Hand Tools

Re: dovetail saws
Response To:
dovetail saws ()

Wiley Horne
Hi Eliot,

If you’re looking for an easy-start saw, the Lee Valley 20 ppi dovetail saw might be a place to start. It has a laidback rake, and gets many good mentions on these pages.

I have a different suggestion, though. Which is to fight through the issue you have with the LN saw (unless there is a physical disability which prevents it).

You have a fine saw. Problems with the starting cut can make one gun-shy and tentative. You must overcome this tentative approach, and commit 100% to that first stroke. But how? One way is to just make practice cuts—no marks at all—in a stick of waste, until you begin to master the first stroke and ‘get the hang of it’. You had to do this when learning turning, I would think. Get the hang of how to be decisive on the entry.

Another way is to start from a notch in the edge that you cut with a chisel. Start the saw in the notch, so you know it won’t skate sideways. Then commit to the cut on the first stroke, until you get the hang of it. After a time, you’ll be able to forget the notch—or not, just keep using it.


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