I recently made up several wooden framed saws as an experiment – with a practical use perhaps. In the photo, the top two use standard 21ins bow saw blades, the bottom two use “emergency” or “survival” saw wires (approx 24ins, £2 each). Click photo for larger image in new window
These designs go back many hundreds if not thousands of years. The hardest part is of course making the blade, which I left to someone else! The ash frame (top left) took a while to make, but should be quite durable. This one, and the frame saws made of (willow) sticks, are best made of seasoned wood. Willow makes a light weight stick frame, but what type of willow you may ask. I used crack willow (I think), but it’s cheap to experiment.

The bow (bottom right) is the simplest and probably oldest design, and it can also function as a walking stick amongst other things. It needs to be made of wood which has some spring in it – as in a bow and arrow! It can be fitted with a conventional blade, or in this case a “survival” saw wire. The wire bladed frames can be used as improvised fret saws for cutting intricate shapes, naturally the shorter the wire the more accurate the cut is likely to be. See also: www.dchopkins.co.uk/wood which includes a video slide show of making the ash-framed saw.