Dovetail saws

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Forum topic by Betsy posted 02-15-2008 03:58 AM 2433 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3391 posts in 4098 days

02-15-2008 03:58 AM

I need to get a good dovetail saw for my class I’m taking in May. What saws do you all use?

What about this saw/,42884,57152

thanks all.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

23 replies so far

View Don Niermann  's profile

Don Niermann

219 posts in 4174 days

#1 posted 02-15-2008 04:14 AM

Lie Nelson $75 ti $125

-- WOOD/DON ( has the right to ones opinion but not the right to ones own facts...)

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4316 days

#2 posted 02-15-2008 05:06 AM

I’m sure Lee Valley’s is a nice saw, but I haven’t used it before. I have the Lie Nielsen dovetail saw and I really like it. You can read my review in the LJ Reviews. I recently found this web site, and they sell Lie Nielsen tools for under list price. It’s the only place I have found that sells Lie Nielsen for under list price. The dovetail saw at their site is $119. I bought a nice mallet from them recently and really like it.

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3986 days

#3 posted 02-15-2008 05:20 AM

I use a Crown gent’s saw which only cost me about $15-20. It does a fine job, especially for the money. I would like a full-handled saw for a better grip, so that Lie-Nielsen sure looks like a beaut. However, I’ll be getting a ryoba (Japanese) saw soon, and look forward to trying that on dovetails.

Have fun on your class and be sure to report back on how it went!

-- Eric at

View Alin Dobra's profile

Alin Dobra

351 posts in 4090 days

#4 posted 02-15-2008 05:26 AM


I actually like a lot this saw:,42884

It is super fast cutting, very light and has a very narrow kerf (0.015). It only costs 23$. It definitely puts to shame my Pax dovetail saw (big, clunky and 86$).


-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

767 posts in 4376 days

#5 posted 02-15-2008 06:10 AM


If possible, you should see if you can make some test cuts on a western saw and then on a Japanese saw and see which style you prefer. That would help narrow your selection down by about half…

-- Ethan,

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4076 days

#6 posted 02-15-2008 01:07 PM

I bought a Japanese dovetail saw at Rockler for $38.00. It cuts on the pull stroke, and has a thin blade.

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3998 days

#7 posted 02-15-2008 01:28 PM


That saw is made my Wenzloff & Sons, who have a great reputation for quality saws. I’m not sure if Lee Valley has them in stock though, so you may want to call and find out first. Wenzloff’s website says they have something like a 21 week wait for new saws.

Everyone I’ve talked to who has them, love them. Another option is Tools for Working Wood’s Gramercy dovetail saw

While it’s back ordered too, it should be back in stock in the next week or so, per my phone call recently about them.

Hope this helps :)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Stacey's profile


19 posts in 3958 days

#8 posted 02-15-2008 03:08 PM

I was in your same situation not too long ago and ended up having a saw custom made by Tim Hoffman. He frequents and goes by username TimHoff. The price was quite a bit cheaper than either the Wenzloff, LN, Adria, or Gramercy. It is a really sweet little saw. Here is a thread he started showing how he makes the saw blade:

There are a couple of individual sawmakers that do really good work if you are interested in going that route. The Wenzloff saws are probably the best thing going right now though. All of the above are great and you really can’t go wrong with any of them.

-- S. Box --- "But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever." - John Adams

View GMoney's profile


158 posts in 4005 days

#9 posted 02-18-2008 12:33 AM

i agree with tomcat on his posting. i have a lie nielsen and i really like it, but the wenzloff and gramarcy are highly spoken of always. one good thing is there is no waiting for the lie nielsen. i live in ct and get super fast regular delivery from them. i think most woodcraft stores carry them as well.


-- Greg, CT

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 4098 days

#10 posted 02-18-2008 01:49 AM

Thanks for the advise fellas. I split the difference and went with,42884 from Lee Valley. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Scott's profile


63 posts in 4063 days

#11 posted 02-18-2008 03:38 AM


I found an old copy of Fine Woodworking that reviewed the saws. They reccomended the Crown gents saw as the best deal and best saw. It is very reasonablly priced and comes very sharp.

-- Scott, Kentucky ----- "Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry" Mark Twain

View TainoWorks's profile


30 posts in 3987 days

#12 posted 02-20-2008 08:04 AM

betsy, I was in ther same situation and made the same choice, it tunr out great, good luck dovetailing.

-- Artesano

View Alin Dobra's profile

Alin Dobra

351 posts in 4090 days

#13 posted 02-21-2008 05:01 AM


I have the saw you decided to purchase and I do not like it a bit. I prefer the 4 times cheaper dozuky I indicated in my previous post by a mile. The PAX saw is heavy, clunky and has a kerf that is way too large. With a little more money you can get a rally good western dovetail saw. The PAX is clearly not worth the money.


-- -- Alin Dobra, Gainesville, Florida

View skozub's profile


59 posts in 3961 days

#14 posted 02-21-2008 05:11 AM

It’s worth figuring out your preferred style for cutting dovetails – western or eastern.

I’ve tried Japanese saws and I can’t work with them. It’s entirelly a personal prefernece and before investing $$ in a saw I’d figure out which you like better. I personally love the Lie Nielsen saw and just could’t imagine any thing else, but that’s my style…you need to decide on your own.

Good luck!

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 4098 days

#15 posted 02-23-2008 06:52 PM

Got my saw from Lee Valley yesterday. (,42884). Returning it today. It’s very apparent that it is much to heavy for me and the handle is much to big for my hand. I was surprised, even though they tell you the weight, how much it really did weigh. So Alin – you were right!

I’m going to try some of the other recommendations you all have given until I find the right saw for both the job and my small hands.

Thanks again for all the input.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

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