9" Dovetail Saw for the 2014 LumberJock Saw Swap

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Project by AgentTwitch posted 10-21-2014 04:58 PM 2956 views 8 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was my entry for the 2014 LumberJock Saw Swap (ErikF had inspired me to build a saw even before the saw swap began. You should check out his blog tutorial on the tools for making your own saw from scratch.) I quickly discovered that building a handsaw almost entirely from scratch was completely possible with limited tools! I also discovered that it is addicting to build one, and I am already working on a second version for a co-worker.

The 9” dovetail saw is made from 1095 high carbon steel plate that is filed at 15 ppi rip, purchased from Dominic at The brass back was machined from a bar of ¾” by ¼” C360 stock. I used my router table with a variable speed controller to cut the .020” slot using a slot cutting wheel and a jig, as well as the chamfers. I have had pretty good results this way. The split nut hardware was purchased from as well. The handle is modeled after the Moses Eadon dovetail saw, and made from a scrap piece of highly figured maple with antique maple and walnut dye. I used lacquer for the finish and rubbed it out with #0000 steel wool. I think next time I would avoid the walnut dye (just use the antique maple) and use poly for a finish. It builds quicker and is more durable.

Hey the saw is far from perfect, but it was a blast to make. For those of you who didn’t participate in the build, you really missed out! It was a lot of fun and educational. The best part, you can build a great saw from a kit and only shape the handle if you dont want to mess with machining. There are plenty of great resources for picking out the perfect handle template to boot. Go build one!

God Bless

-- Regards, Norm

23 comments so far

View RogerBean's profile


1598 posts in 2375 days

#1 posted 10-21-2014 05:20 PM

Lovely looking saw. If it works half as good as it looks, then it’s clearly a winner! Nice job.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 1623 days

#2 posted 10-21-2014 05:55 PM

Darn good looking saw… I color looks fantastic. I think the Dye made the grain pop a little more myself. Dye has that way of makng the grain pop vs just staining. IMOP of course. Laquer just made it all warm and fuzzy also and when you need to touch it up it will be much easier…

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

917 posts in 1734 days

#3 posted 10-21-2014 06:19 PM

Looks great! I’m tempted to try one myself.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View waho6o9's profile


7120 posts in 1999 days

#4 posted 10-21-2014 06:43 PM

Great explanation on why building a saw is so empowering.

You did well Norm and the grain sure did pop with your finishing

techniques, good job.

View ShaneA's profile


6422 posts in 2020 days

#5 posted 10-21-2014 06:46 PM

Beautiful job on this saw.

View JayT's profile (online now)


4681 posts in 1633 days

#6 posted 10-21-2014 06:56 PM

Great job, Norm. That piece of maple looks so good as a saw tote.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View AgentTwitch's profile


507 posts in 2918 days

#7 posted 10-21-2014 09:02 PM

Thank you for the kind words. The saw was a lot of fun to build. For those of you who are interested, I highly recommend you splurge and buy a kit right away! you may wish to test making a tote on the scrap first.

-- Regards, Norm

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 1714 days

#8 posted 10-21-2014 09:35 PM

Great looking saw, with very attractive handle. Nice job.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Todd Swartwood's profile

Todd Swartwood

257 posts in 1147 days

#9 posted 10-21-2014 10:44 PM

Nice saw, I have been considering making one. I have a pretty long Priority list first.
Thanks for showing us, Todd

-- Todd Swartwood (Todd Swart-Woodworks)

View AgentTwitch's profile


507 posts in 2918 days

#10 posted 10-21-2014 11:13 PM

You should Todd. Only requires a few hours of free time

-- Regards, Norm

View ColonelTravis's profile


1159 posts in 1316 days

#11 posted 10-21-2014 11:32 PM

Awesome job. Slot cutter on the router – duh. Never thought about that. So how did you ensure that brass is on that plate super snug?

Also – checked out your great bevel gauge from a while back. You said the plans were from a ShopNotes. Do you know which one?

EDIT – nevermind, I see in the comments there it was #8.

Thanks for a couple of inspirations.

View GMatheson's profile


478 posts in 2391 days

#12 posted 10-22-2014 12:13 AM

I can say that the pictures don’t do the saw justice. Looks better in person and it cuts pretty good too. Thanks for the saw Norm. It’s now my go to dovetail saw.

-- Greg in Ontario, Canada

View AgentTwitch's profile


507 posts in 2918 days

#13 posted 10-22-2014 12:17 AM

COL Travis, Thanks for looking at my other projects.

To make sure the brass back holds the blade firmly you can do one of two things:
1.) Epoxy it in
2.) Use a 4lb mallet and gently tap a block of wood that is on top of the brass back until the plate requires some force to put back in the slot. (This is the approach I used)

-- Regards, Norm

View Don W's profile

Don W

17880 posts in 1989 days

#14 posted 10-22-2014 12:19 AM

Great job.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View ErikF's profile


500 posts in 1666 days

#15 posted 10-22-2014 01:08 AM

That there is a good looking saw, really like the curl in the maple. Welcome to the sweet addiction of saw making!

-- Power to the people.

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