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Thread: Why saw the waste in dovetails vs chiselling it?

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    I am sure that the new frame is a good one. Better? I do not know. The old frame is rigid enough. What is more relevant is how you use the saw. Technique trumps extreme tension.
    This is particularly true of a fretsaw, where the tension is limited more by the blade attachment than by the frame, which brings us to...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Ranck View Post
    I have the new one (Mk-IV) and am still trying to figure out if there is something wrong with it. I have to loosen the adjustment knobs as far as they will go and the tension still pulls the blades out of the holder. I've gone back to using my coping saw for now until I can sort out if there is a manufacture flaw or if it is user error (more likely).
    Fretsaw blades weren't really designed to be used at high tensions. There's only so far you can go with a simple friction-based retention mechanism like that. If you did somehow manage to tighten the plungers down far enough then the next thing to fail would probably be the blade itself. With that said you should probably make sure there isn't any grease or oil on your blade or plunger ends that could be degrading the coefficient of friction.

    If you need that sort of tension then a coping saw is arguably a better tool for the job.

  2. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    Hi Fred

    I am sure that the new frame is a good one. Better? I do not know. The old frame is rigid enough. What is more relevant is how you use the saw. Technique trumps extreme tension.

    Hold and use it like you would a dovetail saw, that is, very lightly and let the weight of the saw do the work. Be gentle - never force the cut - that will bend the blade and force it off line. The aim is to saw with the blade kept as straight as possible. Cut on the pull.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Thank you Derek. I appreciate the tutorial and I'll heed your advice.

    Best regards,
    Fred
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  3. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Chase View Post
    This is particularly true of a fretsaw, where the tension is limited more by the blade attachment than by the frame, which brings us to...



    Fretsaw blades weren't really designed to be used at high tensions. There's only so far you can go with a simple friction-based retention mechanism like that. If you did somehow manage to tighten the plungers down far enough then the next thing to fail would probably be the blade itself. With that said you should probably make sure there isn't any grease or oil on your blade or plunger ends that could be degrading the coefficient of friction.

    If you need that sort of tension then a coping saw is arguably a better tool for the job.
    Thanks Pat, I always appreciate your thoughts.

    Hey, just to clarify, before they shipped I called and specifically asked if I had ordered the wrong tool (e.g., if the Mk-IV wasnt really intended for woodworkers), or too much tool (overkill for the job). The mfgr strongly recommended the Mk-IV. It was a grand total of $6 more, so he wasn't "upsizing" me or anything.

    But this will be interesting. EVERYONE who has the current model just loves it as-is. Pat, you've done product development - could they have maybe improved (or over-improved) a saw that was already at its peak? I agree with you - I sure don't ever expect to need the additional 14 pounds of tension the new version can supposedly handle.

    We'll see, huh?
    Fred
    Last edited by Frederick Skelly; 03-13-2018 at 8:17 PM. Reason: Revised significantly
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frederick Skelly View Post
    Thanks Pat, I always appreciate your thoughts.

    Hey, just to clarify, before they shipped I called and specifically asked if I had ordered the wrong tool (e.g., if the Mk-IV wasnt really intended for woodworkers), or too much tool (overkill for the job). The mfgr strongly recommended the Mk-IV. It was a grand total of $6 more, so he wasn't "upsizing" me or anything.

    But this will be interesting. EVERYONE who has the current model just loves it as-is. Pat, you've done product development - could they have maybe improved (or over-improved) a saw that was already at its peak? I agree with you - I sure don't ever expect to need the additional 14 pounds of tension the new version can supposedly handle.

    We'll see, huh?
    Fred
    For $6 you have to buy it. It isnt worth discussing.

  5. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Barry View Post
    For $6 you have to buy it. It isnt worth discussing.
    Thanks Pat. That's really where I got to.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frederick Skelly View Post
    Hey, just to clarify, before they shipped I called and specifically asked if I had ordered the wrong tool (e.g., if the Mk-IV wasnt really intended for woodworkers), or too much tool (overkill for the job). The mfgr strongly recommended the Mk-IV. It was a grand total of $6 more, so he wasn't "upsizing" me or anything.
    The extra stiffness certainly isn't going to hurt you, and the other refinements are probably worth the $6 regardless, so I don't see how you're going to come out behind here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frederick Skelly View Post
    But this will be interesting. EVERYONE who has the current model just loves it as-is. Pat, you've done product development - could they have maybe improved (or over-improved) a saw that was already at its peak? I agree with you - I sure don't ever expect to need the additional 14 pounds of tension the new version can supposedly handle.
    I've certainly seen that happen in the past, but I doubt it in this case. Usually when products truly go backwards (as opposed to not improving enough to justify the upgrade) it's a result of "value engineering" [*], but if anything the Mk IV redesign probably added a bit of cost to the saw. Unless you're absolutely obsessed about weight I think you'll be happy.

    One other remark about the Mk IV: The main change they made was to thicken the plate from which the sawframe is machined, and stiffness in the side-to-side axis (perpendicular to the frame's "flat plane") is roughly proportional to that thickness cubed. While the new saw probably won't improve real-world tension all that much, it will feel stiffer side-to-side. Of course you should never be applying loads in that direction anyway and its stiffness shouldn't matter, but some have complained about it in the past.
    Last edited by Patrick Chase; 03-13-2018 at 9:11 PM.

