Bad Axe Tool Works 10" Luthier's Fret and Carcase Saw: $275
(Delivery: 6-10 weeks)

Build Your saw and populate our queue with a $100 down payment * to be applied against the total cost of your order

Type Filing
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Sawback Preference
Handle Species
Hand Size (how to measure)
Preferred Fasteners

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* Please note that your down payment is non-refundable. It may, however, be transferred within the Bad Axe product line if you wish to amend your order or change your order to a different saw.

Luthier work: craft defined.
Just ask Carl and Phil, the luthier team at La Crosse's world-famous 'Dave's Guitar Shop, where every day they put conduct operational repair on guitars worth many thousands of dollars. When it comes to quickly and efficiently fretting a guitar neck--as well has having a fine-toothed carcase saw optimized for luthier work in general--this is the kind of saw that will never stray very far from a luthier's workbench.

Bad Axe has recently designed a fret saw to help Carl and Phil along the way, and we took it a step further by adding enough depth to the plate such that with the adjustable depth fence removed, it may be used as a great little carcase saw for any kind of work requiring finesse and dead-nuts precision.


"A beautiful Saw that is a delight to use and ridiculously useful. I love it!"

--Susie Chillcott, luthier



Design Rationale

Carl & Phil's Assessment & YouTube video

Our New Titanium-Nitride (TiN) Plating

Customer-Supplied Wood Sources








Design Rationale:

  • Bottom line up front: We designed an open-handled, thin (.015) plate 10" long saw with just enough plate below the back to accommodate a depth stop for making delicate fret-wire cuts on a guitar neck. This is also an outstanding carcase saw for thin stock requirements where finesse in cut is paramount.
  • Precise, hammer-set toothline with a combined set that delivers a .022-.023 kerf, which promotes a compressive fret-wire fit.
  • Ultra-High-Molecular-Weight (UHMW) Polyethylene Depth Stop with knurled thumbscrews. The high lubricity of this particular synthetic provides a friction-free depth stop for your work that won't mar your exotic woods.
  • Traditional 1876 Wheeler-pattern open handle, available in standard quartersawn hickory, or optional cherry, walnut, & maple. Five sizes--from XS up to XL will fit virtually any hand. Read more about how we make and finish our handles.
  • Traditional folded sawback finished in gunsmith-blued black-oxided carbon steel, or optional bright nickel-plated steel, copper-plated steel, or black nickel (while supplies last). Read more about this critical component for any backsaw, and why Bad Axe promotes the enduring traditional folded sawback over commonplace static-backed saws that disallow retensioning the toothline with heavy use.
  • Handle Fasteners available in standard brass or optional black-oxided, niter-blued, bright nickel-plated, or copper-plated steel.
  • Swedish spring steel .015 sawplate, hammer-set & sharpened at 17 ppi x-cut. Read more about Bad Axe's hammer-setting technique and obsessive dedication to sharpening excellence here.


"It's the sharpest, most efficient saw I've ever used. It's all that I've used for fret slots since I've had it, and frets are going in easier than ever."

--Carl Meine, Luthier, Dave's Guitar Shop, La Crosse, WI

Visit the workshop of Professional Luthiers Carl and Phil from Dave's Guitar Shop in La Crosse, WI

Watch the video we shot of Carl Meine and Phil at their luthier workshop deep in the heart of world-renowned Dave's Guitar Shop located in La Crosse Wisconsin. Carl explains the various processes he and Phil have used in the past to fret guitar necks, and how our final luthier saw prototype has now become their go-to tool of choice. Just click anywhere on the graphic below to watch the video.




Like Brass on your saws? Then you're really going to like our new Titanium Nitride-plated sawbacks.

The furniture-maker's perfect brace of saws: a Bad Axe Stiletto DT Saw and Bayonet Precision Carcase Saw

Have you purchased enough brass-backed saws already to know that they just don't age that well? It's a great look, but it doesn't take long for tarnish to set in, and over time a brass-backed saw deforms with hard use, wreaking havoc on your toothline. But it's traditional, right? And conveys a traditional, warm look we all like to see.

