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Thread: Push or Pull: what dovetail saw do you use?

  1. #1

    Push or Pull: what dovetail saw do you use?

    For those who tackle the hand cut dovetail approach, can you describe the type of saw you use and why you use it? As I am trying to learn to cut dovetails, I have a Japanese Dozuki which my instructor uses and I am not sure I like it--but I do not have a push saw so have no side by side comparison.

    I would appreciate hearing what you use and why you selected it.

    Thanks,

    Ken

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    St. Louis, MO
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    583
    I'm just learning also and am using a dozuki. I get frustrated when i tend to "crowd" my work. I get too close to it instead of standing where it works best for my arm motion. Particularly with the dozuki, i find it's best for me if the work is down lower than what i've been used to. I'm not totally comfortable with it yet, but i attibute that to my learning curve. I find that the saw is capable of much more exacting work than i am.

    Both styles of saw have evolved over hundreds of years with highly skilled craftsmen. Both should work fine. Part of my decision to go with the Japanese style of saw was simply economic. for $40 i could get a decent japanese saw with a comfortable grip - sharp as a razor. At the time, i couldn't seem to find a western saw of comparable quality for anywhere near the price. Crown makes their "gent" saw with a back blade, but it's got a grip i can't get comfortable with for push strokes.

    Last spring i found an old 12" Disston back saw with a good flat blade. It was a bit long in the tooth, but i've been cleaning it up and will resharpen it soon so that i can give it a whirl. I'm still committed to working with the dozuki - mostly because i'm getting decent results and am getting better as i go. Now i'm wondering how i can control a western style saw as well as i can control the pull stroke on the dozuki. We'll see.

    There's been a lot frustration with both types of saws, mostly because hand joinery is a skill that doesn't lend itself well to the weekend warrior. But, fine results can be had with either type of saw - I'm sure it's more a matter of practice than anything else.

    Paul Hubbman

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    4,993
    ken, i use both...one of my favorites is an old cheap gents saw from the borg with the blade turned around to cut on the pull stroke and the set of the teeth flattened in a vice......not very romantic or even classy but very functional..
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
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    9,076
    Dozuki Z saw. Blade has 25 TPI, a 9-1/2'' cutting edge and is 0.3mm thick. Works well for me. Rated Best Overall by FWW. About $40 from Woodcraft or Rockler.

    P.s. It's the only pull saw I've got besides my coping saw.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    1,407
    I use a Japanese saw but one thing I don't like about Japanese saws is that the sawdust falls on the line. With a western saw, the sawdust is ejected on the far side of the work. I have to keep blowing on the line to see it.

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

  6. #6
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    Oct 2006
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    I use a Japanese Pull saw, one of the Razor saw brands, hey, I'm in Japan after all

    I'd like to try a good western style dovetail saw at some point.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Ablett View Post
    ...I'd like to try a good western style dovetail saw at some point.
    For some reason, that term evokes a picture of a small saw, with carvings of horses and cowboys on the handle, and a couple of latigo leather strings hanging down the side. Sort of the handsaw equivalent of the Daisy Red Ryder BB gun.

    Then of course there's Roy Rogers and Dale Evans singing in the background...

    Happy tails to you, 'till we meet again.
    Some tails are sloppy ones,
    Others tight as glue.
    It's the way you cut the tail that counts,
    Here's a happy one for you.

    Happy tails to you
    Until we meet again
    Happy trails to you
    Keep smiling until then
    Who cares about mistakes when we're together?
    Just grab another board and make the next one better.
    Happy tails to you, until we meet again.

    Yee-Haw! Saw-em Cowboy!
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Smithville, TX
    Posts
    358
    I usually grab which ever one is closer at the time, though I tend to gravitate to the pull saw...
    Mini Max Tool Acquisition Mediator.
    "An old man to most kids and a young man to those who are dead."

    www.samantics2.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    For some reason, that term evokes a picture of a small saw, with carvings of horses and cowboys on the handle, and a couple of latigo leather strings hanging down the side. Sort of the handsaw equivalent of the Daisy Red Ryder BB gun.

    Then of course there's Roy Rogers and Dale Evans singing in the background...

    Happy tails to you, 'till we meet again.
    Some tails are sloppy ones,
    Others tight as glue.
    It's the way you cut the tail that counts,
    Here's a happy one for you.

    Happy tails to you
    Until we meet again
    Happy trails to you
    Keep smiling until then
    Who cares about mistakes when we're together?
    Just grab another board and make the next one better.
    Happy tails to you, until we meet again.

    Yee-Haw! Saw-em Cowboy!

    hey vaughn........got anymore of whatever you`re smokin`
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  10. #10
    I use a cheap old Gents saw that cost something like 20 bucks brand new. I found even this cheapo saw tracks the line pretty well...just as long as I don't try to steer it. I know that sounds dumb, but I swear when I just put the saw on the line and let it fly back and forth, it cuts just fine. When I try to influence it, I end up with problems.

    One thing I want to do before I die is to try to make hand cut dovetails the most least expensive way possible. Someday I am going to use a hacksaw and a sharpened screwdriver and make a set of dovetails just to prove to other woodworkers that you don't need a 125 dollar dovetail saw to make these prestigious joints. Its a skill and not the tools...
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

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