Three LJ’s five saws – the LJ saw test meeting in Copenhagen.

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Blog entry by mafe posted 10-21-2010 03:24 PM 21324 reads 1 time favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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.

Last words:
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.

Best thoughts,
from the dream team…

Flemming, Napoleon and MaFe

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

19 comments so far

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2920 days

#1 posted 10-21-2010 03:35 PM

Very informative- nice comparison test Amigos.

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View helluvawreck's profile


31985 posts in 2948 days

#2 posted 10-21-2010 04:02 PM

Mads, I bought the Veritas with the 14 tpi (rip grind) and am totally happy with it after using it for about a month, now. It cuts fast or slow depending on how you use it at a particular time. I love old style saws with the tradtional handle and the brass backs so the Veritas is a little more modern style but that’s ok because the saw feels so good in my hand and is so well balanced that every time I pick it up it makes me smile inside and sometimes outside too. I will also be buying the Veritas 20 (rip) tpi for more delicate things and maybe also their crosscut version of this saw. So I will have three quality saws for different purposes for $195.00. Doesn’t the Rob Cosman cost $250? No contest for me. The Veritas is the right saw in my mind because of price/quality considerations.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3385 days

#3 posted 10-21-2010 04:09 PM

I use that first one, I don’t know the brand (Zona?, dunno) but we call them a Jap saw. They come in real handy sometimes when trimming out boxes (cabinets).

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View lew's profile


12209 posts in 3837 days

#4 posted 10-21-2010 04:21 PM

Thanks for the great comparison!

For me, personally, the Japanese pull saw is really a pleasure to use. It takes a bit to reverse your “thinking” when you start using it, but I seem to have more control.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View swirt's profile


2872 posts in 3054 days

#5 posted 10-21-2010 04:28 PM

That is a great review. The comparisons are easy to see. Anyone considering the Zona for this kind of work should consider the 24tpi version as opposed to the ultra fine 32tpi. It would be a little better for the task, still like a razor, but a bit more able to cut..still slow…but not soooooo slow ;)

Loved to see the stanley in there. Made me laugh. My son has the same saw and even he prefers to use any other of my saws (he’s 2) and even he can tell it is crap. Though in all seriousness I have to add that most of it’s faults are that the teeth are punched, but not really sharpened. With a bit of sharpening (10 -15 minute job) it can cut a LOT better.

-- Galootish log blog,

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3416 days

#6 posted 10-21-2010 05:20 PM

A Fun test Mads. I have a Japanese saw which has two edges, one for cross grain cutting and the other for rip cuts parallel with the grain. Both sides cut amazingly fast and accurate. For safety’s sake I always keep the unused edge protected with the plastic sheathe that comes with the saw (especially after I cut myself with the unused side once). I love this saw. The only downside is that it is very easy to damage to the very thin/fine teeth, so care has to be taken when using it and it should always be protected from other tools during storage.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2938 days

#7 posted 10-21-2010 06:12 PM

Mads, hvis du drak en billigere vin, så Stanley ville have været perfekt, og man kunne have solgt de andre og købte flere billige vinde. ha ha


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View helluvawreck's profile


31985 posts in 2948 days

#8 posted 10-21-2010 07:12 PM

Jamie, is that Scottish? I was just wondering. Most of my ancestors came from Ireland and Scotland.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 3905 days

#9 posted 10-21-2010 07:32 PM

Can I get in on the next’s testing , I’m especially interested in the pre-testing meal…lol Nice comparative testing, I agree with the remarks on the Kataba saw very easy to use with little effort. Thanks as always for your extra work on such blogs…BC

View rdlaurance's profile


367 posts in 3429 days

#10 posted 10-21-2010 07:36 PM

Jamie…. Det var den billigste vin de kunne finde ved 3-tiden om morgenen. ha ha

-- Rick, south Sweden

View iamderek's profile


2 posts in 2869 days

#11 posted 10-21-2010 09:04 PM

Excellent review and enjoyable read! Being partial to a Japanese pull saw, I look forward to trying out the Kataba. I primarily use a Ryoba (Double-edged) but have been considering buying a dovetail saw.

-- Derek

View Flemming's profile


417 posts in 2978 days

#12 posted 10-21-2010 09:05 PM

lol, mads thank you for taking the blame with the veritas. as i remember though it was my horrible skills that created that nice scar on the wood ;)

a great analysis of the results Mads, thanks for taking the time to write it all up :)

and thanks for a great night guys!

-- Flemming. It's only a mistake if you can't fix it.

View Napoleon's profile


788 posts in 2891 days

#13 posted 10-21-2010 09:24 PM

Mafe you have done a great work on this blog.

I agree completly with you.

My final conclusion on this sawtest is : I simply need to own a veritas too :D

-- Boatbuilder&blacksmith

View tdv's profile


1188 posts in 3152 days

#14 posted 10-21-2010 09:38 PM

Thanks for the information Looking at the cuts the Japanese saw seems to come out very well & I bet it cost a lot less than the Veritas & Rob Crossman.

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View mafe's profile


11740 posts in 3171 days

#15 posted 10-21-2010 09:57 PM

I’m glad it seems to be a usefull test, and to hear the agrements.
Prices in Europe are (ex. shipping):
Kataba: 80$, Rob Cosman: 302$, Veritas 78$, Zona 20$, Stanley 18$.
(Kataba: 58 euro, Rob Cosman: 192 pund, Veritas 50 pund, Zona 111 kr, Stanley 100 kr.).
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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