Hand Tools Archive

Scroll saw blades for dovetail waste

Wiley Horne
David and all,

I doubt many here use Japanese saws for dovetails, but it may be worth a mention for those who do, or are considering it. A dozuki—rip or crosscut—will have a plate thickness of about 12 thousandths (0.012”). So, if you want to saw the dovetail waste (which I do), you’re into the world of scroll saw blades, in order to find a saw with a thin-enough blade to get it down the kerf, but not such a huge number of tpi that it’s impractical for wood.

For example, here is my saw,

Blade thickness is 0.012”, and kerf is a little shy of 0.013”. I use a fretsaw (even though I’ve never sawn a fret, and don’t plan to), with scroll saw blades. Am working through a gross of Olson No. 2 skip-tooth blades. I understand Pegas is a better blade, and their 12-thousandths blade is a No. 3 in their system—you have to check the thickness before buying. The Olson’s are a bit dull.

One advantage I like about sawing the waste is that, for the tailboards of a drawer, you can gang the drawer sides, two or four in a bunch, saw all the angle cuts at once; then with the boards still in the vise, saw all the waste; so you’re pretty far down the road on one set-up. Ganging the sides means a minimum of marking—basically all the scribelines, pattern on one face only, and the end grain. Maybe someone who did this for a living would mark only the scribe lines.



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