View Full Version : Dovetail Saw recommendations

Nate Heffter
06-06-2003, 2:32 PM
I'm looking for a decent quality saw with which to cut dovetails. Curious to here people's thoughts on japanese/western. I am looking at the Lee Valley western model for $35- can anyone speak to this saw?

Thanks in advance

Robert Goodwin
06-09-2003, 11:20 AM
Can't speak about the LV saw, although all the products I have bought from them are great. I have the LN DT saw. A little pricey, but I love how it cuts.


Tom Scott
06-09-2003, 1:17 PM
I can't speak directly to the LV saw, but with most dovetails saws that you buy these days, a good sharpening and reduction in set will be required before it works preperly. By working properly, I mean that it should not only cut well, but also track straight and true. The set has a lot to do with this. Too much set creates a kerf that allows the saw wiggle around, and thus veer off course making it difficult to saw a straight line. Most any of the saws on the market can be made into a reasonable saw after they are properly adjusted.
For me, the other criteria is aesthetics. I do not like the blocky shape and feel of the newer saws. The new-saw exceptions to this would be the Lie-Neilson (which I have) and the very similar Adria. Granted they are pricey, but they are ready to go right out of the box. Besides these, my preference is for older pre-war saws. If you look around, they can be had for $30 or less, and work as well as the L-N once sharpened and tuned.
Regarding type of saw, I prefer the western style as I feel llike I have better control. However...Japanese style saws can be had fairly cheaply, leave a very smooth cut, typically cut extremely well right out of the box, and may be easier for a beginner (???). If at all possible, I would suggest trying a few different ones , either at a friend's or your nearest Woodcraft or such, to see which one you like the best.

Good luck.


Got to like a guy who quotes JB.

Par8hd Tom

Doug Cowan
06-11-2003, 2:49 PM
I asked this same question on another forum a few months back. Most of the responces I got were that I should save up and buy a really good saw like the L-N or the Adria. That is the route I wound up going (some unanticipated overtime that I just had to spend). I hadn't heard of the Adria before but if a saw can be a work of art, the Adria is.

As far as low cost options go, the best option I was given was to contact Tom Law. If you haven't seen Tom's name before, he seems to be considered as pretty much the best saw sharpener out there. You could buy a less expensive saw and send it to him for sharpening, or better still he also buys old saws with good steel, sharpens them and sells them in the price range you are looking at.

Tom Law
62 W. Water Street
Smithsburg, MD 21783

Good Luck