Dieter Schmid's Fine Tools
Dovetail Saws, Tenon Saws

Dovetail Saws, Tenon Saws

In the last decade, Western-style handsaws have undergone, especially in North America, what can only be described as a Renaissance! Cheap, low quality, mass production of these types of saws previously drove many woodworkers in the West to choose to use the relatively high-quality Japanese saws. With its still vital tradition of hand work, the Japanese saws deserve their reputation as a synonym for quality and utility, and discerning woodworkers everywhere avoided the inferior products available from many of the big Western producers. But now, a number of new saw makers have sprung up (the traditional big brands have played no roll, they are gone, or no longer relevant) sparking a revolution in the quality and variety of these styles of saws that no longer need to fear comparison with the Japanese products at any level!

But there are advantages and disadvantages involved in choosing one style over the other. Western saws cost several times more than a Japanese saw of the same quality. Many grew up using the Western saws, which cut on the push stroke, and not on the pull stroke like Japanese saws, which you have to take the time to train yourself to use. The Western saws also must be re-sharpened more often. (We can only compare the Japanese saws that must be re-sharpened with these high-quality Western saws, not the Japanese saws with disposable blades.) On the Western saws though, more frequent sharpening is offset by a simpler tooth geometry, which makes sharpening easier and faster. One other advantage for the Western style is that the blades are thicker and made of a softer, less brittle steel, and so in general more difficult to kink or break.

The hand-made saws from GRAMERCY TOOLS are by far the finest and most beautiful saws that are available. Whether you are cutting dovetails or mortice and tenon joints, these saws make the job a pleasure. But this depends on the saws staying truly sharp and that their tooth-geometry is suited to the task at hand: either for rip cuts or cross cuts. The grips, or totes, are for hand and eye, a real pleasure in both form and the quality of wood and workmanship. Beyond that, the ergonomics of the traditional Western tote is very good. It is held like a pistol, with the middle, ring, and pinky finger wrapped, and the index finger extended along the tote toward the blade. So you have a natural and comfortable working position.

The best industrially manufactured backsaws are made by Thomas Flinn in the traditional home of modern saw making: Sheffield, England. "A cut above the rest" is the firm’s deserved motto, and they offer carefully make traditional saws with massive brass backs. The backsaws from the “Pax” brand, which has been in existence since 1776 and are now also made by Thomas Flinn, are also offered here. They are useful, practical saws, and a pleasure to look at. The blades of these backsaws are 0.7 mm thick and the teeth are set to a width of 1.1 mm. For low-friction and straight cuts, the teeth are very carefully straightened and set. These saws can be sharpened with a saw file.

Another line we offer is the carcass saws and backsaws from Veritas. Veritas has moved radically away from the traditional designs and developed a very modern version of these types of saws. Interestingly, these saws feature Western-style saw blades that are supplied by a company that makes them in Japan. Their long experience combined with their tradition of precision in production make these saws, despite their high quality, the least expensive of our offerings in these styles of saws.

VERITAS Dovetail Saws The Veritas dovetail saw is an innovative blend of tradition and technology. It incorporates all of the critical characteristics of a classic fine joinery saw, yet is executed using modern production processes and state-of-the-art materials.   More ...

VERITAS Standard Dovetail Saw
Blade length 230 mm (9-1/4 inch)
Pitch 1.8 mm (14 TPI)
Cutting depth 37 mm (1-1/2 inch)
Blade thickness 0.5 mm (0.02 inch)
Kerf 0.7 mm (0.028 inch)
This item we ship only within the European Union!
Code 307720CartPrice € 49.90

VERITAS Fine-Tooth Dovetail Saw
as above, but pitch 1.3 mm (20 TPI)
recommended for stock thinner than 13 mm (1/2 inch)
Compare teeth
This item we ship only within the European Union!
Code 307721CartPrice € 49.90

VERITAS Small Crosscut Saw
as above, but teeth filed crosscut
Pitch 1.6 mm (16 TPI)
The teeth of this saw are not filed directly across the blade (90°), but at an alternating 75° angle to the blade (fleam), which creates a 15° bevel (rake) on each tooth.
Teeth pattern
This item we ship only within the European Union!
Code 307722CartPrice € 59.00
PAX Dovetail Saw
handle in two colours of beech, with fine workmanship. This saw has an extraordinarily good feel in the hand.
Blade length 200 mm
Pitch 1.25 mm / 20 TPI
Cutting depth 58 mm
Blade thickness 0.5 mm / 0.02 inch
Kerf 0.9 mm / 0.035 inch

PAX Dovetail Saw Ripcut
Code 303002CartPrice € 82.00

PAX Dovetail Saw Crosscut
Code 303003CartPrice € 82.00
VERITAS Carcass Saws These saws carry forward the same design principles Veritas used to develop the innovative dovetail saws, adopting selected traits of traditional carcass saws and rendering them using innovative materials and modern manufacturing methods.

Typically used to cut joints in drawer runners, dividers, and stretchers (the framework or carcass of a piece), they are well balanced, maneuverable, and scaled for smaller work than a tenon saw.

Available in rip and crosscut versions. The 12 tpi (2.1 mm) rip saw has a 10° rake angle and an included angle of 60° for efficient cutting parallel to the grain. The 14 tpi (1.8 mm) crosscut saw has a rake angle of 15%deg;, an included angle of 60°, and teeth filed with alternating 15° bevels so they sever wood fibers rather than tear them. The teeth on each have relatively minimal set, at only 0.003" (0.1 mm) per side.

