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Thread: Review of the NE PLUS ULTRA dovetail saw mfg. by the Elysium Saw Works (Pete Taran)

  1. #1

    Review of the NE PLUS ULTRA dovetail saw mfg. by the Elysium Saw Works (Pete Taran)

    Although I have posted this on another forum, I thought some folks over here might appreciate the information as well.


    Review of the NE PLUS ULTRA dovetail saw manufactured by the Elysium Saw Works (Pete Taran)




    What follows is my take on the new Pete Taran DT saw. I think an evaluation which quantifies the strengths/weaknesses of a DT in absolute terms is a challenge. It is easier, and probably, more meaningful to evaluate the saw in relative terms. I am fortunate to have an original Independence Tool DT saw and a Lie Nielsen saw to use in a comparative evaluation of the new saw. Lets begin.

    The Saw:

    The NE PLUS ULTRA manufactured by the Elysium Saw Works

    Aesthetics: Like the IT and LN, the NE PLUS ULTRA is nicely made and presented. I opted for the Zebra wood handle, and it is striking. Finished in a high gloss tung oil, it is an eye catcher.
    The brass spine is very similar to the IT and LN designs, with the addition of the following engraving;

    fullsizeoutput_8e.jpg


    Overall: a very nice looking tool.

    Engineering:

    The saw plate, 9 long, .020 thick, looks to be the same as the IT and LN saws. I placed the NE PLUS ULTRA on top of the IT and LN saws, and to me at least, it looks like the hang angle is the same. That is a good thing, as I think the original hang angle on these saws was perfect. The handle seems to have been made with more attention to detail: the edges seem to be just a little more crisp, all the while providing a very comfortable grip. The size of the handle appears to be the same as the IT and LN. I did not weigh the saws, but it feels just about the same as the IT/LN.

    fullsizeoutput_8f.jpg


    Performance:

    OK, this is subjective. All the saws are 15 ppi and .020 plate thickness. One difference is that the NE PLUS ULTRA has a slightly relaxed rake angle of 6 degrees, while the IT/LN have a 4 degree rake angle. I found that the new saw was noticeably easier to start than the IT/LN. Although the trade-off for this change is a slightly less aggressive cut, I think it is a good trade-off (i.e. I will sacrifice a slight bit of speed for an easier starting saw). I had previously mentioned the ability of this saw to track: very very nice, no doubt a testament to how carefully this saw was set. I think its better than the IT/LN. Overall, the performance
    is on par with the best saws I have used.

    Conclusion:

    The re-emergence of the original modern DT saw company is something we should all be thankful for. Again, I am but a humble amateur woodworker, but I think many, if not most of the potential buyers of this saw are in the same boat. I know when I see and use a nicely made high performing tool, and this new saw provides yet another top tier option for DT saw users and enthusiasts. I think the Elysium Saw Works is off to a great start with the
    NE PLUS ULTRA .

    fullsizeoutput_8d.jpg

  2. #2
    Interesting Phil. I have one of the first lot of the Independence saw that was made by Lie-Nielsen. The handle is significantly better on my saw than on the sample you show in the 3 saw comparison picture. Apparently L-N went backwards on the handles over the years.
    Dave Anderson
    Chester Toolworks LLC
    Chester, NH

  3. #3
    One thing I didn't see in your write up, Phil, is the cost of the saw. For many of us, that's a very important aspect of the product.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Anyone else notice the grain direction that's running through the neck of that open handle.


  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stewie Simpson View Post
    Anyone else notice the grain direction that's running through the neck of that open handle.

    Yes Stewie, not good ..should run parallel to the handle.
    Jerry

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    The ideal grain direction is parallel to the neck. However it also depends on how interlocked the grain is. That can change the "rules".

    I reviewed the IT and LN 13 years ago, when I won a NOS IT dovetail saw on eBay. The review is here: http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ToolRev...en%20saws.html


    IT below and LN at top ...




    At the time I preferred the LN handle since it was a little thicker. I find it interesting that over the years my preference has reversed. This began when I used the Gramercy dovetail saw 6 years ago, which also has a handle thinner than the average ...



    I discovered that the thinner handle encourage a lighter grip, and of course a lighter grip facilitates more control and less fatigue when sawing.

    Once again the Independence Tools saw is my favourite. It has a wonderful balance, and if Pete's new saws echo this, they will be wonderful to use.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Broadview Heights, OH
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    Stewart,

    I run the grain that way when the plank allows it. I think once you suggested to another they leave Theoretical Woodworking and enter into the realm of the real world. I made over 2000 of those saws (an counting) and never a one ever returned for any reason let alone a broken handle, and the grain ran the same way. So, perhaps you should consider some of your own advice when dispersing such opinions.

    Finally, the original Groves and Sons saw I patterned this off of back in 1995 had the grain running exactly as shown in Phil's saw. Clearly they didn't know what they were doing either.
    Last edited by Pete Taran; 07-20-2019 at 10:07 AM.

  8. #8
    If I found the right web page, that dovetail saw in the picture (with the zebra wood handle) is about $350.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  9. #9
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    ...and completely sold out at the moment. Beautiful saw, Pete, I think you are going to be very busy.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Anderson NH View Post
    Interesting Phil. I have one of the first lot of the Independence saw that was made by Lie-Nielsen. The handle is significantly better on my saw than on the sample you show in the 3 saw comparison picture. Apparently L-N went backwards on the handles over the years.
    Maybe yes, aybe no Dave! Might just be who worked on the handle. I have a LN thin plate dovetail saw, bought, maybe two years ago, and the handle is nicely rounded, and blended.
    If the thunder don't get you, the lightning will.

  11. #11
    I understand Tony, but look at the difference between the L-N handle in Phil's picture vs the one in Derek's. Mine is like Derek's handle and of high quality workmanship.
    Dave Anderson
    Chester Toolworks LLC
    Chester, NH

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Anderson NH View Post
    Interesting Phil. I have one of the first lot of the Independence saw that was made by Lie-Nielsen. The handle is significantly better on my saw than on the sample you show in the 3 saw comparison picture. Apparently L-N went backwards on the handles over the years.
    Dave: as I mentioned in the review, the feel of the handles were very similar. The LN may appear to be a little chunkier since they were a little less aggressive at rounding over the edges, but it is consistent with my other LN DT saws, and I think its form and function are very nice. Phil

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    One thing I didn't see in your write up, Phil, is the cost of the saw. For many of us, that's a very important aspect of the product.

    Mike
    Mike: right around $350, which is in line with a number of high end/boutique saw makers currently in business. Phil

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Stewie Simpson View Post
    Anyone else notice the grain direction that's running through the neck of that open handle.


    Stewie: This comment was also made when I first posted this review on another forum. I will re-tweet my response:

    "When you really understand the rules of woodworking, you know when these rules can be broken. I think it was Chris Schwartz that said you should hold the handle of a dovetail saw as if you were holding a baby bird. I take that a step further: I hold a DT saw as if I were holding a baby bird with osteoporosis. I suspect that my grandchildren will be able to use this saw (assuming I ever have grandchildren). If you are a ham-fisted DT sawyer, then perhaps this handle is not for you. There are a number of other handles available that follow the basic rules and will no doubt fit the bill."
    Last edited by Phil Gaudio; 07-21-2019 at 9:00 AM.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Anderson NH View Post
    I understand Tony, but look at the difference between the L-N handle in Phil's picture vs the one in Derek's. Mine is like Derek's handle and of high quality workmanship.
    Dave: Maybe its my photographic skills (or lack thereof): I will try to get out to the shop today and take a closer look at the LN IT handle and maybe take a few more pics. Phil

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