Build Your Own Dovetail Saw #1: - Introduction

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Blog entry by ErikF posted 10-28-2013 02:37 AM 3998 reads 14 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Build Your Own Dovetail Saw series Part 2: Materials and where I got them. »

I have posted a few saws on here lately and have been asked to put a blog together showing how I go about making them. This is an intro and overview of the method I am using, I’m sure there are many ways to do this but I will show what works for me.

I started getting interested in saws last year when I started cutting some of my joints by hand. I was using a Japanese pull saw as my go to saw but had issues with it tracking a line and the blade was very flimsy. I upgraded to a Veritas composite backsaw and was very happy with the it’s cutting speed and my control over the saw. Earlier this year I bought a Disston No. 4 at a garage sale, it was dull but I figured I could live with it. I was wrong…I couldn’t cut anything with it and was about to toss it out but decided to look into sharpening it. I found some videos online, rigged up my vise, and was ready to go. It took a few attempts but I finally got the teeth close to uniform and was able to make some smooth cuts. I bought more saws at garage sales and ended up with a nice collection of sharp saws that cut better than my Veritas.

Fast forward a little bit and I got it in my head to try building a saw from scratch. I did some reading and my biggest hang up was figuring out how to either fold or slot a back for the saw plate, I also wanted to do it with carbon fiber since I hadn’t seen it done before. I came came up with a way to slot my own backs using my drill press which I will show in my first post.

Since catching the saw building bug I have built 7 saws. I have learned a lot about what to do and what not to do, I have a nice scar across one of my fingers as a reminder. Here are a couple saws I have finished. I had to sell them to pay for the raw materials but now I have enough stuff for another 15 saws :)

-- Power to the people.

11 comments so far

View SamuelP's profile


793 posts in 3008 days

#1 posted 10-28-2013 02:54 AM

Looking forward to the rest.

-- -Sam - FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain

View CL810's profile


3923 posts in 3349 days

#2 posted 10-28-2013 03:06 AM

This will be an interesting blog. Looking forward to your posts.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View JuanGatico's profile


72 posts in 2547 days

#3 posted 10-28-2013 04:54 AM

Carbon fiber, how cool is that?

View funchuck's profile


119 posts in 3419 days

#4 posted 10-28-2013 08:33 AM

Looking forward to this!

I have reworked some home depot saws to make a dovetail saw and 2 other saws, but I’ve never tried making one from scratch. I’d like to learn so I can make bigger tenon saws.

-- Charles from California

View 489tad's profile


3589 posts in 3373 days

#5 posted 10-28-2013 11:17 AM

So its safe to say your in the saw making business. I think using the carbon fiber is cool. I’ll be watching.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View A10GAC's profile


191 posts in 3440 days

#6 posted 10-28-2013 02:44 PM

I really like the looks of the copper…was it heavy/stiff enough to support the blade?

-- Men have become the tools of their tools. - Henry David Thoreau

View laketrout36's profile


200 posts in 2388 days

#7 posted 10-28-2013 03:15 PM

Can’t wait to see more. Very interesting. Great looking pictures.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19166 posts in 2929 days

#8 posted 10-28-2013 11:44 PM

I’m looking forward to the series to. Some very fine saws in this post.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4459 days

#9 posted 10-28-2013 11:50 PM

I’m curious as well.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View ErikF's profile


645 posts in 2605 days

#10 posted 10-29-2013 01:31 AM


The copper is very stable and holds its form well. It is 1/4” thick so it is quite strong.

-- Power to the people.

View A10GAC's profile


191 posts in 3440 days

#11 posted 10-29-2013 01:11 PM


Thanks, I can see a copper backed saw in my future.

-- Men have become the tools of their tools. - Henry David Thoreau

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