Reply by BrownDog

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Posted on Dovetailing Saw

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9 posts in 2239 days

#1 posted 10-24-2012 05:20 AM

If you are going to actually cut dovetails get a saw filed rip. For most work, as has been stated, you don’t need great depth in the plate – 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches is plenty for most dovetails most people will ever do. There are many great saws to be had. My own experience would lead me to get a thin plate (.015”) Lie Nielsen dovetail saw if I didn’t want to build one myself.

The thin plate (most are .020”) is, in my experience, an advantage in a dovetail saw. I have a standard Lie Nielsen (.020” thick plate 10” long x 1 5/8” usable depth) and a Gramercy Tools (.018” thick 9” long x 1.3” useable depth 19ppi ) plate and a saw I made myself with a .015” thick plate that is 12” long and 2” deep 15 ppi. The thin plate saw I made with the longer plate and 15ppi is by far my favorite. The thin plate seems to really slice through wood like butter, in part because it has a heavier back (3/4” brass) than the Gramercy or Lie Nielsen. The Gramercy saw is very light and the hang of the handle didn’t work for me so I rehandled it with a lower angle hang, though with a smaller more diminutive handle than I generally prefer in order to better fit the plate.

If you don’t want to make your own saw get the Lie Nielsen thin plate (.015”). It will be a very nice saw at a very reasonable price and will do all the work for you with more aggressive teeth and heavier back than the Gramercy. If you are going to be working only in very thin wood the Gramercy will work but won’t cut as quickly.

I have no experience with Bad Axe saws but expect them to be of the highest quality. The thicker plate would be, in my opinion, a slight disadvantage. But I’m sure any of the saws would be more than adequate and I expect you’d find them a joy to use. If you are not on a budget Bad Axe or Two Lawyers Toolworks saws would be works of art and very effective as would Medallion, Adria, etc.

I found I prefer the thinner plate, heavier back and for my particular hands a bigger handle than standard and with a hang angle in the neighborhood of the Lie Nielsen. The Gramercy hang angle didn’t work for me and the handle was too tiny. I would prefer a heavier back on the Gramercy.

As in all things physical characteristics and personal preferences differ leading to different likes/dislikes (and my reason for making custom saws). So your preferences will most definitely vary from mine so take my perspective for what it is – my perspective.

Custom Thin Plate Dovetail with Padauk Handle

Rehandled Gramercy in Cocobolo

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