But form only goes so far before substance sets in. You very seldom see brass-backed saws longer than 12" or 14", because brass just isn't a strong enough an alloy for larger saws. Steel on the other hand presents superior strength and durability. So--we at Bad Axe made the hard choice a couple of years ago to phase brass out of our product line, since it's difficult to work with (it has a 'springy' quality to it), doesn't form well, tarnishes, and at the end of the day, just doesn't measure up to carbon steel, which can take a variety of platings for aesthetic purposes.

Enter Titanium Nitride (TiN). Long a favored finish for high-end firearms, titanium nitride presents stellar corrosion and wear-resistance, Titanium-Nitride hits the sweet spot when it comes to form following function. The tone falls between the look you get between brass and bronze, so it certainly scratches that aesthetic itch you get when wishing you had a little more brass love in the Bad Axe world. And the really cool thing about it? We can apply Titanium Nitride on our largest sawbacks, where the strength and durability of a steel-backed saw is paramount.

So what are you getting for the $45 upcharge? It's obviously not cheap--because it's not a cheap plating process for us to apply. But what you get is corrosion and wear resistance, along with that deep, brass/bronze look that retains its golden luster over time. Give it a shot--this is a drop-dead gorgeous plating that will retain its deep, rich look for the generations to come.



"Where can I buy my own mesquite--or for that matter, any unique species I'd prefer to supply myself for the handle?"

Finding a reputable lumber dealer can be challenging, particularly when you're looking for a well-figured species that won't let you down. The good people listed below will never steer you wrong--these are companies that Bad Axe has used over the past eight years with consistently reliable results when it comes to sourcing high-quality stock you'll be happy with.


Reputable Dealers for Mesquite and other hard-to-find woods

Texas Mesquite Designs     Horizon Wood
(Mesquite & other TX hardwoods)       (Any North American Hardwood)
Alex Swieczkowski email; 254-793-2685       Dan Terbovich email; 814-772-1651

Dimensions Required for shipment of customer-supplied wood to Bad Axe:

  • Length: 8.5" Long with the grain.
  • Width: 6.25" wide.
  • Thickness: can range between 4/4 and 5/4 thick. Do not fall below a full 4/4, given that we mill to a finished thickness of 7/8".
  • Type Cut: Quartersawn stock (mitigates wood movement with seasonal change. Do NOT send flatsawn stock. The only exception to this is mesquite, which has interlocking fibers and naturally resists warping despite type of cut.
  • Condition & Moisture Content: at or about 8% moisture content. No cracks, splits or defects in the blank.
  • Quantity, best to send two blanks, in case the first one has an unseen defect. This very seldom happens, but best to be prepared for it. We will return the unused blank or save it for future milling on your behalf.
  • How to ship: Have the supplier label each wood blank by taping your name & contact information (billing address, cell & email--your purchase receipt will also suffice), and drop-ship your blanks to our workshop at: Bad Axe Tool Works, 1500 Green Bay St., Suite #508, La Crosse, WI 54601. Please alert us when this is put into motion, so we may track your package’s arrival.

All Bad Axe Tool Works Saws are highly customizable, and Feature the Following:

  • Custom filing available at same price per request
  • Bad Axe saw sharpening rates $15 nominal fee
  • Highly-figured 19th-century patterned hickory handles, also available in cherry, walnut, maple & mesquite.
  • Five handle sizes available: XS, S, R, L, XL
  • Flush-face slotted sawbolts/nuts in three alloys and four finishes with a 13/16" deep-dish decorative medallion
  • Firearms-quality hot-blued/black-oxided finish on a traditionally-folded carbon steel back
  • Optional bright nickel carbon steel, brass, copper-plated saw backs
  • Premium-grade Swedish Spring Steel, RC50-52
  • Traditional hammer-set toothline
  • Lifetime guarantee against all material defects and workmanship

Learn more about our material choices and saw design rationale.

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