Bang for the buck chisel and saw for dovetails

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Forum topic by Tony Ennis posted 10-29-2009 03:40 AM 2935 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tony Ennis

139 posts in 4191 days

10-29-2009 03:40 AM

Topic tags/keywords: chisel saw dovetail question

I need a chisel (or maybe a set) that are triangular in cross section so I can clean up the tight spaces in dovetails. I’d also like opinions on a dovetail saw. I won’t be going Japanese.

I’m looking for usable tools that are a good bang for the buck. No garbage, but I don’t need top-of-the-line either.

Opinions pls!

-- Tony

9 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4632 days

#1 posted 10-29-2009 03:45 AM

View Rabbet's profile


35 posts in 4195 days

#2 posted 10-29-2009 04:09 AM

Veritas has a good saw. Lee Valley $65.00.

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2659 posts in 4581 days

#3 posted 10-29-2009 02:12 PM

On your Marples chisels, slow/wet grind the first inch or more of the square sides so that they are sloped/angled and leave the side edge about .030” or so thick, not sharp. A good angle is about the same as your chisel’s working end. This allows the chisel to get into the tight dovetails without the side of the chisel damaging the wood. Be very careful when grinding not to over heat the metal, you want to save the temper.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Julian's profile


884 posts in 4580 days

#4 posted 10-29-2009 02:42 PM

I have done just what Kindlingmaker suggested. I love using the marples chisels for banging out dovetails. They are very affordable and keep a good edge.

-- Julian, Homewood, IL

View sry's profile


147 posts in 4662 days

#5 posted 10-29-2009 03:41 PM

In the FWW tools & shops issue that arrived yesterday, they mentioned a dovetail saw in their “Top 10 Tools for a Tough Economy”: the Zona Universal Fine Kerf Dovetail Saw
I haven’t used it, but they seem to really like it. And it’s only $6.50.

Personally I really like my dozuki saw

As far as chisels go, check out this thread

View TroutStalker's profile


30 posts in 4423 days

#6 posted 10-30-2009 05:24 PM

Narex chisels are a very good bargain. They are on sale this month at Highland woodworking

-- The best thing online is a fish

View Russ's profile


142 posts in 4253 days

#7 posted 10-30-2009 06:21 PM

harville tool has a nice gents saw on sale for $11 right now. i have tried the veritas and it is a nice tool. just got a 1900 disston dovetail from ebay that is nice too.

-- Happiness is being covered in sawdust

View Julian's profile


884 posts in 4580 days

#8 posted 10-30-2009 07:01 PM

I prefer the western saws to the japanese pull saws so I bought an old 1917 disston backsaw from an antique dealer for cheap, then bought the tiny files necessary for refiling the teeth and made an old saw cut like a finely tuned machine. I really like cutting dovetails by hand now and try to incorporate them into my work as much as possible now that the possibilities aren’t limited to a jig.

-- Julian, Homewood, IL

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 4255 days

#9 posted 10-30-2009 08:00 PM

Here, try this link; Japanese Dovetail Chisels, page 68
And for your Dovetail saw, page 29

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

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