  7. #52
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    The extra stiffness certainly isn't going to hurt you
    So far a single blade in my Knew Concepts saw has lasted longer than any three blades in my old fret saws. Under tension seems to be more of a hazard for the blades than for them to be tightened to stiffness.

    it will feel stiffer side-to-side. Of course you should never be applying loads in that direction anyway and its stiffness shouldn't matter, but some have complained about it in the past.
    If the blade is turned 90º in the frame wouldn't a bit more frame stiffness in that direction be a good thing?

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  8. #53
    It comes to effort and saving your edge for something else. I did chop vs sawing. The noise from chopping....... Sawing was no brainer. Then I clean up the final bits with chisels.
    Not all things can be cut using fretsaw. Like huge beams. Drill out the waste then chop again.

    A good fretsaw is a big difference compared to a poor one.

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    If the blade is turned 90º in the frame wouldn't a bit more frame stiffness in that direction be a good thing?
    No, because you shouldn't be pushing the blade into the work hard enough for that to matter. "Hold the saw like a little bird", "let the teeth do the work", etc etc.

    Mythbusters did an episode specifically about this in the context of the KC fretsaw a while back. Admittedly they aren't woodworking authorities, but they did a good job of showing that in the hands of a skilled user the side-to-side stiffness doesn't matter.

  10. #55
    The one advantage a fret saw has over a coping saw is the fret saw blade is thinner and is easier to fit in the saw kerf. Other than that, unless I'm missing something, the coping saw is faster and easier to use. The better option than either coping or fret is the TFWW 12" bow saw. Its blade is thinner than a coping saw blade, I've yet to find a saw kerf it will not fit in easily, it has a longer stroke and a more aggressive cut than either a fret saw or coping saw. Small dovetails with a fret saw are OK but once the dovetail is larger than that of a small box the TFWW bow saw is the better tool.

    ken

  11. #56
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    I usually chop. I sometimes saw and extra kerf or two on wider tail recesses. I do have both coping and fret saws to use if the work should require it for some reason. I find I tend to saw when the wood is either soft or hard and brittle. I've thought about getting a TFWW bow saw but that thought doesn't enter my mind frequently enough to require any action.
    Jim

  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Chase View Post
    Fretsaw blades weren't really designed to be used at high tensions. There's only so far you can go with a simple friction-based retention mechanism like that. If you did somehow manage to tighten the plungers down far enough then the next thing to fail would probably be the blade itself. With that said you should probably make sure there isn't any grease or oil on your blade or plunger ends that could be degrading the coefficient of friction.

    If you need that sort of tension then a coping saw is arguably a better tool for the job.
    Good call on the oil, etc. on the plunger ends. It wasn't so much that I felt I needed more tension, it was the fact that I have everything loosened up as far as I can, and I still get the blade popping out of the holders when I flip the lever. As I haven't ever owned a fret saw before of any stripe, I'm a real novice when it comes to using and adjusting them. It just seemed weird to have to adjust it as far as it would go and I still had problems getting the blade to stay without coming out. The original blade came out of the saw at one end as I was sawing and so ended up bent and had to be discarded. The replacement blades wouldn't stay with the original settings, so I loosened up as far as it would go and if I'm *real* careful and flip the lever *real* slowly, I can get the blade to stay in until I start sawing. Maybe tonight I'll spend my shop time taking the thing apart and seeing if I can see anything wrong with it.

  13. #58
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    I don't do a lot of dovetailing, but I've always sawn then chopped. I saw a technique recently that used brad point or Forstener drill bits to remove the bulk of the waste. It looked like it went fast.
    It's wood dust. Saw dust would suggest a problem.

  14. #59
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    After struggling to saw out waste with my KC 3” fret saw, I’d gone to chiseling it out. Then enter this thread about the same time I was doing some dovetails. I got out the Gramercy 12” bowsaw i got recently to try sawing the waste again. It wouldn’t fit into the kerf of my dovetail saw. Was I doing something wrong?

    as far as the KC fret goes, it cuts slowly and I break blades often. I’m sure it’s user error but I just haven’t developed the touch with it.

  15. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Wilkins View Post
    After struggling to saw out waste with my KC 3” fret saw, I’d gone to chiseling it out. Then enter this thread about the same time I was doing some dovetails. I got out the Gramercy 12” bowsaw i got recently to try sawing the waste again. It wouldn’t fit into the kerf of my dovetail saw. Was I doing something wrong?
    Was it a western or Japanese saw? If Japanese then that's unsurprising. If Western it probably depends on what blade you use in the bowsaw. I doubt you could have done anything to influence it though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Wilkins View Post
    as far as the KC fret goes, it cuts slowly and I break blades often. I’m sure it’s user error but I just haven’t developed the touch with it.
    What woods and how thick? Also, what blades and where do they break? I don't have that problem with the Pegas blades that KC recommends, though I've certainly broken other types.

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