Build Your Own Dovetail Saw #2: Materials and where I got them.

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Blog entry by ErikF posted 10-29-2013 02:21 AM 5532 reads 12 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: - Introduction Part 2 of Build Your Own Dovetail Saw series Part 3: Slotting the Saw Back »

I suppose a good place to start this blog is to list the materials I have been using and where I was able to find them. Some of the stuff is basic and some took a little searching. I will try to remember everything (it’s really not that much stuff).

First stop: McMaster-Carr

This is a really great website, if you haven’t spent any time on it, try it. It got me thinking of lots of new projects. Here are the links to the material I purchased from them.

saw plates-

I purchased a sheet of their shim stock at .02” and cut it to my desired blade size.

saw backs-

I ordered steel, bronze, and copper. I have 6 of each at 1” x 12” x 1/4” and one piece off brass that is slightly thinner. It would be cheaper to buy the pieces in longer stock and cut according to each saws needs.

slot cutter-

I have been using a .02” slot cutter with a 1” arbor hole. The HSS cutter is reasonable at about 10 dollars.

I also ordered a few saw files from them because they were cheap, I am also quite cheap.

MSC Industrial Supply Co

Arbor adapter for the slot cutter to mate up to my drill press-

It was the cheapest one I could find and works well. I had a terrible experience prior to finding this setup involving a 1/2” bolt and 2 large washers…it was ridiculous.

Winsor Saws

Bolt and nut assembly (I have also used some old Disston hardware with success)-

I have done the carbon fiber backs using two methods:

1st- I got a 3” x 12” x 1/8” sheet from mcmaster-carr, cut it into 7/8” strips, and used epoxy to stick them together. It worked alright and is the back on my use around the shop saw. I have done a lot of cutting with it and it has held up great.

2nd- I ordered a few pieces 1/4” thick backs from a local carbon fiber fabricator. This method was much easier due to the lack of cutting and gluing.

I enjoy using the carbon fiber because of the way the saw feels during the cut. The backs are very light and rigid, I like the amount of feedback from the saw.

I think I covered everything as far as the materials go. I am hoping to get an entry put together, including photos, over the next few days. I’ll go into my setup for the slotting process.

-- Power to the people.

4 comments so far

View ErikF's profile


647 posts in 2666 days

#1 posted 10-29-2013 02:22 AM

Oh yeah…I cut the saw plates on my table saw using a metal cutting blade.

-- Power to the people.

View CL810's profile


3937 posts in 3410 days

#2 posted 10-29-2013 09:37 PM

Thanks for listing your resources.

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

View terryR's profile


7480 posts in 2730 days

#3 posted 10-30-2013 12:10 AM

Eric, thanks for putting all that data in one place! I’ve been needing a slot cutter, but didn’t even think to check McMasterCarr.

Looking forward to seeing your saw progress!

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Don W's profile

Don W

19251 posts in 2989 days

#4 posted 10-30-2013 01:18 AM

favorited for sure. Some good info

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

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