Back Saw to Fret Saw
© Frank Ford, 5/19/98; Photos by FF, 5/19/98

I find it helpful to have an assortment of various back saws handy to recut fret slots. I really don't like to recut fret slots but there are those times when it's necessary to true up the slots or to deepen them evenly. My different back saws each cut a different kerf so I usually can find just the right one for a given fret wire.

I've been known to take a little piece of ebony and a feeler gauge to the hardware store to try out a saw or two. Some, like Japan Woodworker in Alameda, actually encourage this sort of behavior.

For better control, I like to reverse the blade so the saw cuts on the pull stroke. I hardly ever slip out of the fret slot when pulling the blade through. I'd rather not talk about the slips I've made pushing the blade, though. . .

Anyway, here's an extremely quick conversion that works on almost any regular back saw.

I just clamp the blade in my vise with a pair of 6-inch steel rules to avoid crushing the teeth, like so:

Then pry the blade loose from the back:

Reverse the blade and tap the back on again:

Couldn't be simpler, and does it ever work easier with the blade reversed!

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