Dovetail Saws: The Cream of the Crop
Great dovetail saws are easier to find these days than they used to be, but sometimes that makes a buyer’s choice harder. We pick seven of the best and explain what sets them apart, from ease of start to tracking, ergonomics, and speed.
Thirty-two years ago, when I hung out my shingle as a furniture maker, it was hard to find an excellent dovetail saw. Today, we have it good—maybe too good. There is a bounty of great saws on the market, saws that are well-tuned and ready to cut fine dovetails right out of the box. But that can make picking the right one daunting. For such an essential tool, a test seemed in order. To narrow the field, I focused on Western-style backsaws (to learn more about Japanese saws, see Andrew Hunter’s “The Power of the Pull Stroke,” FWW #249).
It’s amazing how differently one dovetail saw can perform from another. It’s a simple tool—a blade with rip teeth, a back, and a handle—yet the details can really set a saw apart. Even so, individual elements such as plate thickness, set (and the resultant kerf), hang, pitch, rake, weight, and…