To cut dovetails by hand, you need a fast-cutting saw that's easy to control
Synopsis: It’s hard to beat hand-cut dovetails for adding beauty, strength, and detail to a project. But mastering the dovetail saw requires perseverance, and it’s important to select the best tool for the job. Furniture maker Chris Gochnour prefers Western-style dovetail saws for their sturdy, thick steel construction. For this review, he tried out 11 pistol-grip and gent’s saws ranging in price from $10 to $125, testing them for speed and ease of cutting, smoothness, and accuracy.
Hand-cut dovetails are a hallmark of craftsmanship, adding unmatched beauty, detail, and strength to a project. I often tell students that dovetailing by hand isn’t difficult. But mastering the dovetail saw requires perseverance, and having the best tool for the job can make all the difference in the world.
Some woodworkers like to use Japanese dovetail saws, which cut on the pull stroke. These saws tend to be razor sharp out of…