Dovetailing Saw

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Forum topic by Rob186 posted 10-23-2012 10:29 PM 2705 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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23 posts in 2332 days

10-23-2012 10:29 PM

I am looking to get a dovetail saw and like the wenzloff saws they make a 11” saw with 14 ppi thatis filed rip they are calling a carcass saw is their a big difference in this saw and their dovetail saw I know that most dovetail saws are 9-10” but I am thinking that I could use this to cut other joinery as well and I am definetly going to get this saw files cross cut but need some advise about a rip saw

6 replies so far

View MikeInNOVA's profile


13 posts in 2300 days

#1 posted 10-24-2012 01:59 AM

Dovetailing is a rip cut, so if you are buying a dovetail saw to actually cut dovetails, get one filed rip.

Unless you are building a Roubo, you will probably be cutting 1/2 or 3/4 material 99% of the time, which is why dovetail saws typically are 9 or 10 inches with less than 2” of blade under the back. Lie-Nielsen makes a nice one (I have one and like it) and Veritas makes a very inexpensive one. I’ve never handled a Veritas, but perhaps some others here can comment on their quality. I have a number of other Veritas products and have never been disappointed. If you want a real quality saw, get a Bad Axe. Not cheap, but then neither is a Ferrari. I just got two Bad Axe saws, a sash and a tenon, and am delighted so far. One of Mark’s dovetail saws is on my Christmas wish list.

View BubbaIBA's profile


387 posts in 2375 days

#2 posted 10-24-2012 04:16 AM


Saw size within reason is a non-issue. Filed rip is important, sharp and proper set with a tote that fits your hand is also important but just like all my wives have told me, size not so much. I have a beautiful little 8” Adria dovetail saw that’s very sharp and cuts a clean kerf. Ninety percent of the time I will pick up one of my bigger saws, a 12” or even a 14” backsaw, to cut a set of dovetails, they are just easier for me to use. I would guess if I were making very small, delicate, boxes the smaller saw would be used more.

I have a set of the Veritas saws, ugly as a pair of granny drawers but about the best value in a very good saw you will find, a touch too much set out of the box but that’s true of most new saws and easy to fix. For the price of one Bad Axe saw you can have a near full set of rip, crosscut, and dovetail saws. BTW, I own Bad Axe saws but I admit I’m a sucker for beauty and the feel of a really well made tool.

I’ve never used a Wenzloff saw, but they look like a very nice saw and I wouldn’t hesitate a minute over buying their carcass saw filed rip for use as a dovetail saw.

View BrownDog's profile


9 posts in 2274 days

#3 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

View Rob186's profile


23 posts in 2332 days

#4 posted 10-24-2012 04:21 PM

Thanks for the advise I think I am going to get he carass saws filed rip and cross cut when I get them I’ll take some picks

View waho6o9's profile


8190 posts in 2575 days

#5 posted 10-24-2012 04:30 PM

Good call on the Two Lawyers Saw Browndog.
I would like to have them as well. Functional works of art.

View Rob186's profile


23 posts in 2332 days

#6 posted 10-24-2012 08:09 PM

Yea I couldn’t use that to cut wood that would have to go in a display case

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