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Talk to me about dovetail saws

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Forum topic by lumberjoe posted 606 days ago 1031 views 1 time favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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lumberjoe

2829 posts in 850 days


606 days ago

Believe it or not, I started making hand cut dovetails to quit smoking a while back. Whenever I had a huge urge for a cigarette, I would go cut a dovetail. Since the urges stopped, I still cut a dovetail before I start working on anything (and while the glue pot comes up to temp). I have probably cut over 200 dovetails in the past few months. I am by no means an expert, but I am at the point where I feel I am running into tool limitations vs muscle memory limitations. I have tried the Japanese style saws and don’t like them. It feels awkward to me. I have a cheap ($22.00) Crown dovetail saw that I resharpened based on a video by Rob Cosman. It’s OK, but it dulls quickly, and it REALLY lets you know when it’s time to sharpen.

I want something a lot better. I have yet to use dovetails in anything but scrap, but some upcoming projects I have in mind (a chessboard/box and a desk with drawers) will require that I cut some. I’m not opposed to spending a decent amount of money on a Crosman saw, but experience has taught me that expensive isn’t always the best.

I’d like to hear some opinions of other saws – specifically the Lie-Nielsen’s (progressive pitch, standard, or thin plate) and the Veritas offerings.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts


22 replies so far

View Mosquito's profile

Mosquito

4508 posts in 894 days


#1 posted 606 days ago

I’ve got a LN progressive pitch. It seems to work well for me, but in harder woods, I almost want a higher TPI than what it gets to. I’ve been pretty happy with the weight, and the feel of the tote. I haven’t tried any Veritas dovetail saws, and I’ve got a gents saw that I tried a couple times, but I didn’t like that. Much prefer an actual tote.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN -- Stanley #45 Evangelist - www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1113 posts in 2472 days


#2 posted 606 days ago

I have a LN, some Veritas, both are excellent,,, but check out Adria http://www.adriatools.com/

its a sweet heart.

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4287 posts in 1650 days


#3 posted 606 days ago

Veritas dovetail saw are excellent and not very expensive. This would be my choice
http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=64007&cat=1,42884,64007

-- Bert

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lumberjoe

2829 posts in 850 days


#4 posted 606 days ago

Charles, that Adria saw looks nice. Have you ever used one? It is in the same ballpark as the L-N saws and about 110$ cheaper than the Cosman’s.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1113 posts in 2472 days


#5 posted 606 days ago

oh yes I have , its my go to saw, the kerf , the cut quality, the speed, I love it, not to put the others down, just saying , my .02

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1648 posts in 1095 days


#6 posted 606 days ago

I just bought one of the Veritas saws that Bert linked. I’m not a handcut DY guy, but damn! this thing feels sweet just holding it.

-- I long for the days when Coke was a cola, and a joint was a bad place to be (Merle Haggard)

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Kreegan

1452 posts in 748 days


#7 posted 606 days ago

I have both the Veritas dovetail saws (16 PPI and 22 PPI) and like them a lot. They have a really good feel in the hand and cut very well. They can be a bit hard to get started though. I have used an Adria saw at a demo and very much liked that. I don’t think you could go wrong with either.

Rich;)

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Mosquito

4508 posts in 894 days


#8 posted 606 days ago

If you’d be looking at a saw in the price range of the Cosman, I’d also suggest you to take a look at Bad Axe saws: http://www.badaxetoolworks.com/10-inch-dovetail-back-saw.html
Don’t be in a hurry, though, as I believe their lead time is in the range of months… But from what I’ve been reading on their saws, they’re quite exceptional in quality.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN -- Stanley #45 Evangelist - www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1717 days


#9 posted 606 days ago

I agree with you that Japanese pullsaws is akward to use if you
are grown up with western pushsaws …... but do have in mind that Japanese
saws ain´t made to be used at a woodworkingbench you can do it … but ….
a japanese saw is made to be used nearly at floor level with a twohandgrip

basicly you can use any saw type to cut dovetails
it doesn´t matter if its a fretsaw,panelsaw, backsaw or framesaw
its just a matter of geting the tool you have to work for you :-)

Dennis

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b2rtch

4287 posts in 1650 days


#10 posted 606 days ago

Lumberjoe, I do not mean to hijack your forum but I think that this a question that other might have.
What’s the difference between a dovetail saw and a tenon saw?
Is is just the size?

-- Bert

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lumberjoe

2829 posts in 850 days


#11 posted 606 days ago

I’m not a saw expert, but one thing that strikes me right off the bat is a tenon saw is a cross cut saw. A cross cut saw would be terrible for dovetails because it leaves too wide of a kerf and you can get some major drifting going on. You can adjust the set, but then you don’t have an effective cross cut saw anymore.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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b2rtch

4287 posts in 1650 days


#12 posted 606 days ago

Are you sure that the set is always larger on a cross cut saw?
It seems to me that this is a choice and that rip would need a larger set as more wood is removed and the chips are larger. Am I wrong?

-- Bert

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lumberjoe

2829 posts in 850 days


#13 posted 606 days ago

No, I am not sure. That has been my experience.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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lumberjoe

2829 posts in 850 days


#14 posted 606 days ago

I think I am going to give the Adria saw a shot. It’s 15TPI, I thought I would want a little more as the crown I have is 18 I believe, but it could be ok. He also has a 1 year unconditional guarantee so if I don’t like it I can send it back. That is almost unheard of.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View Mosquito's profile

Mosquito

4508 posts in 894 days


#15 posted 606 days ago

I’m not an expert either, but I believe the set mainly effects the kerf. It’s the way the teeth are sharpened that is what makes it rip vs cross cut. Not all tenon saws are cross cut, or don’t have to be, I should say. You could file a tenon saw for rip, for only cutting the cheeks of the tenon more effectively.

I think the main difference is the depth of cut, weight, and size. Chances are you won’t be making 2” deep dovetails, so a shallower cut is perfectly fine. As such, you also likely won’t be cutting dovetails in 2” thick stock very often either, so it won’t need to be that long to make an efficient long stroke.

Again, not an expert, that’s just what I’ve gathered from readings thus far.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN -- Stanley #45 Evangelist - www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods

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