New Dovetail Saw

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Project by Bsmith posted 03-10-2011 09:12 PM 2725 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

120 posts in 3211 days

#1 posted 03-10-2011 09:41 PM

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

110 posts in 2700 days

#2 posted 03-10-2011 10:19 PM

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


2594 posts in 2623 days

#3 posted 03-10-2011 10:36 PM

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


2611 posts in 2907 days

#4 posted 03-10-2011 10:55 PM

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

-- Galootish log blog,

View helluvawreck's profile


30527 posts in 2801 days

#5 posted 03-10-2011 11:20 PM

It looks real nice. Congratulations.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View MasterSergeant's profile


1360 posts in 2623 days

#6 posted 03-10-2011 11:23 PM


-- Kelly, woodworker under construction

View stefang's profile


15878 posts in 3269 days

#7 posted 03-11-2011 12:01 AM

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


330 posts in 2605 days

#8 posted 03-11-2011 12:45 AM

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 2916 days

#9 posted 03-11-2011 02:11 AM

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

577 posts in 3309 days

#10 posted 03-11-2011 03:13 AM

great looking saw handle

-- Dan Hux,,,,Raleigh, NC

View tinkertwist's profile


12 posts in 2625 days

#11 posted 03-11-2011 03:24 AM

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 2569 days

#12 posted 03-11-2011 03:28 AM

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


11638 posts in 3024 days

#13 posted 03-11-2011 04:12 AM

View EnglishDave's profile


11 posts in 2569 days

#14 posted 03-11-2011 06:14 AM

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


View RS Woodworks's profile

RS Woodworks

533 posts in 3186 days

#15 posted 10-18-2011 03:50 AM

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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