Dovetail cutting saws

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chris watford

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It has been a long time since I have cut dovetails, possibly other than the very odd one here and there some 50 years ago. I still own a couple of my original saws, both blunt and not sure where to get them sharpened locally anymore, my eyesight not up to it now.
What is my best way forward please, thinking the existing saws sharpened, if so where? or go down the Japanese route which I do fancy.
 

Bod

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How well did the old ones work for you?
Good and accurate, get sharpened.
Poor and horrid, try new, Japanese if you fancy.
Be prepared to send away for sharpening, you will get recommendations here if you ask, I'm sure.

Bod
 

chris watford

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How well did the old ones work for you?
Good and accurate, get sharpened.
Poor and horrid, try new, Japanese if you fancy.
Be prepared to send away for sharpening, you will get recommendations here if you ask, I'm sure.

Bod



thanks, I can see where you are coming from. I have commenced cleaning them up and will send to a saw doctor when I locate one.
 

Cabinetman

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I had mine re-done and they were disgustingly blunt about a year ago and I was amazed it was only £6
N S Tooling (01724) 859990 based in Scunthorpe, they do my circular saw Blades and other bits and bobs.
Good reliable firm but no doubt you’ll have to call them to find out about postage. Best of luck Ian
 

Ttrees

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Might be worth considering something like an optivisor.
There are differing strengths, not sure if you can swap the glasses/buy them separately

Maybe someone supplies something similar here, or even if a European distributor like Axi tools in UK or if Dick tools in Germany sell's em, or maybe Walsh jewelry supplies UK,
or even see if there are knockoff's as these have been around a long time.

Rob Cosman wears them occasionally should you want to see them being used for some saw sharpening.




Amazon.com: Donegan DA-2 OptiVISOR Headband Magnifier, 1.5X Magnification  Glass Lens Plate, 20 Focal Length : Health & Household

Product
 

D_W

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It has been a long time since I have cut dovetails, possibly other than the very odd one here and there some 50 years ago. I still own a couple of my original saws, both blunt and not sure where to get them sharpened locally anymore, my eyesight not up to it now.
What is my best way forward please, thinking the existing saws sharpened, if so where? or go down the Japanese route which I do fancy.

Any saw that's used will need to be resharpened. Even the japanese hard tooth saws will dull fairly quickly (you can persist in using them as they're dulling and pretend it's not happening or not notice it, but they get to doubling strokes or pressure needed to cut if they're used with hardwoods or softwoods with hard rings). Personally, I'd sharpen them literally by just running the file on the teeth as they are, one stroke at a time, until there's no rounded shiny bits on the tip of the teeth. As little as possible.

But if you don't want to do that, finding a shop that actually has equipment (rather than someone who would want some absurd amount to touch up the teeth by hand) is what I'd do.

The hobby has gotten a bit prissy, especially in the states, with people willing to shout loudly that someone in a saw shop will ruin your saw and you should send it to ____(The person varies) to have said saw cleaned up and sharpened for $70 of total costs with shipping back and forth. It's very odd.
 

Mike.R

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If you haven't used Japanese saws for dovetailing before, I would recommend them.

The concept of cutting on the pull which keeps the (thin) blade in tension is a revelation.

Workshop Heaven sell a 240mm Dozuki saw which would be a good introduction.

 

Jacob

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It has been a long time since I have cut dovetails, possibly other than the very odd one here and there some 50 years ago. I still own a couple of my original saws, both blunt and not sure where to get them sharpened locally anymore, my eyesight not up to it now.
What is my best way forward please, thinking the existing saws sharpened, if so where? or go down the Japanese route which I do fancy.
Even with good eyesight you can hardly see the teeth smaller than say 14 tpi. The critical thing is to file every other one from one side and then turn it and do the others. Black felt tip first, bright light and you may be able to see where you've been. Just straight across like a ripsaw, say; two pushes, no setting required (just about impossible anyway) and do it by feel and repeating the same filing motion and pressure. The file leaves enough set. The whole point of a DT saw is minimal set so it will stay on line but still cut OK. Don't bother with "topping" "jointing" etc a bit of irregularity is no prob within reason, and that sort of saw doctoring is another process separate from sharpening
 
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D_W

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If you haven't used Japanese saws for dovetailing before, I would recommend them.

