Hand Tools

Re: dovetail saws
Response To:
dovetail saws ()

Derek Cohen (in Perth, Australia)
Eliot, from the above, I gather you have a LN dovetail saw, and find this tricky to start.

If you are determined to purchase another saw, Wiley's advice on getting the Veritas 14tpi is a good one. It has a relaxed rake (14 degrees) and this makes it easier to start.

The LN saw is one of my favourites although, having sharpened and set the teeth a few times, they are unlikely the way they arrived when I purchased it about 15+ years ago. As Bill mentions, the aim is to take the weight off the teeth when starting a cut. Hold the saw as lightly as possible - as if it were a baby's hand.

Even so, some wood grain is trickier to saw than others. This is a reason to own more than one dovetail saw. The easiest saws to start are those with the highest number of teeth. For example, a 20 tpi will likely be a better choice, especially if the board is under 3/8" thick, and/or soft wood.

Another trick is to use the Glen Drake Kerfing Starter, which creates a kerf to start the saw. These really do work well to keep the saw from jumping out of the kerf (see the Glen Drake review, below).

As to the Rob Cosman dovetail saw, I've never used one. It clearly works very well, but it very expensive. It is designed for beginners, with a high tooth count to start the cut, and then more typical teeth for once the saw is under way. There are variations of this design, with others having teeth with more relaxed rake at the toe. You could do the same to your LN, but I would not recommend this - eventually, with practice, you will get it, and then such a saw will frustrate you (it has to be started at the toe for the effect to work).

Glen Drake also makes a saw like this. I was sent one for a review and, although it worked as claimed, did not get on with it:


Regards from Perth


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