Each saw has a molded spine that incorporates stainless-steel powder for weight, glass fiber for stiffness, and an advanced polymer binder. An over-molded blade and stainless-steel handle-mounting bolt create a solid one-piece blade/spine/mount assembly. A single brass fastener secures the bubinga handle. The open-grip handle, made larger than those of classic carcass saws, permits a comfortable, secure grip. The high-carbon steel blade, 11" (279 mm) long and 0.02" (0.5 mm) thick, has a cut depth of about 2-3/8" (60 mm). Each saw is 16-3/8" (416 mm) long overall and weighs just under a pound.
Teeth geometry

VERITAS Crosscut Carcass Saw
This item we ship only within the European Union!
Code 307734CartPrice € 69.00

VERITAS Ripcut Carcass Saw
This item we ship only within the European Union!
Code 307735CartPrice € 69.00

VERITAS Saw Depth Stop Here's a simple way to consistently control cut depth when using a backsaw. The 9 inch (228 mm) long aluminum rail is lightweight and easy to attach to either side of the blade with a high-friction magnetic strip. The stainless-steel rods give the rail a 2-3/8 inch (60 mm) range of adjustment.
The two clamp knobs, with rare-earth magnet bases, register against the spine of the saw; simply tighten the brass knobs to lock the rail at the desired cut depth. A reliable aid when a precise cut is needed. Suitable for all dovetail and tenon saws with minimum blade length 230 mm.
Made in Canada.

Instructions (PDF)

Code 325525CartPrice € 27.90
PAX Tenon Saws construction as dovetail saw, but longer with bigger teeth. Brass back.
Blade length 300 mm
Pitch 2 mm / 13 TPI
Cutting depth 78 mm
Blade thickness 0.65 mm / 0.025 inch
Kerf 0.9 mm / 0.035 inch
PAX Tenon Saw Ripcut
Code 303004CartPrice € 79.00

PAX Tenon Saw Crosscut
Code 303005CartPrice € 79.00
VERITAS Tenon Saws Weighing just under 680 g with 406 mm long blades, these are the largest saws in the Veritas line. Available in 9 tpi rip or 12 tpi crosscut patterns, the blades are made from 0.6 mm thick high-carbon steel.
Cutting depth 101 mm
Kerf 0.8 mm

The ripping saw teeth have a 14° rake angle; teeth on the crosscut saw have a 15° rake and have been filed with alternating 15° bevels so they sever wood fibers rather than tear them.

Each saw is well balanced, with a spine molded from a mixture of stainless-steel powder for weight, glass fiber for stiffness and a polymer resin binder. The closed handle is configured for exceptional control for a saw of this size and weight, with a bubinga grip secured by a stainless-steel bolt and brass nut.

The blade and handle-mounting bolt are molded into the spine, creating a solid blade/spine/mount assembly.
VERITAS Tenon Saw Ripcut
This item we ship only within the European Union!
Code 325065CartPrice € 105.00

VERITAS Tenon Saw Crosscut
This item we ship only within the European Union!
Code 325066CartPrice € 105.00
GRAMERCY TOOLS Handmade Carcase Saw The design of this backsaw was based on engravings from the 1800s. The open wooden tote or grip is made in American walnut and has great hand feel.

The crosscut saw is used for cutting to length and for cutting the parts of joints needing crosscuts.

The sawblade is in high-carbon steel and narrows in width, that is it tapers toward the tip of the blade. This suits very well the natural motion and ergonomics of the saw stroke, and allows better control of the cut. Video.

The teeth are carefully hand filed for very fast and clean kerfs. Extremely good workmanship overall with a solid, but relatively light brass back.

GRAMERCY TOOLS Carcase Saw Crosscut
Blade length 305 mm (12 inch)
Pitch 2 mm (13 TPI)
Blade thickness 0.5 mm (0.02 inch)
Kerf 0.7 mm (0.028 inch)
Cutting depth at the toe 51 mm (2 inch)
Cutting depth near the handle 57 mm (2-1/4 inch)
Blade hardness 48 - 52 HRC
Code 300741CartPrice € 259.00

GRAMERCY TOOLS Carcase Saw Ripcut no longer available!
with combination filing for both ripping or crosscutting
From the late 1800s to the middle of the 1900s the two most important saws in the tool kit of North American carpenters were a dovetail saw and a big backsaw. The dovetail saw was used for all small work, not just for dovetails, and the big backsaw for all the rest.

In a modern workshop with the normal compliment of power tools, the dovetail saw is used only for ripping small pieces and two backsaws, one filed for crosscuts and the other for rip cuts is from a practical standpoint really all a knowledgeable woodworker needs. For cutting longer tenons the common backsaws cannot cut deeply enough. So GRAMERCY TOOLS offers a big backsaw, with its teeth hand filed and hammer set, to optimize mixed use: both rip- and crosscut - which is designed to handle all the larger hand cuts you need to do.

This large backsaw is, considering its size, a lightweight. The closed grip, or tote, in American walnut lends more stability to the saw than an open tote. This tote is shaped by machine, and is lighter and more elegant than many hand-made totes.

The saw blade in high-carbon steel is tapered - that is it tapers toward the tip of the blade. This suits very well the natural motion and ergonomics of the saw stroke, and allows better control of the cut. Video.

Overall, as with the other Gramercy tools, the quality of craftsmanship on this saw is very high. The back is in solid but relatively slim brass.

Blade length 356 mm (14 inch)
Pitch 2.1 mm (12 TPI)
Blade thickness 0.5 mm (0.02 inch)
Kerf 0.7 mm (0.028 inch)
Cutting depth at the toe 73 mm (2.87 inch)
Cutting depth near the handle 83.5 mm (3.29 inch)
Rake 5° negative (aggressive action ripcut)
Fleam 7° (allows clean crosscuts)
Blade hardness 48 - 52 HRC
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