The concept of cutting on the pull which keeps the (thin) blade in tension is a revelation.

Workshop Heaven sell a 240mm Dozuki saw which would be a good introduction.


The markup on the blades in the west (the US is no different) is incredible!!

I bought a lot of brand new (as in a lot of 24) [email protected] crosscut blades last year for somewhere around $5.50 each in total. The individually listed blades in a wrapper were around $9 including free shipping inside japan (so it wasn't like I got a huge discount for buying in quantity). Rather, I bought a huge bunch of them because I had to pay a proxy shipper to send the blades from japan (so a $15 pair of blades or something makes little sense - it'll be $30 before you get it to your door and that's some saving, but not much).

In case that turns out to sound like hooey, I didn't have much trouble finding my package info and a link to the lot:
Auction for Z 265 crosscut blades

Nobody does "group buy", and I'd hate to coordinate such a thing, but it could be done pretty easily. It's easier to just buy a bunch and trade them around.

Another link...crosscut saws
At the same time, wanting to get past impulse hardened saws and get something that could be resharpened more than twice....$20 for 12 saws, what's to lose. They turn out to be marked distal tapered full hardness stiff saws that cut as fast or faster than impulse hardened saws. And more smoothly.

(I don't think this all lies at the retailers feet - I think the distribution channels that come from japan to the west feel very entitled - just a guess).
 
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JSW

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Even with good eyesight you can hardly see the teeth smaller than say 14 tpi. The critical thing is to file every other one from one side and then turn it and do the others. Black felt tip first, bright light and you may be able to see where you've been. Just straight across like a ripsaw, say; two pushes, no setting required (just about impossible anyway) and do it by feel and repeating the same filing motion and pressure. The file leaves enough set. The whole point of a DT saw is minimal set so it will stay on line but still cut OK. Don't bother with "topping" "jointing" etc a bit of irregularity is no prob within reason, and that sort of saw doctoring is another process separate from sharpening

I haven't hand sharpened a saw in, must be 30 years? But I have a lovely old Tyzack tenon saw I'd like to spruce up, could be around the 14 tpi mark, could you recommend a sawfile?

I can well recall the process, seems to be one of those things that once done a few times, sticks forever. Used to be the last job on a Friday afternoon, half hour sharpening session, along with the chisels, plane blades etc.
 

Jacob

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I've got
I haven't hand sharpened a saw in, must be 30 years? But I have a lovely old Tyzack tenon saw I'd like to spruce up, could be around the 14 tpi mark, could you recommend a sawfile?

I can well recall the process, seems to be one of those things that once done a few times, sticks forever. Used to be the last job on a Friday afternoon, half hour sharpening session, along with the chisels, plane blades etc.
Just a 6" triangular file as far as I know. Not sure about specifications - I tend to just pick one up and do it, for better or worse!
I'll have a look in my box tomorrow, see if I can found out what I've been using.
 

JSW

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Just a 6" triangular file as far as I know. Not sure about specifications - I tend to just pick one up and do it, for better or worse!
I'll have a look in my box tomorrow, see if I can found out what I've been using.

Yep, recall them well, double ended triangular shaped. Damned if I can remember who made them though, red handled, lasted ages, gah! memory ain't what it used to be
 

D_W

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I haven't hand sharpened a saw in, must be 30 years? But I have a lovely old Tyzack tenon saw I'd like to spruce up, could be around the 14 tpi mark, could you recommend a sawfile?

I can well recall the process, seems to be one of those things that once done a few times, sticks forever. Used to be the last job on a Friday afternoon, half hour sharpening session, along with the chisels, plane blades etc.

you can buy a 5xx slim from nicholson (they're about $3 each now). Bahco's files are super good, but they have a fairly round corner and they have part numbers for XX slim files and none that I've ever seen retailed. The fact that their files have a rounded corner and aren't available in XX makes them a bad candidate for small teeth - especially around 14 or a little finer.

