Making Two Sets of Matching Heirloom Saws #1: The 10" Dovetail Saw

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Blog entry by summerfi posted 02-12-2016 02:20 AM 1703 reads 3 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Making Two Sets of Matching Heirloom Saws series no next part

This blog entry is a continuation of an earlier blog post titled Making Two Sets of Heirloom Saws: The Gent's Saw and The Table Saw. The making of these saws is an ideal topic for a blog series, but I unfortunately didn’t think of that when I made the original post. I’ve now turned this into a series, but there is no way to go back and incorporate the original post into the series. That is why this post shows as #1 of the series even though it is about the third saws in the sets.

The original post on the gent’s saws and table saws gave background on why I’m building these sets of saws and information about how I make saws. You may want to review that post before reading about the 10” dovetail saws.


10” Dovetail Saws
It’s been awhile since I completed the last saws in the sets, the table saws. Part of the delay was due to a very busy Summer 2015 doing non-saw related work. Another reason is all the saw work I’ve been doing for other people. As people have seen more of my saws, the requests for commissioned saw restorations, saw sharpening, and new saws have increased greatly. Since completing the two table saws in April 2015, I’ve built 6 custom saws on commission and have three more in the works now. I’ve lost track of the number of restorations and other saw work I’ve done. I’m continually impressed by the demand for good quality hand saws by hobby craftsmen and professional woodworkers across the nation.

Like the other saws in the matching sets, these dovetail saws have figured American black walnut handles. I think the wood in these handles is particularly nice.

Here I’ve temporarily spot-glued the two handles together for profile shaping to ensure they are exactly the same.

Cutting the mortise for the back.

These saws have traditional folded brass backs. I purchased these backs, but I’ve recently bought a press and have been working on tooling to allow me to make my own folded backs in the future. The laser etching on the backs, saw plates, and medallions is done locally by a man who does this as a side business.

These dovetail saws are 14 ppi rip saws filled with 8 degrees rake and 0 degrees fleam. I’m confident they will cut great, but like the other saws in the sets, I plan to leave them completely unused (see the original post for an explanation).

I’ll close with several pictures of the finished saws.

That’s a wrap on the dovetail saws. The next entry in the blog series will be 12” carcass saws. Thanks for reading along.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works

20 comments so far

View theoldfart's profile


7934 posts in 1870 days

#1 posted 02-12-2016 02:37 AM

Absolutely beautiful Bob. The one saw I don’t have is an open handle dovetail. I should correct that situation some time.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View bearkatwood's profile


1172 posts in 430 days

#2 posted 02-12-2016 02:54 AM

I started to type three separate times, but had to back up and think again. I really don’t know what to say. Those saws are just amazing. Absolutely amazing! They will be the pride of someones shop, wish it were mine. Very beautifully done Bob

-- Brian Noel

View ToddJB's profile


6773 posts in 1549 days

#3 posted 02-12-2016 02:57 AM

This set going to be epic, Bob. Your work is tremendous

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View CFrye's profile


8563 posts in 1258 days

#4 posted 02-12-2016 07:43 AM

You are making your dreams and the dreams of many others come true, Bob. Thank you for taking the time to bring us along on your journey. Beautiful saws and craftsmanship.

-- God bless, Candy

View blue77's profile


115 posts in 326 days

#5 posted 02-12-2016 09:06 AM

Man-o-man those are beautiful.

-- I love my lathe. It’s old, not too pretty and I don’t really know how to use it… Love it!

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

916 posts in 1731 days

#6 posted 02-12-2016 09:11 AM

These are a pair of beauties! Oh to be the fortunate owner!

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

View WillliamMSP's profile


678 posts in 1023 days

#7 posted 02-12-2016 01:01 PM

Awesome stuff, as usual.

-- Practice makes less sucky. - Bill, Minneapolis, MN

View JayT's profile


4671 posts in 1630 days

#8 posted 02-12-2016 01:37 PM

Yawn. Just the same old amazing work from Bob. :-P

You do this so often, it’s almost become routine. I don’t know how you can do it once, much less time and again. That set is going to be so killer, there won’t be words for it.

One thing that I think would be cool is to post a pic of the growing set as each saw is completed. Unless you are saving it all for a big reveal at the end, of course.

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

View putty's profile


969 posts in 1025 days

#9 posted 02-12-2016 02:11 PM

Beautiful Bob, I bet those handles feel like silk. When you start folding your own backs, I would like to see a blog about it!

-- Putty

View terryR's profile


6229 posts in 1727 days

#10 posted 02-12-2016 03:15 PM

Gorgeous work, Bob! There will be some lucky fellows at your Estate Sale!!! :)

Thanks for sharing the photo of mortise work…had a difficult time holding the tote I started yesterday.

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Don W's profile

Don W

17872 posts in 1986 days

#11 posted 02-12-2016 04:08 PM

Absolutely beautiful Bob.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View duckmilk's profile


1581 posts in 743 days

#12 posted 02-12-2016 04:18 PM

Beautiful saws Bob, and your photo skills really show them off.

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View BigRedKnothead's profile


7862 posts in 1401 days

#13 posted 02-12-2016 05:06 PM

Shoot….dang! Never tire of the eye candy Bob. You aren’t running out of figured walnut yet are ya?

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View john2005's profile


1741 posts in 1597 days

#14 posted 02-12-2016 05:44 PM

Good night you do nice work

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

View summerfi's profile


3258 posts in 1106 days

#15 posted 02-12-2016 07:24 PM

Thanks fellas. The nice words are appreciated.

Kevin – In addition to a dovetail, don’t you need a gent’s saw and a table saw and a halfback saw and a…..

JayT – I thought about posting a cumulative pic of all saws in the set but I got in a hurry. May do it on the next one.

Putty – If I get good at making backs I’ll do a blog on it. Trust me, it’s a small scale low tech operation.

Red – If I say yes, does that mean more will show up in my maillbox? I have enough for a few more saws, but I never turn down figured walnut.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works

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