Dovetail saw

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Forum topic by Belg1960 posted 09-09-2011 02:13 AM 1807 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1062 posts in 3032 days

09-09-2011 02:13 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi folks, I want to get a dovetail saw to get started trying to make hand cut dovetails and can in no way afford the huge dollar ones out there. I’m a firm believer in buy it good once but at those prices I have to make an exception. I found this one on Ebay it looks like a good old saw and for the money I don’t think I can go wrong. What do you guys think? Also what will a saw like this cost to get sharpened?

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

8 replies so far

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2469 days

#1 posted 09-09-2011 02:45 AM

It looks okay to me. It is certainly not new, and that is probably quite a good indicator of quality. Interestingly, the company that made it is still in business, though these days they are gold and silver smiths.

The description of the item says all teeth present – have a look at the second picture beneath the “N” in “WARRANTED”, it looks to me as though one tooth is missing. That may not be a big deal, but it may be worth getting it sharpened if it is really not there.

As you say, the price is good, but the postage is for within the UK so check what it will cost you.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View Brit's profile


7369 posts in 2810 days

#2 posted 09-09-2011 03:07 AM

I just enlarged the pictures to 400%. The teeth are in a pretty bad way at the moment. That’s not a huge deal if you have the skill and the tools to joint the saw, cut new teeth and sharpen and set them. However, if you were to send this saw out to get the work carried out, it would not be particularly cheap. In my opinion, when you add up the price of the saw (whatever that might get up to), plus the postage to your location, plus the work to bring it up to scatch, you would be better off spending your money buying a new Standard Veritas dovetail saw for $65.

Don’t get me wrong, I love old saws and love restoring them, but if your main goal here is to get yourself an accurate dovetail saw that will last for years, the Veritas is hard to beat.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View ChuckM's profile


606 posts in 3634 days

#3 posted 09-09-2011 03:28 AM

I second Andy’s recommendation. I have the Veritas set of dovetail saws. They cut well. You can’t find a better deal for that kind of price range. I’d suggest that you get the 14 tpi first and try it out. If you cut mostly thinner stocks, go for the 20 tpi. You won’t outgrow them as you develop your sawing skill.

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

View Belg1960's profile


1062 posts in 3032 days

#4 posted 09-09-2011 03:53 AM

Hey guys thanks alot for the quick and smart responses. I did not see the missing tooth at all. Ok, couple follow up questions, the material I plan on working with is 5/8” for the drawer sides and 3/4” fronts, I think the 14 teeth per inch version makes the best sense?? I have some really big hands as I’m 6’7” do you think there will be any problem getting my hand to fit comfortably? Also do you use a layout device to mark your dovetails and which one or did you make something yourselves?

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View Bigrock's profile


292 posts in 2930 days

#5 posted 09-09-2011 04:17 AM

A old Friend a few years ago advised me to never buy a saw that was used. The reason he said was you don’t know how it was cared for or who may have tried to sharpen it.
Now there several very good makers of saws. If it were me I would save a little more money and Buy new.
Also for me I would be buying a Lie-Nelson, Lee Valley, or Bad Axe Tool Works and Know what I need. The saw will be sharp.
Good Luck

View Brit's profile


7369 posts in 2810 days

#6 posted 09-09-2011 04:19 AM

Yes you definitely want the 14 tpi saw. Veritas call it the Standard dovetail saw.

Your hand will fit comfortably too. In fact once again, I think the Veritas saw handle is better suited to big hands than any of the other premium brand saws on the market today.

For laying out dovetails, I would recommend a wheel marking gauge for your base lines. The best one in my opinion is the one made by Glenn Drake Toolworks, which you can get from any number of retailers, including Lie Nielsen. It has been copied often, but never bettered. It isn’t the cheapest, but you definitely won’t regret buying it and it will last you a lifetime. You will also need a dovetail gauge. You can buy one from Veritas (1:6 and 1:8 ratios) at the same time you order your saw (cheaper postage), or you can buy one from Lie Nielsen (1:7 and 1:6 ratios). I prefer a 1:7 ratio for hardwood. To be honest though, if you want to save a bit of money, you can easily make one yourself out of hardwood or Aluminium angle which you can cut on a mitre saw if you have one.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2965 days

#7 posted 09-10-2011 02:25 AM

While you are deciding on one, you could always pick up one of the little Zona razor saws. They are quite inexpensive. I paid around $5 to $8 for mine (Several sizes). I have had no reason to upgrade from that myself.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3763 days

#8 posted 09-10-2011 03:45 AM

I’ve got a Disston D4 that I all but went on a quest to find at a price I could afford, but if I had it to do all over again, I’d probably just get the Veritas dovetail saw. They weren’t out yet when I got my Disston, which is the only reason I don’t already have one. For the price, you’ll get a saw that’s good to go and seems to do a really good job.

Now, if you want a saw that looks traditional, you’re going to have to look elsewhere. If you’re just worried about it cutting well, go with the Veritas. Just my opinion ;)

-- "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!

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