Three LJ’s five saws
the LJ saw test meeting in Copenhagen!
Written by: MaFe
After a long night of red wine, good food, espresso coffee, cakes, French nougat and some US Coca Cola, we were finally ready for the saw test, that was actually the excuse for our LJ meeting!
The contestants are:
First saw (low price hobby saw, MaFe): Zona fine kerf razor saw 32 tooth per inch, pull stroke.
Second saw (MaFe’s new baby): Veritas dovetail saw 20 rip-cut teeth per inch, 0.003” of set per side, with a 14° rake angle and an included angle of 60°, push stroke.
Third saw (Spitze classe Napoleons new baby): Rob Cosman Professional Dovetail Saw 22tpi starting tip, then 15 tpi blade, push stroke.
Fourth saw (quality Japanese saw, Napoleon): Akagashi extra fine 180, Crosscut teeth 1 mm, Kataba saw from DICK Germany, pull stroke.
Fifth saw (Crappy go with a mire box saw, MaFe):
Standard mitre box saw Stanley, 12 tpi. push stroke.
Stuffed with wonderful tobacco, Jutlandia, My Own Blend.
App. 20 mm thick boards of soft Pine and a ‘rock’ hard piece of Oak.
We decided to test the saws, in both long and cross cuts, even we are aware of the tooth settings are made for either one or the other, or a multipurpose.
Beginning with the soft pine cross cut, front side of board.
We made one cut each with each saw. Razor made a excellent fine cut, it do produce tear out since it’s a pull saw, but it’s so fine, that it’s no problem, it cuts fine in the soft wood, even you have to make quite a few strokes. Veritas made a very fine cut also, and with almost no tear out, as you can see a really beautiful cut, the saw was so well balanced and was a perfect fit in the hand, I found it a little tricky to start up, but got after it fast. Rob made a slightly thinner cut than Veritas, but not all clean, but because of the less fine tooth it was so fast to cut that we were really amazed. But what was the more amazing was the fact that you needed no effort at all to saw, the weight of the saw was more than enough to do the job – we were truly impressed. Kataba was a surprise, it made a really nice cut, and felt also excellent in the hand, here you will see the tear out, but this is because it’s a Japanese saw, which cuts on the pull, it was really easy to work with and was also fast. Stanley was as expected really hopeless, it felt more like destroying the wood, than to saw, it left a wide open cut, but surprisingly clean.
Stanley almost tear the wood apart on the back, and leave a really bad cut. Kataba are really fine, and straight. Rob leaves a fine cut with a light tear out, due to the 14 tpi. Veritas only a very fine tear out, the thickness of the cut are like the Rob saw. Zona leaves a razor sharp cut, due to the fact it’s a pull saw.
All the saws except Stanley are able to penetrate the wood really fine, the failure on the Veritas are due to MaFe’s hopeless skills, or bad nerves for his new saw…
Time for some end grain in soft wood:
Same results, the Stanley tear apart the wood, and destroy it, Zona are like a surgeon, and the three others do a nice work, again with Rob going faster with less cuts, and the Kataba as a surprise really fast. Veritas are leaving a slightly thinner cut than Rob.
Oak time! We had found a really hard piece of Oak, our boat builder Napoleon, said it was the hardest piece of Oak he had ever been sawing in. Zona cuts again like a razor, but this time the number of cuts are endless, and it takes far to much efforts to use, the tooth will be gone fast. Veritas makes a fine cut with no complains and the saw are quite easy to use. Rob are almost to rough now, it’s a little tough to saw with the 14 teeth, but it’s fast and so steady. Kataba again do a fine job, leaving only a little lefty on the stability compared to the Rob and Veritas. Stanley are even its thick blade, not so stabile.
Almost same results as in pine, and again the Kataba are making some fine cuts, but with less stability, and more effort.
Here it’s really clear to see the thickness of the cuts.
And now some end grain in the hard Oak.
Same old song, no surprises here. Zona takes forever, Stanley destroy and the rest pass the test.
So what are the conclusion?
If you make boxes of soft wood, and the wood are thin, or you are looking for a hobby saw, this is a wonderful choice, I actually think we all liked it, but not for the purpose. And at the price it’s a winner for hobby work. But to even think of it as a ‘real’ saw – no way!
The blade is so thin, that it wobbles easy, and you have little control on it. The handle is too small.
Napoleon with the Veritas.
This saws design is a matter of taste! I love it, think it’s both beautiful, high tech and old fashion.
The handle is simply perfect to hold, and the balance is really good also, perhaps a little on the light side.
I have bought the 22 tpi. version, this made it a little ‘slower’, but the cut’s really precise (would have loved to try one with less teeth, since it would have been more right against the Rob saw).
This is really a wonderful saw, highly professional, and a pleasure to use.
We highly recommend this saw.
Napoleon and his new Rob Crosman.
Rob Cosman is leaning against the traditional saw design, but he adds, quality and thoughts on top.
The massive bag of the blade makes your sawing into a movement only, no force used at all; sometimes you even had to hold back a little. The handle material also adds weight, but also makes the ‘traditional’ shape of the handle a little out of tune (can you use new materials in old shapes, again only a matter of taste). The 22 tooth pr. inch in the beginning makes a easier start cut, and the 14 after makes it fast.
No doubt if I was making furniture every day, this would be the choice, this is a excellent saw.
For me this saw was the big surprise.
It’s not easy to compare completely, but I must say it was able to question my choice of the Veritas.
It’s a pleasure to use; it’s cutting quite easy, and with a low effort leaving the saw cuts surprisingly clean.
The handle is of a wonderful quality, but I feel not I have full control still… The saw is a beauty, so if you prefer Japanese saws, this is really a excellent choice.
Did not passed the test, it’s simply a crappy saw. Some will then say, yes but it’s also a cheap saw that comes with a mitre box, so we cannot compare! And I could not agree less, I think Stanley have to consider who is the buyer, and since it’s the handy man, with low experience, I think they fail to put a rough saw, they should provide the box with a saw with much finer tooth, so the handyman will have a chance to make a proper result, then it can be a crappy saw, that will not last too long, that’s up to them.
Flemming swinging the Zona.
When you choose from quality versus price, the best buys are Veritas and the Kataba, between these I think it’s a matter of habit or design, in both cases you get a fantastic saw for the money spend.
If you want ‘spitzenklasse’ and don’t care for the extra bucks spend, Robs saw are a beauty both to use and to look at.
Rob Crosman saw close up.
Hope this test can be use full for those who want to buy a new dovetail saw,
it was a eye opener for us, not only did we learn about the abilities of the saws, but also did we see how much the guy behind the saw was important, training is a strong issue, and even a Rob saw are to no use, if you are trained in sawing.
There are also a Three men, one mission blog about our meeting.
from the dream team…
-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.