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What dovetail saw

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stewart

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Hi all
i've just got in from my fourth woodwork class - what great fun it is! We were working on dovetails tonight as the joint for making a CD rack. The saws at the college are blunt (enough to ride bare-pineappled on to London, as my mother would say).
I'd like to invest in my own saw that would give better results than the college ones. I'm interested in the Japanese saws as I've heard they give very good results. What would anyone recommend?
Itching to order a new tool,
Stewart
 

thomaskennedy

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Hi Stewart, my college is pretty much the same :roll:

Anywho, i bought this one and what an amazing saw, it gives a really clean thin cut, they're sharp as a razor aswell, and to be honest, at just over a tenner when its blunt get a new one :D

I used it to cut some practise dovetails last week, and they came out near enough perfect :D

Hope this helps :)

Ta, Tom
 
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Anonymous

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Stewart

I love japanese saws and use them a lot. However, I find a decent quality English type back saw is much better and easier to use for dovetail work

For the Houndstooth tutorial on the How-To menu at top of the page, I used a Lie Nielsen Dovetail saw, however, cheaper saws such as the Pax range are great.
 

stewart

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thanks for the replies
the pax saws look lovely but don't have the readies at the moment so i have gone for the japanese one from axminster - hope it arrives before the weekend!
optimistically,
stewart
 

wizer

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coincidently I have decided to cut dovetails by hand this year at my woodworking class. Hoping to make my first test cuts tonight [-o<
 

devonwoody

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I'm going back to the bandsaw for cutting tails when doing dovetails.
My Japanese saw started life as the best but the blade is now dying on me also noticed a kink forming. Admit at the price it is a chuck away tool.
 

Sgian Dubh

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Stewart, coincidentally I've just introduced a group of learners to dovetailing and cutting mortice and tenons by hand.

What I teach is that either the Japanese style of saw or the western style of backed saw is right. There's one proviso; the person using it has to be comfortable with the style chosen.

I use western style back saws, some with cross cut tooth patterns and some with rip tooth patterns. I've got quite a few saws for different purposes. I find the Japanese saws very uncomforable to use, but that's just me. However, I can cut joints with as much accuracy and speed as anyone else, probably a lot quicker is the truth of it. Sometimes for fun I'll demonstrate the five minute dovetail just to show it can be done in a box corner with three or four tails, ha, ha.

One thing to look for in all saws is that the blade is straight. Sight down the length of the teeth from the heel end to the toe. If your new Japanese saw is not straight (or develops a kink due to careless use) you'll always find it hard to cut to a line and it should really be rejected.

Japanese saws traditionally were designed for working softwoods and the teeth are brittle which means they tend to break off if used in hardwoods. Some Japanese saw style makers have addressed this issue and others haven't. If your new saw starts shedding teeth rapidly you've got a brand that hasn't dealt with the problem.

One disadvantage of Japanese saws over western saws is the difficulty of getting one back on track if it starts to drift off line. The blades of the smaller saws are very thin and they'll sometimes track strong grain, or if you set off in the wrong line they just don't like you trying to force them back on track. A western style saw can be forced to get back on line quite easily if you know what you're doing. Slainte.
 

stewart

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Thanks for the advice, Sgian. The Japanese saw arrived yesterday and I had my first go today at making some dovetails. I don't think I'll be posting pictures of them on the forum!! Still, practice makes perfect I guess...
Cheers
Stewart
 
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