Saws: can anyone tell me what this saw is? And what I should get?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by startingfromscratch posted 01-02-2013 01:45 AM 1464 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View startingfromscratch's profile


69 posts in 3189 days

01-02-2013 01:45 AM

I am going to buy saws for dovetails and mortise/tenon joinery. I am looking at the Veritas molded-spine dovetail 14 tpi saw (,42884,68511&ap=1) and am wondering what people use to cut tenons by hand?

I was also handed the back saw below…can anyone tell me what it is? The blade is 16 inches long and as near as I can tell it’s 10 tpi and filed cross-cut. I’m just trying to figure out if I have something already that I can use to cut tenons (if I were to get this sharpened). Otherwise, should I be looking one of the Veritas molded-spine carcass saws (,42884,68511&ap=1)? Or could I get away with the set of three dovetail saws that includes a 16 tpi small cross cut saw?

Any help for the clearly saw-confused would be appreciated!

8 replies so far

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3356 days

#1 posted 01-02-2013 03:26 AM

Personally, I don’t think you can go wrong with the 3 saws from Lee Valley, especially if you order by the 7th to get free shipping. They are well made and will be ready to go to work as soon as you take them out of the box. I assume you’re talking about a dovetail saw, a rip and a crosscut. If so, those will probably be all you’ll need to cut tenons or dovetails. The saw you posted doesn’t look to me to be anything special. It might be a good saw to keep around so you can practice sharpening.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1169 posts in 2527 days

#2 posted 01-02-2013 04:32 AM

The LV saws are good ones, but the only thing I’d think about before pulling the trigger is the length of tenons you may want to cut. The LV dovetail/xcut saws only have 1 9/16” depth of cut and the carcase saws are 2 3/8” deep. If you ever want to cut tenons longer that that, you’d need a different saw. The 1 9/16 depth would probably be OK for cabinet door and maybe chair joinery, but not for larger pieces.

As sikrap says, get the saw you have cleaned up and sharpened. For tenons, 12 ppi or so, filed rip. It looks like about 3 1/2 depth, and might work just fine for you as a larger tenon saw. In which case you may want to go for a small tenon saw for smaller joinery. And if it doesn’t work like you want it, you’re only out the cost of a sharpening (or not at all if you do it yourself) and you have yourself a spare saw.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3547 posts in 2248 days

#3 posted 01-02-2013 03:33 PM

I can’t help with the ID of your back saw, but if you post it here (, there are experts who can help with that. If you include a close up of the medallion and any etchings, stamps or engravings on the saw, that would help with proper identification.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View startingfromscratch's profile


69 posts in 3189 days

#4 posted 01-02-2013 04:03 PM

@sikrap, the three lee valley saws are a 14 tpi dovetail, a 20 tpi dovetail and a 16 tpi crosscut.

I am actually leaning toward getting the 14tpi dovetail to start working on dovetails and one of the carcass saws to use as a tenon saw.

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3356 days

#5 posted 01-02-2013 05:20 PM

My apologies. I thought you were referring to the “package” that LV offers for the rip/crosscut and the dovetail saw.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View Loren's profile (online now)


10383 posts in 3645 days

#6 posted 01-02-2013 05:28 PM

I use a bow saw with rip teeth to cut tenons and dovetails.

The saw frame is easy to make yourself. The blade is a
22” bone saw blade I got at a hardware store and
stoned the sides to remove most of the set and filed
the teeth a bit to make them more aggressive for
ripping. Results with the tool in skilled hands are
very accurate and the work goes quickly.

View bandit571's profile


19982 posts in 2680 days

#7 posted 01-02-2013 07:59 PM

Clean that saw up! Get it sharpened back up. Get a little finish on the tote.

Too many times here, when someone asks a question about a tool, the first thing they hear is “Throw away that old junk, and go out and spend 200 to 300 dollars on asingle tool.

Ok, rant over. I have picked up a number of saws over the years, usually none a thing wrong with them that a little TLC (spelled WORK) wouldn’t cure. Unless the plate is a pitted, bent up, broken tooth mess, most can be made to work just as fine as when new.

Spent $2 per saw….....

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View MrDan's profile


205 posts in 3284 days

#8 posted 01-02-2013 10:13 PM

I would go for the veritas saws if you just want to get started right away with woodworking. They are excellent saws, very well made and will last a lifetime—and by far the most affordable NEW backsaws on the market.

However, if you don’t want to spend that much money and you have some time on your hands I’d hunt around for an old Disston (or something like it at flea markets or ebay) and then learn saw rehab. Jointing, filing/sharpening and setting the teeth… you might have to restore the handle a bit too depending on what you find… All lots of fun IF you have the time and aren’t looking to jump right into cutting wood.

The saw you have is a bit large for dovetailing (almost 2x as long as most dovetail saws) but it can definitely still work. That is assuming the blade isn’t too badly pitted with rust. Ideally though I would use it for carcase work or as a tenon saw once it’s brought back to life and sharpened.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics