Saws, get them “Set Up”

With most joinery saws, like the dovetail or half tenon, that we use for most small carcase joinery work, the straightness of the cut is essential. This means taking off quite a lot of the “set” that the saw often comes with. The set is there to make the saw cut a kerf wider than the plate of the saw, so the saw will not bind in the cut. It also allows you to slightly change direction if you go “off line”. What we find is that we don’t want this wide kerf, we take the set off a bit at a time with a slip stone evenly on both sides of the saw. The trick is to take off some but not all set so the saw can only cut a straight line. You may find that your light dovetail saw will now not do larger carcase cuts, but that is the time to get a second slightly larger dovetail or half tenon saw. Leave this saw “set up” for bigger work.

Ever wondered where the expression “set up” came from?


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