use is for making the final cut in dovetail joints. After making the first two cuts into the wood with other saws, the narrow blade of the fret saw slides into the space and then joins the two cuts together to be able to remove the waste.

Other uses are cutting curves and shapes in marquetry and inlay. And in the making of guitars and other stringed musical instruments. They are also used in jewelry making, hence why they are also known as jewelry saws.

Small, intricate, and precise cuts like this are best achieved with this traditional hand tool.

For the best results doing the kind of precision work you’ll be doing with a fret saw you want to know you have the best fret saw.

The best fret saws need to be a quality tool that is strong and steady to cut precisely where you want to cut. If not, the results will be poor.

But don’t fret. We’ve found the best fret saws available and have them here for you to help make your choice much easier.

COMPARISON CHART

IMAGE PRODUCT
5 Inches Woodworker Fret Saw Knew Concepts Mk III 5-inch Fret Saw With Screw Tension
  • Lightweight, Rigid Frame
  • Good Blade Tension
  • Precise
CHECK PRICE
Megacast GERMAN STYLE JEWELERS SAW FRAME with 144 ASSORTED JEWELERS SAW BLADES Megacast German Style Adjustable Jewelers Saw
  • Adjustable
  • Outstanding Value
  • Plenty of Blades
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Olson Saw SF63507 Fret Saw Fret Saw, Flat Wire Frame Olson SF63507 Fret Saw
  • Extremely deep depth of cut
  • Folding Handle
  • Accepts fret, scroll, jewelers and spiral blades
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Knew Concepts 125.005CS 5 Inch MK III Fret Jewelers Saw with Cam Lever Tension, Rotating Blade and 12 Each #7 Pegas Fret Saw Blades Knew Concepts Mk III 5-inch Fret Saw With Lever Tension and Rotating Blade
  • Lightweight, Rigid Frame
  • Good Blade Tension
  • Easy Blade Tension and Release
CHECK PRICE

1. Knew Concepts Mk III 5-inch Fret Saw With Screw Tension

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Knew Concepts 125.005 MK III 5 Inch Fret Jewelers Saw with Screw Tension and 12 Each #7 15 TPI Pegas Fret Saw Blades

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Knew Concepts 125.005 MK III 5 Inch Fret Jewelers Saw with Screw Tension and 12 Each #7 15 TPI Pegas Fret Saw Blades

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Knew Concepts 125.005 MK III 5 Inch Fret Jewelers Saw with Screw Tension and 12 Each #7 15 TPI Pegas Fret Saw Blades

Specification

Blade Length5 Inches
Number of Teeth75
Item Dimensions‎13 x 1 x 1 inches
Weight‎6 ounces

Features

  • 4-¾-Inch Opening
  • 5-Inch Depth of Cut/Throat
  • 5.1-ounce truss-style aluminum frame
  • Knurled clamp and tension knobs
  • Blade does NOT rotate

Knew Concepts have revolutionized the fret saw world and their saws now dominate the market as they are amongst the best fret saws you can buy.

The ⅛” thick milled anodized aluminum truss-style frame is lightweight but rigid enough to allow the blade to be tensioned to 40 pounds. This minimizes blade breakage and deflection resulting in better cutting accuracy.

Knurled blade clamp knobs grip the blade tightly to prevent slipping. Easy tension adjustment is achieved with another knurled screw.

This kit includes a dozen 15TPI #7 saw blades.

WHAT WE LIKE

The Knew Concepts patented design with a truss-style frame gives you a lightweight but rigid fret saw for excellent cutting accuracy. This 5-Inch model is the mid-size model in their range so should be suitable for a wide range of jobs.

It’s nice to see a relatively new American company making market-leading products in the USA.

WHAT WE DONT LIKE

The blade does not rotate on this model.

PROS

  • Lightweight, Rigid Frame
  • Good Blade Tension
  • Precise
  • Quality Construction

CONS

  • Blade doesn’t rotate

2. Megacast German Style Adjustable Jewelers Saw

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Megacast GERMAN STYLE JEWELERS SAW FRAME with 144 ASSORTED JEWELERS SAW BLADES

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Megacast GERMAN STYLE JEWELERS SAW FRAME with 144 ASSORTED JEWELERS SAW BLADES

Check Price

Megacast GERMAN STYLE JEWELERS SAW FRAME with 144 ASSORTED JEWELERS SAW BLADES

Specification

Blade Length14.4 Centimeters
Item Dimensions7.9 x 4.7 x 0.4 inches
Item Weight8.8 Ounces

Features

  • Adjustable Frame
  • Maximum 5-⅔-Inch blade
  • 5-⅔ Inch Depth of Cut/Throat
  • Thumbscrews For Tightening and Adjustment
  • 144 Blades Included

This highly-rated professional-quality saw from Megacast is marketed as a jewelers saw, but that’s just another name for a fret saw so it can be used for your woodworking projects too.

The saw frame is adjustable to fit various saw blade lengths up to 14.4cm or 5-⅔ “.

The depth of cut is around 3-½ ”. Incredibly this kit comes with 144 assorted blades for an amazing price.

WHAT WE LIKE

The adjustable saw frame is a good feature but mainly this is a very highly rated saw at a great price, especially including a mountain of saw blades.

WHAT WE DONT LIKE

Sometimes you have to tighten very hard to grip blades.

