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Thread: Does my dovetail saw pull to the left or is it all my fault?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island
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    103

    Does my dovetail saw pull to the left or is it all my fault?

    I've been trying out hand cutting dovetails for the first time in 35 years (since I was first taught them at school in fact) and I'm having a lot of trouble cutting the pins straight.

    I know I'm not exactly expert at wielding the saw but I really can't quite work out how I could be making a mistake that would result in my cuts veering off to the left. It isn't simply a case of 'get it lined up straight before you cut, dummy', it's more that the cut actually *curves* left. That seems like it must surely be an issue with the blade.

    The saw is a 6-7 year old Paragon dovetail saw I got from Garret Wade and have barely had time to even try before now. Could it be the kerf is unbalanced and biasing the cut?

    Advice please folks. What am I doing wrong, or what do I need to have done to the blade?
    So do I type something witty here?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
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    9,076
    My first thought was that it is a flush-cut saw (teeth set on one side only) but I do not see that the Paragon was offered in that style. If you think the tooth set may have been damaged; test cut using only the front 2" of the blade, try another cut in the middle and a cut using the back 2" of the blade.

    If all positions along the blade cut the same I doubt it is the teeth but you could give 'em a close look with a magnifying glass. You're looking for an odd break in the pattern of the set.

    I don't have a wide variety of handsaw experience so take all this for what it is worth. My saws really want to cut straight. Once I'm in about 1/8" I really don't have to think about following the line, it would be hard not to.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island
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    Glenn - no, it's definitely a dovetail saw. I do have a flush cut saw and it certainly shows similar tendencies. I'' try the idea of test cuts on only part of the blade though, that might show something up.
    So do I type something witty here?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
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    1,487
    My knowledge of saw sharpening is pretty limited, but I believe you can run a sharpening stone along one side (I think it is the side the saw is pulling, but you need to verify that) to correct the tracking. Should only take a swipe or two.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island
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    Gave it a try Ed and it certainly helped a bit. I think I'll see about getting the saw re-sharpened soon and get them to make sure it's symmetrical. I was able to get tolerably well fitting dovetails cut at least.
    So do I type something witty here?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Tokyo Japan
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    Tim, it sure does sound like you have a wonky blade on the saw, maybe you ordered a Dovetail saw, but they send a flush cut saw?

    As you said, you "barely had a chance to try it" do you remember if it cut straight back then?

    Got any kids around that might have used it to try to cut something OTHER than wood

    Kids can sometimes use a tool in the wrong way, damaging it, then put it back, either not knowing they had done damage, or trying not to get caught.........DAMHIKT

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island
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    103
    Well, I don't recall ever even removing the toothguard before now so I almost certainly didn't do any cuts with it. As for kids... none that I know of. Plenty of nephews and nieces - 15 at last count - but I live in Canada and they all live in Yurp. Even Rowledge's and Daly's need physical proximity to cause damage. I think. Hope.....
    So do I type something witty here?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
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    15,807
    Must be the lovely weather you get on Vancouver Island all the time, that would warp any saw blade

    I'm still wondering if you got the wrong blade in the saw, or even the wrong saw?

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

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