The nicholson files are made in mex now, but you're sharpening a later saw and not cutting five sets of teeth in one, and could probably get five sharpenings out of a single $3 nicholson 5xx slim. The bad reputation for the mex nicholson was at the transition from the US to mexico when cooper sent their goods there, and now the files are probably about as good as the late american files, maybe minus 10%, but ...well, at least here, you can find ebay listings with new nicholson 5xx slim files for $3 each including shipping in packs of 5 or 6. That's more than 10% cheaper than they'd be if they were still domestic.

I do like bahco's the best, but they just don't make what you need until you're looking at needle files, and needle files for nearing $20 are really a waste of money for sharpening saws.
 

JSW

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The one I have was made by Bahco
you can buy a 5xx slim from nicholson (they're about $3 each now). Bahco's files are super good, but they have a fairly round corner and they have part numbers for XX slim files and none that I've ever seen retailed. The fact that their files have a rounded corner and aren't available in XX makes them a bad candidate for small teeth - especially around 14 or a little finer.

The nicholson files are made in mex now, but you're sharpening a later saw and not cutting five sets of teeth in one, and could probably get five sharpenings out of a single $3 nicholson 5xx slim. The bad reputation for the mex nicholson was at the transition from the US to mexico when cooper sent their goods there, and now the files are probably about as good as the late american files, maybe minus 10%, but ...well, at least here, you can find ebay listings with new nicholson 5xx slim files for $3 each including shipping in packs of 5 or 6. That's more than 10% cheaper than they'd be if they were still domestic.

I do like bahco's the best, but they just don't make what you need until you're looking at needle files, and needle files for nearing $20 are really a waste of money for sharpening saws.

Thank you both for the info, I had a feeling mine used to be Bahco's, but reckoned the co. came much much later than it actually did (1886 apparently!)

@D_W I seem to recall trying to use the Bahco file on my Tyzack, but as you say, the rounded corners make it a non-starter.
BTW I'd assume that at some point you've owned the Sandvik/Bahco "fish" brand chisels, would be interested to hear your thoughts on those, I have a couple, and really like them, hold a good edge, and incredibly comfortable to use.

Sorry for going a little off-topic there!
 

TRITON

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If you haven't used Japanese saws for dovetailing before, I would recommend them.
+1 Fan here. I like their very narrow kerf, the action from pulling instead of pushing in that it never catches, which is something I found after buying a reasonably quality western dovetail saw. From it I pretty much take that at the cut without looking to pare down.
 

D_W

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eem to recall trying to use the Bahco file on my Tyzack, but as you say, the rounded corners make it a non-starter.
BTW I'd assume that at some point you've owned the Sandvik/Bahco "fish" brand chisels, would be interested to hear your thoughts on those, I have a couple, and really like them, hold a good edge, and incredibly comfortable to use.

Sorry for going a little off-topic there!

There are some chisels that I've had that I've forgotten, but I've definitely had bergs, and I had a set of bahco chisels at one point and cannot for the life of me remember anything about them (shameful to say it, but I'd bet I sold at least 100 chisels that I never used because I didn't want to commit to making them "used" even though they were all old NOS stuff).

That said, you've pretty much nailed all there is to chisels - they work well, they're comfortable (and I'm sure coming from eskilstuna, the steel isn't gummy or difficult to get sharp. It takes somewhere around 0.8% steel to start to get a good crisp edge that's strong instead of just tough (can be bent over without breaking), and then the will to use the potential and harden it to the sweet spot. So, unfortunately, I don't have the recollection - bahco just isn't marketed for chisels over here - just some saws and LOTS of metal frame saw blades. The only place I've ever gotten bahco files in volume is drop shipped from williams/snap on (for the longest time, nicholson dominated just about every on-the-ground source after the other brands (heller, simonds, etc) faded.
 

billgiles

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By coincidence I was just watching this which is very useful as I have just bought a little, very cheap, saw from a flea market.
 
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