PROS

  • Adjustable
  • Outstanding Value
  • Plenty of Blades

CONS

  • Blade grip
  • Doesn’t Rotate

3. Olson SF63507 Fret Saw

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Olson Saw SF63507 Fret Saw Fret Saw, Flat Wire Frame

Specification

Blade Length5 Inches
Number of Teeth20
Item Dimensions9.5 x 5 x 1.5 inches
Item Weight‎11.4 ounces

Features

  • Accepts 5-Inch Blades
  • 13-¾” Depth of Cut/Throat
  • Folding Handle
  • Wingnut Clamps

We’ve included this Olson model fret saw because of its very large depth of cut. It is the noticeable feature of this fret saw. It is a compact 5” wide but has a large 13-¾” depth of cut so will be really useful for jobs where you want to cut that deep.

Even if you aren’t cutting that deep it gives you more freedom of movement to make intricate turns.

It has a neat folding handle when not in use. This model does not come with any blades included so you will need to buy separately.

WHAT WE LIKE

Clearly the large depth of cut on this saw is its biggest plus.

WHAT WE DONT LIKE

You have to squeeze the frame on this saw as you tighten up the blade to produce the tension. This makes it a bit awkward and doesn’t create as much tension as with adjustment knobs.

No blades included.

PROS

  • Extremely deep depth of cut
  • Folding Handle
  • Accepts fret, scroll, jewelers and spiral blades 

CONS

  • No tensioner bolts
  • Weak wingnuts

4. Knew Concepts Mk III 5-inch Fret Saw With Lever Tension and Rotating Blade

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Knew Concepts 125.005CS 5 Inch MK III Fret Jewelers Saw with Cam Lever Tension, Rotating Blade and 12 Each #7 Pegas Fret Saw Blades

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Knew Concepts 125.005CS 5 Inch MK III Fret Jewelers Saw with Cam Lever Tension, Rotating Blade and 12 Each #7 Pegas Fret Saw Blades

Check Price

Knew Concepts 125.005CS 5 Inch MK III Fret Jewelers Saw with Cam Lever Tension, Rotating Blade and 12 Each #7 Pegas Fret Saw Blades

Specification

Blade Length5 Inches
Cutting Angle45 Degrees
Item Weight‎11.4 ounces

Features

  • 4-¾-Inch Opening
  • 5-Inch Depth of Cut/Throat
  • 5.1-ounce truss-style aluminum frame
  • Knurled clamp and tension knobs
  • Cam Lever Tension
  • Rotating Blade – 45 degrees both ways
  • Made in The  USA

Another 5” model from Knew Concepts but this is the higher specification model that has the extras of Lever Tensioning and a Rotating Blade.

This has the same lightweight ⅛” thick milled anodized aluminum truss-style frame that is rigid enough to allow the blade to be tensioned to 40 pounds.

On this model, the extra unique cam lever makes tensioning and releasing the blade much quicker and easier.

The other upgrade with this model is the rotating blade that rotates 45 degrees in either direction via spring-loaded blade clamps.

This kit also includes a dozen 15TPI #7 saw blades.

WHAT WE LIKE

The same lightweight and rigid frame that gives you the excellent cutting accuracy of all Knew Concepts saws – with the added features to take your intricate cuts to another level.

The  Cam lever tensioner could be particularly beneficial to those who struggle to tighten up the various types of nuts to tension blades.

WHAT WE DONT LIKE

All these features do make this a pricey fret saw, but it’s worth it if you will use them.

PROS

  • Lightweight, Rigid Frame
  • Good Blade Tension
  • Easy Blade Tension and Release

CONS

  • Expensive

FAQ/Buyers Guide

What Is The Difference Between A Fret Saw And A Coping Saw?

Coping saws are very similar but are a little bigger and are used for less intricate, less delicate cutting. They are named because they are traditionally used to cut coping, the curved corner pieces between walls and ceilings. So make tougher cuts and wider curves.

The blades are different in each too. Fret saw blades are slimmer and finer for the more intricate cutting. They are flat at the ends and attach to the saw by being clamped in place.

Whereas a coping saw has hooks that hook into holes in the slightly larger blades.

Why Fret?

Fret means ‘to gradually wear away by rubbing or gnawing’ – the same process a fret saw blade uses to cut.

Interestingly, the thin metal bars on the neck of a guitar are called frets. The player presses the strings against them to change the note played. Fret saws, normally the rigid type, can be used to cut the slots for the frets in a guitar.

And…… a Luthier (someone who makes stringed instruments) would use a fret saw to cut the shaped holes in the body of the instrument.

What is TPI?

TPI means Teeth Per Inch and it is how saw blades are graded. More teeth per inch means smaller teeth and a finer cut. 20 and 24 TPI would be a fine, smooth cut.

Some blades for Fret saws and Jewelry saws are graded by gauge. From the coarsest 10, getting finer down to 0, then finer still from 2/0 to 10/0, the finest. For example, 2/0 is 0.0102” wide and has 56 TPI.

Conclusion

This list is dominated by Knew Concepts fret saws, and rightly so, as they are a cut above the rest.

Their innovative and patented design has revolutionized the fretsaw market so we have to pick one of theirs. But which one?

We could choose any from their range, from a smaller 3” model all the way up to their top of the range 8” Titanium Birdcage Fret Saw.

In the end, we have chosen the Mk III 5” with Screw Tension. It has all the benefits of the unique Knew Concepts Frame, is a good mid-size so will be suitable for most tasks, and will have a large range of blades to choose from.

Most users will be happy using the knurled knob for blade tension and can either live with the non-rotating blade or buy blades for tight turns.

But if your budget will stretch to it and you will get a lot of use from your fret saw, then the extra expense of the 5” with Lever Tension and Rotating Blade could be worth the difference.

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