New Dovetail Saw

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Project by Bsmith posted 1268 days ago 2108 views 2 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I started with what I believe to be an old tenon saw without any tote, 13 TPI and 12” in length. Found a chunk of walnut and copied a couple of tote patterns from the Lee Valley web site. Took the saw apart, cleaned it up as much as I could then cut 1 1/4” off the back side. Drilled out for the handle, broke one tote while doing this. (note to self, if you have time to make one you have time to make two). Used a spray on finish, put it back together and am ready to cut some wood. It appears to be solid but dull. Next step is to learn to sharping the teeth. Thanks for looking.

-- Bryan

16 comments so far

View Rev. Jim Paulson's profile

Rev. Jim Paulson

118 posts in 1910 days

#1 posted 1267 days ago

Nice work on the saw. The handle looks great and incidently, I also broke a completely finished handle recently too. In my case, I had even added some wheat carving to it, but I made the mistake of assuming the bolts fit better than they actually did. I haven’t made a dovetail saw, but yours turned out swell.

Take care,


View Matt Stauffer's profile

Matt Stauffer

76 posts in 1398 days

#2 posted 1267 days ago

Looks lovely.

-- Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. ~ John 5:24

View steliart's profile


1807 posts in 1321 days

#3 posted 1267 days ago

I think you will end up with one fine dovetail saw

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions - --

View swirt's profile


1937 posts in 1605 days

#4 posted 1267 days ago

That came out nice. What did you use to cut the 1-1/4” off the back?

-- Galootish log blog,

View helluvawreck's profile


15623 posts in 1500 days

#5 posted 1267 days ago

It looks real nice. Congratulations.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View MasterSergeant's profile


1285 posts in 1321 days

#6 posted 1267 days ago


-- Kelly, woodworker under construction

View stefang's profile


12945 posts in 1967 days

#7 posted 1267 days ago

Great job. Beautiful handle and the blade came out good too. There was an article in Shop Notes magazine awhile back showing how to make a dovetail saw from scratch and that included sharpening it.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Bsmith's profile


295 posts in 1303 days

#8 posted 1267 days ago

Thanks all, swirt, I used a side grinder with a 1/16 inch blade. Used a piece of 1/2” metal strap as a straight edge. Worked great.

-- Bryan

View dand's profile


15 posts in 1614 days

#9 posted 1267 days ago

Beautiful saw looks like it belongs in the lee valley catalogue. You might find that there are actually not enough teeth as apposed to being dull.
Hand made tools are something to take great pride in and you certainly should.

-- Dand Kaslo

View Dan Hux's profile

Dan Hux

576 posts in 2007 days

#10 posted 1267 days ago

great looking saw handle

-- Dan Hux,,,,Raleigh, NC

View tinkertwist's profile


12 posts in 1323 days

#11 posted 1267 days ago

looks great, I would use it,

-- even a kick in the caboose is a step in the right direction

View EnglishDave's profile


11 posts in 1267 days

#12 posted 1267 days ago

Love the handle, I made myself a tenon saw handle many years ago and have just dug it out again to find that surprisingly enough it was blunt. Teeth were in good overall shape just no sharp edge. Did plenty of online reading and research, got myself a little three sided file and an hour of hard work later hey presto one sharp saw! I was so pleased to get the saw back into action.
So I would thoroughly recommend having a go at sharpening it, I don’t think it is quite as scary as people make out although of course that depends how much work you need to do on the teeth before you get to the actual sharpening stage!
Good luck!!


View mafe's profile


9492 posts in 1722 days

#13 posted 1267 days ago

View EnglishDave's profile


11 posts in 1267 days

#14 posted 1267 days ago

The one I read was also at but by a different author.


View RS Woodworks's profile

RS Woodworks

464 posts in 1885 days

#15 posted 1046 days ago

Very nice work on the saw! I have just recently started collecting and refurbishing old hand saws myself. Did you ever get around to sharpening this blade? How does it work now?
If you ever do another, look up “Chicago bolts” on Lee Valley’s online catalog. I use those and find they are a little nicer and more similar to original style saw nuts. Good job! and your new bench will be very helpful in holding work that you are dovetailing. :)

-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

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