Homemade Carbon Fiber Dovetail Saw

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Project by ErikF posted 09-19-2013 12:26 AM 3144 views 4 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A while back I picked up some rusty tenon saws and decided to clean them up. Since then I have started to become more interested in hand saws so I thought i would try my hand at building one myself.

This saw is built from raw pieces not including the screws and nuts off an old Disston I have. I ordered a 6” x 24” piece of 1095 spring steel shim stock, a 3” x 12” carbon fiber plate at 1/8” thick, and a slit cutter sized to make a .02” cut. I ordered all the materials from McMaster-Carr.

To make the spline i cut the carbon fiber into 1” strips, sanded them, then glued them together using epoxy. Once the epoxy had set up it was time to cut the groove for the saw plate….this part sucked! I tried a few ways to make some type of arbor and drive system for the small blade but it takes a 1” arbor (no tools i own has this). I manged to rig something up on my drill press but it wasn’t steady enough. I ended up fastening the cutter to a board and using the teeth as a scraper to SLOWLY scrape a straight groove along the spline. I used epoxy to fasten the plate into the groove.

The metal was the easy part. I cut the large piece into smaller pieces on my table saw using a metal cutting blade. No saw dust started to smolder when the sparks started flying.

I toothed the plate to 12 PPI using a template from then filed the teeth by hand. One part that is bothering me right now are the small dents left in the blade by the saw set i was using. It was from being a low quality tool or my inexperience. Probably a combination. I am picking up a Stanley No. 42 tomorrow.

I plan to file the teeth off and tooth it at a higher PPI for a smoother cut.

I learned a lot from the project and plan to make a few more. I consider this to be a troubleshooting project and plan to build a few more out of the same materials.

Thanks for looking.

-- Power to the people.

7 comments so far

View exelectrician's profile


2328 posts in 2570 days

#1 posted 09-19-2013 03:29 AM

Wow nice job, and how innovative using carbon fiber!

Could you router a shallow rabbet in each half of the carbon fiber strip and then epoxy the two halves and the blade in one step? my thoughts….

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View planeBill's profile


506 posts in 2552 days

#2 posted 09-19-2013 11:00 AM

im digging it

-- I was born at a very young age, as I grew up, I got older.

View bobasaurus's profile


3531 posts in 3327 days

#3 posted 09-19-2013 03:33 PM

Really nice work. I love tools that are handmade from scratch. Do you have to heat treat the 1095 steel, or does it come pre-hardened or tempered from McMaster?

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View ErikF's profile


621 posts in 2387 days

#4 posted 09-19-2013 08:57 PM

The steel comes tempered from McMaster. They have a lot of good supplies that would allow someone to be creative with their tool building. Also, I love the router idea.

-- Power to the people.

View natenaaron's profile


442 posts in 1940 days

#5 posted 09-19-2013 09:57 PM

I was wondering if this was possible. I guess it is. This is cool.

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 2282 days

#6 posted 09-20-2013 08:29 PM

Very interesting look with the carbon fiber. Way to thick outside the box!

I’m curious to see how it holds up long term – I’ve heard the stuff will unravel if some of the fibers get cut. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

-- -=Pride is not a sin=-

View ErikF's profile


621 posts in 2387 days

#7 posted 09-22-2013 12:00 AM

I don’t know enough about carbon fiber to answer the question of unraveling strands. From the little bit that I worked with it I haven’t seen anything while cutting it that would make me think that. I’ll follow up after some heavy use if anybody is curious as to it’s durability. I have already shortened the depth cut and re-toothed the saw. It cuts like a dream and is very light. can’t wait to make a few more.

-- Power to the people.

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