initial impression very good

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Review by John posted 03-31-2012 10:18 PM 4707 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
initial impression very good initial impression very good initial impression very good Click the pictures to enlarge them

I am making the transition to more handwork and want to master (or come close to it) hand cut dovetails. Since I recently fell in love with my Japanese Ryoba that’s been collecting dust for years (here’s a great review on it ), I unilaterally decided to turn Japanese … I mean pull it … the saw that is… errr, nevermind.

Lee Valley has this saw for a lower price than replacement blades on their other saws, I thought it looked like a good place to start – website here:,42884

I cut a dovetail by eye and while it’s not beautiful, it looks better than I thought my first dovetail would look and cutting 90 degrees perpendicular was nearly on the nose and practically easy.

My initial impressions are pretty fantastic – the pics posted are, in order, my first ever hand cut dovetail, the small amount of tearout on the near side of a piece of maple (no tearout at all on the far side) and a dollar bill folded twice that was a tight fit in the kerf, which at about .017” is right in line with the 16-thou in LV’s description.

Negatives: – the blade is not replaceable, it is brazed on just inside the handle – the tang is a little loose in the handle (which is how I was able to determine the braze), but once in use I did not notice and play – no hole to hang it, so I drilled a little hole at the end of the handle and added a piece of string

- cuts fast and straight
- the steel back stiffens it nicely, the Ryoba flexes too much for me to get a tight cut at my current skill level
- super thin kerf and almost no tearout
- nice long handle allows for two-handed use and is still very controllable

-- John - Central PA -

View John's profile


341 posts in 4566 days

4 comments so far

View lew's profile


13114 posts in 4524 days

#1 posted 04-01-2012 12:20 AM

Thanks for the review.

Like you, I find the control of the Japanese pull saw far superior to the western push style. My dovetails improved tremendously when I switched to the pull saw.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4061 posts in 4832 days

#2 posted 04-01-2012 12:31 PM

I concur as I too have this saw. I haven’t challenged myself to hand-cut doves though. My Dad’s Gent’s saw with standard teeth stays in the drawer. I’d rather pull it too.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over two decades.

View Ken90712's profile


17867 posts in 3957 days

#3 posted 04-02-2012 02:42 PM

Nice review. Good luck it looks like you’ll have it down quickly!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View kocgolf's profile


408 posts in 2947 days

#4 posted 06-30-2014 03:28 PM

Just purchased and can’t wait to try it! Thanks for the reviews and info from everyone. I had been thinking of getting a Gents saw, but seeing how much I like the little Japanese saws I already have, I think this is the way to go. No turning back now! I’m a total pull saw addict:)

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