Wood Tools – Dovetail Saws

For most of my life I’ve used a European pattern dovetail saw. You sharpen it to rip pattern with a tiny v-shaped needle file. If I’m careful the saw I have at the minute, which I bought nearly 30 years ago, will see me out. Around about 10 years ago I began losing faith in the makers of European pattern dovetail saws. They lost the ability to make decent quality saws and I had to start recommending to students that they use a Japanese dosuki saw. Now this is fine and dandy but the dosuki saw is a very ticklish animal. It’s very thin, delicate blade that relies very much on the saw being drawn absolutely straight. It’s easy to have your saw cutting smack on the line on the top and smack on the line on the front and yet going off very slightly on the back. The European pattern saws, being slightly stiffer didn’t do this so much and weren’t quite as ticklish. It was with some pleasure that I noted that Lie Neilsen were making good quality European dovetail saws and they, and also a company called Aria, have been supplying our students with saws for the past few years. However there are two more contenders for the title of “Rowden Workshop Dovetail Favoured Saw Supplier”. The first is an old style Sheffield Tool Maker called Thomas Flinn who makes a very decent little dovetail saw. The plate of the saw is very thin, is well attached to the handle and the tooth line is a decent 22 tpi cut, unlike Lie Neilsen, Pax retain the fine 22 tpi saw line which is something I like. This is made in a small workshop in Sheffield that I visited many years ago when it was known as “Garlick Tools”. They were suppliers to a much larger organisation and got their saws branded by somebody else. It’s now nice to see that this quality of saw making is carrying on in Sheffield and I would suggest you have a look at their products on their website at flinn-garlick-saws.co.uk. Another contender is the saw made by Mike Wenzloff. I saw a review of this saw on an American web site. This is a very different animal, though planning itself on the old fashioned European dovetailed saw. Fine handle, thin plated blade, with a recommended tooth-line of 15 tpi, which is a bit coarse for my taste; very much looking forward to laying my hands on one of these saws and seeing what they perform like and will report back to you when I have more information. In the meantime, Lie Neilsen, Aria and Pax are the brands to look at wenzloffandsons.com


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