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Need a dovetail saw

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Forum topic by Ben posted 595 days ago 1135 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ben

203 posts in 1491 days


595 days ago

I’ve just started hand cutting a kitchen’s worth of drawer boxes (19 in the lowers) and I think I need a faster cutting saw.

I had bought a $25 8” dovetail saw at my local shop but it had a nasty, aggressive cut that left the edges looking really bad. I am borrowing my brother’s “Luthier” saw that looks exactly the same. This makes a very thin, very clean and precise cut, but takes a long time to go through end grain. With 17 boxes left I’d appreciate any way to speed up the process a bit.

I’ve seen a few videos of guys buzzing down the end grain in about 3 seconds.

Can you guys recommend a saw in the “less than $50 range?”

Thanks.


15 replies so far

View Alexandre's profile

Alexandre

1417 posts in 825 days


#1 posted 595 days ago

In my opinion, a Dozuki (japenese crosscutting saw) would be the best, but since it cuts on the pull stroke, you have to get used to it…
http://www.japanwoodworker.com/product.asp?s=JapanWoodworker&pf_id=19.210.0&dept_id=13085
^^ I’d probably get that, but its $59..

-- My terrible signature...

View JesseTutt's profile

JesseTutt

803 posts in 744 days


#2 posted 595 days ago

I second Alexandre’s suggestion of a Japanese saw.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

936 posts in 2027 days


#3 posted 595 days ago

Lee valley has a Gyocucho dozuki in that range…...

-- Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain" Frank Lloyd Wright

View BTimmons's profile

BTimmons

2117 posts in 1119 days


#4 posted 595 days ago

I found a dozuki at Rockler made for dovetails and other detail work, around the $50 price point. You want something that cuts well? This thing’s like a dang lightsaber. Very aggressive bite starting the cut, but easy to control.

Like everyone mentioned, Japanese saws cut on the pull stroke, which might be weird if you’re not used to it. For me, I find that arrangement much easier to control.

-- Brian Timmons - http://www.BigTWoodworks.com

View Ross's profile

Ross

110 posts in 606 days


#5 posted 595 days ago

I would spend the extra $18.00 and by the Veritas dovetail saw. http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=64007&cat=1,42884,64007
I have the set and love them.

-- "Man Plans and God Laughs"

View TheBronzeoakleaf's profile

TheBronzeoakleaf

19 posts in 597 days


#6 posted 595 days ago

I’m with Ross, you can’t beat Veritas for quality vs. price. You get what you pay for, and a $50 saw will be worth just that. And cutting on the pull stroke is just weird.

-- Sam

View John's profile

John

45 posts in 707 days


#7 posted 595 days ago

In my experience, trying to go fast with a fine dozuki means you start bending and breaking off the teeth. They’re long and thin and they want to do things at the pace they want to do them… Besides, dovetails are mostly a ripping operation, so if you want to go eastern, get a fine double-sided ryoba. I have a relatively inexpensive one I got at Home Depot several years ago that I really like. I want to say it’s a Vaughan, but I’m too lazy to run to the basement and check right now. Anyway, they don’t carry it any more.

I also own the Veritas DT saw recommended above, and I’d say go for that, especially because western style is what you’re used to. Another option might be to tame the ragged-cutting saw you already have. I’m far from a sharpening expert, but I have done it a few times and it’s not hard. The files are cheap and likely available at your local hardware store, surprisingly. You can clamp the blade in a regular vise between a couple of 1×3’s – put a thin wood strip at the bottom so the sandwich pinches tighter at the top right at the teeth. It might be that a light stoning on the side to reduce the set (and unevenness of set) might get that saw to cut like you want.

You’ll be cutting like a pro by the time you finish all those drawers!

View Kreegan's profile

Kreegan

1452 posts in 780 days


#8 posted 595 days ago

Have you looked at dovetail saws on ebay? You’ll have to do some work on that, but that should be an option. Another possibility is the Crown gent’s saw that they sell at Woodcraft for around 25-30 bucks. I personally don’t like gent’s saws too much and am working on making a new pistol type handle for mine, but the saw itself cuts dovetails quite well. A third possibility is to get a Zona razor saw, which also has a gent’s saw type handle. They cut incredibly cleanly and are dirt cheap.

I have the aforementioned Veritas dovetail saw, and it’s well worth the 65-70 bucks that Lee Valley charges. Go for the 14 PPI version, not the 22. That one only seems to work well in stock under 1/2”.

View gawthrrw's profile

gawthrrw

187 posts in 1081 days


#9 posted 595 days ago

I agree with the Veritas saw. I agonized for months and finally bought this saw due to it being in my budget. In my opinion its not the prettiest saw out there but probably works just as well. Its great right out of the box and tracked a straight line perfect.

-- Rob, Dallas TX

View Loren's profile

Loren

7443 posts in 2281 days


#10 posted 595 days ago

I use a bowsaw I made out of hardwood scraps
using a 22” butcher saw blade with most of
the set stoned off the sides and refiled
for ripping.

Dozukis make a nice cut but slow for ripping
dovetails. The bowsaw cuts faster and tracks
perfectly in the kerf. There are other benefits
one grows to understand in use.

There are dozukis available with rip teeth.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Ben's profile

Ben

203 posts in 1491 days


#11 posted 594 days ago

Thanks for all the feedback.
Actually I have no experience with Western style push saws. I’ve only ever used a Japanese pull saw with crosscut teeth on one edge and rip on the other.

The Luthier saw I’m using I can’t even tell which direction it cuts in it’s so fine. It’s working out great for my dovetails but I’d guess it takes about 20 strokes to cut down a 5/8” thick tail side.

I just wish pull saws were available with the pistol grip handle. This straight handle is killing my hand.

I just remembered the saw I bought and returned was a Two Cherries brand, also a straight handle.
Horrible cut, not even close to tolerance. And I don’t know how to sharpen saws and would rather have one working right out of the box.

I think I’ll either get one of the LV saws or find something on eBay.

Thanks!

View Ross's profile

Ross

110 posts in 606 days


#12 posted 594 days ago

Good choice on the LV veritas saw. Very comfortable to use. Tracks a straight line right out of the box.
For years I used a Gent saw to cut dovetails. My wife bought me the veritas saws for Christmas last year and I have to say the difference in comfort was huge. No more sore wrist after making multiple cuts.
The gent saw remains hanging on the wall. Can’t get rid of it because I inherited it from my Dad.

-- "Man Plans and God Laughs"

View Kreegan's profile

Kreegan

1452 posts in 780 days


#13 posted 594 days ago

Ahh, if you’re used to pull saws, you might want to check out this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Shark-10-2410-Fine-Cut-19-Point-Finish/dp/B00004TBQ2/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1358002475&sr=8-4&keywords=shark+saw

It’s a pull saw with a reinforced back and a pistol grip. I have the Shark general carpenter’s saw and love it.

View Alexandre's profile

Alexandre

1417 posts in 825 days


#14 posted 594 days ago

John, If your dozuki teeth start breaking off, i’d guess it was bad quality… I’ve never had a dozuki break teeth off.

-- My terrible signature...

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1276 posts in 1632 days


#15 posted 594 days ago

I really like Zona razor saws. http://www.zonatool.net/razor-saws.html

Inexpensive, sharp, cut fast.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

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