Dovetail Saw - Graduated Rake

glenn bradley

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No, not all of SoCal is Hollywood.
I rarely start hand tool conversations. First off, I do not consider myself any sort of expert in their use even though I use them on nearly every thing I make. I knocked out a new Saw Vise yesterday and gave it a whirl on my Veritas 14 tpi dovetail saw. As with anything we get new or freshly sharpened, it cut like buttah.

Probably due to my hybrid approach lessening my practice or my complete lack of any natural athletic ability, starting a handsaw can be hit an miss for me depending on material. I had read here and there about graduated rake patterns on saws and figured, what the heck . . .

The Veritas saw is filed as a rip with a 14 degree rake. I followed this when I tuned it up. As an experiment I went back and filed the first 10 teeth at 20 degrees and the next 10 at 17 degrees leaving the balance of the length at the stock 14 degrees.

After a few test starts in various materials (including some difficult ash that I have around) I'm sold on the graduated rake on the first teeth. I can start and cut to the line in just a few strokes. I just wanted to share the experience in case there is someone else out there who struggles with the starting cut more often than not, as I did.
 

Ryan Mooney

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The Gorge Area, Oregon
Interesting, I can see it making some difference... how much slower did you think the 20/17 teeth cut? Would it be worth moving to more rake on all the teeth or does it get to slow?

What are you using to measure rake and fleam? I'm unconvinced that my setup is exactly perfect for that so am considering improvements.
 

glenn bradley

Member
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9,640
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No, not all of SoCal is Hollywood.
Since it is just the first part of the first stroke I don't notice any slowness. I am generally a bit cautious with the starting stroke anyway ;-) I wouldn't want the saw to cut any slower generally. I was using a simple compass and a marked block of wood a-la Chris Gochnour at Fine Woodworking. Last Christmas, Santa brought me one of the Veritas Saw File Holders. This doesn't make me necessarily more confident but, it sure makes it faster and more reliable to change.
 
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