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Dovetail Saw Quandry

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Mcdemon

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I am a bench joiner/cabinet maker by trade and found my way onto construction and for some years have been in construction management.
Now the kids have grown up and we have moved to a place with space for a workshop I and really enjoying filling my time woodworking again. Particularly making things completely by hand. (Even try not to use my battery drill and re-employ my Yankee where possible!)
This includes a router plane and plough plane and my trusty old Stanley no4 & no5.
As I am doing as much as possible by hand including sizing with my old disston panel saw I would not like to purchase a really good dovetail saw as I have found my old crown tennon saw is barely out of my hand.
I would really like a pistol grip 14/15tpi rip, back saw for my joint making and am a little confused. It seems Veritas are well thought of, although the modern look does not excite an old traditionalist like myself. In my day back saws were made with a brass back! I like the pistol grip feel and wondered if it is worth the extra investment in a more traditional saw lie Nielsen or pax for example?
This is probably going to be my go to saw and have considered a used old saw from eBay but it is many years since I have sharpened my disston never mind anything with teeth that small especially with my failing eyesight!
Experience and advice of others would be very much appreciated.
Many Thanks
 

MikeG.

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Firstly, sharpening you saw, whatever it is, will be a perpetual issue. You've either got to learn to sharpen it yourself, or find a local saw sharpener. For years I sent mine off to be sharpened........it costs peanuts and they do a nice job. Now, however, I do it myself. Secondly, a saw handle is only a piece of wood. It takes about an hour to make a new one. If you don't like the handle you've got, don't fall into the trap of buying an expensive new saw when your current saw, or a cheapie off Ebay, can be every bit as good and with your own custom made handle.
 

deema

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Mike offers good advise. Buy a secondhand saw and convert it into what you want. It doesn’t really matter whether you buy a Dovetail or Tenon saw, the plate thickness for most 12” saws is very very similar. A car boot or auction site saw is very cheap.

Have a look at this thread I wrote a while ago.

hand-saw-restoration-and-re-teething-of-a-99p-saw-t98494.html
 

Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

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Mcdemon, as a hobbiest, the best dovetail saw is the one which makes you smile when you pick it up. You are in it for the pleasure it brings, not the cost savings. If the traditional look of the LN is the one you find attractive, then that is the one to get. It just happens to be a very good dovetail saw and, at the price point, it is actually a bit of a bargain. Some will see it as an extravagance, but there are many custom saws that cost double (or more).

Regards from Perth

Derek
 

lurker

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I was in Lincoln the other week.
There are some junk shops at the top of the hill.
They had 3 or 4 nice brass backed saws with lovely pistol grip handles for well under ten quid each.
I aready have a number so resisted....... But only just as they were so nice!

At that price you can risk making a pigs ear of sharpening one.
Sharpening as rip is easy and with a bit of luck it might not need any set.

Once you have gained confidence you will wonder what all the fuss was about.
 

ED65

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Rip saws are a doddle to sharpen. It's so straightforward that even a first-time sharpener can usually be expected to get a reasonable result from a sharpening effort, especially if they don't need to set the teeth.

Here's one thing about buying new in respect to sharpening that may not be obvious: you save yourself exactly one sharpen!

After X amount of time using a saw the sharpening routine is basically the same whether it started out new or old. And you'll be a lot less nervous taking file to steel with an old one that cost a tenner or less. Over here where prices aren't as good as commonly in the UK I've regularly seen backsaws that were usable or salvageable for under a fiver. That's a pretty substantial saving that could be put to good use elsewhere

So assuming you don't just want the shiny new thing for the joy of having the shiny new thing it's a bit of a no brainer if you ask me.
 

Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

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After X amount of time using a saw the sharpening routine is basically the same whether it started out new or old.
I get (and agree with) your intent, but you are not correct.

One does not resharpen a new saw when it begins to dull, which could take the average hobbiest a couple of years. All one has to do is touch up the teeth, which is a much easier process than jointing, refiling, reshaping and then sharpening and setting the teeth that come with the average eBay special.

I have dovetail saws I purchased new 10 years ago or more that have yet to have more than a touch up.

Regards from Perth

Derek
 

Mcdemon

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Looks like you’ve convinced me. Will have a trip out locally to see what I can pick up and looks like a session watching YouTube is in order.
Many thanks for all your advice really appreciated.
 

Andy Kev.

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After X amount of time using a saw the sharpening routine is basically the same whether it started out new or old.
I get (and agree with) your intent, but you are not correct.

One does not resharpen a new saw when it begins to dull, which could take the average hobbiest a couple of years. All one has to do is touch up the teeth, which is a much easier process than jointing, refiling, reshaping and then sharpening and setting the teeth that come with the average eBay special.

I have dovetail saws I purchased new 10 years ago or more that have yet to have more than a touch up.

Regards from Perth

Derek
I suppose that's fairly obvious now you mention it. Would I be right in presuming that a prerequisite is that you always saw with the full length of the blade so as to avoid it developing a hollow? I ask because I'm slowly psyching myself up to trying to sharpen a saw which has got a bit blunt and was shocked to see an elegant curve when I took a straight edge to the blade.
 

ED65

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All one has to do is touch up the teeth, which is a much easier process than jointing, refiling, reshaping and then sharpening and setting the teeth...
Yes of course.

...that come with the average eBay special.
However I think to be fair saws requiring the complete works aren't the average, they're the worst-case scenario. Condition could be better; if one is choosing to go down this road for the first time you can make sure it's better by restricting yourself to purchasing a saw that's in okay condition. And given the size of the market in the UK finding a saw like this within a reasonable timeframe is not completely beyond reason.
 

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