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Thread: Lie-Nielsen Dovetail Saw

  1. #1
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    Lie-Nielsen Dovetail Saw

    A question for the saw experts....I have the LN dovetail saw and like it, except, at least for me, it seems a bit "grabby" when I start the cut. I'm sure my technique can (and will) improve, but I was wondering if anyone has modified the teeth at the leading edge of the saw to make it a bit easier to start the first cut and establish the kerf?
    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    White Lake, Michigan
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    Pack it up and send it to them to re-file and re-set the teeth. You'll be a happy man, and it's pretty inexpensive.

  3. #3
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    I thought the LN saws came with the rake relaxed on the tip.
    Maybe the filer went on coffee break and missed yours .
    I been a few years since I had mine.
    Good Luck
    Aj

  4. #4
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    There should be "starter" teeth as AH mentions.

    If the saw has been refiled, consider a chisel cut on your cut line for the first pass to follow.

    I use my bench knife to form a groove for this purpose.

  5. #5
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    Izzy, when I first began using this saw, around 10 or 12 years ago, it felt grabby and tricky to start. A year later it was my favourite dovetail saw. With practice - and a light touch! - the grabbiness went away, and I enjoyed the aggressive cutting. Stick with it.

    Edit to add: Use the saw this way. It will relax the rake (in a sense), and make starting the cut easier.



    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Last edited by Derek Cohen; 08-04-2019 at 6:41 AM.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2007
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    bloomington il
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    After I seen this my saw starting has been much better.
    https://www.renaissancewoodworker.co...lf-the-battle/

  7. #7
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    If any saw is sharp, I expect any grabbiness is due to reluctance in the sawyer, rather than geometry of the teeth.

  8. #8
    I have found that saw to be excellent. When I do have a problem I generally attribute it to me being the weak link. I am not saying you should do the same. If a trial cut in a particular wood gives me a problem I will use the Paul Sellers, "knife-line method" to define the kerf and help me out on the start. It works really well. LN are very good in supporting their products. Have a chat with them and see what they suggest.

  9. #9
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    If I were having this problem, I would look at filing the front three or four teeth to have a relaxed rake.
    I find that when starting a cut I will lift the front of the saw slightly for two or three starter cuts.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Frederick View Post
    . "knife-line method" to define the kerf and help me out on the start. It works really well.
    I carve a sort of "valley" along the top, where I want the kerf to start. That's as simple as scoring two knife lines, pointed at each other.

  11. #11
    "I'm sure my technique can (and will) improve"

    I agree. Practice.

    I also find it grabby - but super efficient and controlled once started. I've seen a good crafstman look like he's sawing through butter, where I found the same cut to be snaggy to start. It's the hands. Occam's razor.


  12. #12
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    I usually start a through cut back at the heel, saws are a little stiffer back there....unless it is a gent's saw....

    might try to start the cut back near the heel of the saw....about the thickness of the board from the end of the plate..

  13. #13
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    Izzy,

    I'm sure it's your technique. When I used to make the rounds at Woodworking shows selling the Independence Tool Dovetail Saw, I saw a lot of common themes in how folks handle saws. The primary reaction is the grip the saw as tightly as possible and use a lot of downward pressure. Most could not even start the saw a little bit. It would immediately stall because the teeth are like fish hooks. They would then try the backstroke trick, and sometimes could get it started, although with a lot of start and stops.

    The secret to grab free sawing is to take a loose, comfortable grip which is relaxing, and start sawing just above the wood. Don't even touch it. Just back and forth strokes above the wood, no downward pressure at all. Then while sawing, lower the saw until it just touches the wood, all while sawing back and forth. NO downward pressure. You will immediately start a kerf. Keep sawing and then apply the slightest downward pressure. It's a saw by feel thing which requires immediate feedback. If the saw grabs, too much pressure.

    Of course, you don't have to saw in air once you get experienced at it. Just place the saw on top of the wood and go. I don't file any starter teeth, nor do I know anyone who does. I always loved it when a prospective customer would struggle with a saw and exclaim that it was "Defective" only to immediately take it, give that same lesson I just outlined, and bury the saw to the spine with no handups or any other problems. I'd then kindly point out that all that is needed is practice. Some would demur, some would then try again and get it after a few tries, others would leave in disgust.

    Hope this helps.

    Quote Originally Posted by Izzy Charo View Post
    A question for the saw experts....I have the LN dovetail saw and like it, except, at least for me, it seems a bit "grabby" when I start the cut. I'm sure my technique can (and will) improve, but I was wondering if anyone has modified the teeth at the leading edge of the saw to make it a bit easier to start the first cut and establish the kerf?
    Thanks!

  14. #14
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    Practice, practice, practice

  15. Kind of like swinging a golf club - the less you try to muscle it the better things seem to go. Pete's method helped me - I seem to recall someone describing it like a plane coming in for a landing - you want the saw to be moving before you touch down on the wood.

    Lowell is right - practice (along with sharp tools, and careful layout) seems to solve an awful lot of woodworking problems. Pull some stock from your scrap bin and just practice. A light touch and plenty of test cuts will help you prep for your next project.

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