Which dovetail saw? Rob Cosman vs Bad Axe

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Forum topic by Hard_as_Wood posted 10-04-2019 01:21 PM 2611 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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37 posts in 1857 days

10-04-2019 01:21 PM

What appeals to me about a Cosman saw is the ease in which you can start the cut from what I’ve seen.

I’m a total noob.

-- Ciao!

18 replies so far

View smallerstick's profile


31 posts in 2093 days

#1 posted 10-04-2019 01:47 PM

FWW (#264) reviewed several dovetail saws. Lee Valley scored a best value award but Cosman’s was not mentioned. I’m not a big fan of his tool promotions personally, I find them somewhat gimmicky and overpriced.

Bad Axe has a solid following and makes a quality product. Definitely a “buy once, cry once” purchase.

-- Peter

View controlfreak's profile


1387 posts in 517 days

#2 posted 10-04-2019 02:01 PM

I can’t remember the saw I bought but after the fact I ended up getting the Kats Moses dovetail saw guides. The back of the saw hits the saw guide before reaching the depth of the dovetail so it only allows me to start the cut and not finish it. If you think you may ever go that route make sure the saw has sufficient depth on the saw blade.

View Mosquito's profile


10509 posts in 3208 days

#3 posted 10-04-2019 02:34 PM

If you’re a “total noob”, I’d suggest a value saw like the Veritas, find out if it’s something you care to use and move forward with. Determine if you want an “upgrade” and then buy another saw once you’ve learned to use it, how to sharpen, etc. Having gotten to try both, I 100% prefer the Bad Axe. Though the caviat to that is that I haven’t owned either, so my usage was limited in duration.

Once you’ve practiced and get a feel for starting a cut with a non-progressive filing, there’s no need for the progressive filing of the Rob Cosman saws. They’re both nice saws, I just prefer the Bad Axe myself.

All that said, I still use a vintage Jackson saw that I cleaned and sharpened myself, filed at 16ppi, non-progressive. Ugly, but I’m used to it lol

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View bondogaposis's profile


5891 posts in 3267 days

#4 posted 10-04-2019 03:29 PM

I have the Bad Axe stiletto, It is the best dovetail saw I’ve ever had my hands on. I have not tried the the Cosman’s, so I can’t compare. The plastic handles are a deal breaker for me.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Rich's profile


6155 posts in 1505 days

#5 posted 10-04-2019 03:43 PM

You’ll find that any decent saw will start the cut easily once you practice a bit. For me, saws are akin to watches; both Timex and Rolex will tell you what time it is. The only reason you pay an absurd price for the Rolex, Tag Heuer, Breitling, etc, is for the thrill of owning one (and to impress your friends). A $10 quartz watch will keep better time, but impress no one.

Regarding the saw, the Cosman, Veritas, Lie Neilsen…and on and on, will cut perfect dovetails once you acquire the skill to do it. Don’t discount the Japanese option. Far less expensive and lots of master woodworkers use them. Heck, even Katz-Moses recently was named “Brand Ambassador” by Suizan. Not that he’s a master woodworker, but that’s another story.

I have a Gyokucho saw that serves me well. I made my own cutting guide out of some 12/4 scrap and a few rare earth magnets. Would I love to own a $1000 saw with an ebony handle? Sure. But I’d really rather spend that on something more useful.

To sum up, don’t stress about it. Listen to what Mosquito said above and get something inexpensive so you can get an idea of what you like and don’t like. For a fraction of the cost of the Cosman saw you can buy a Veritas and a Japanese saw. Both will be useful for many things besides dovetails. If you want easy starts to your cuts, you can’t beat a good Japanese saw.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Smirak's profile


106 posts in 1434 days

#6 posted 10-04-2019 06:34 PM

I have the Cosman dovetail saw and the BadAxe Bayonet. I haven’t used the Stilleto, but the bayonet is the bomb. However, I wouldn’t want to be without my Cosman DT saw. I used the Veritas saw and for comparison purposes, they do not compare with the RC or the BA saws…

View rustynails's profile


914 posts in 3445 days

#7 posted 10-05-2019 12:30 AM

These are a nice quality saw for a good price ….

View Andybb's profile


2941 posts in 1519 days

#8 posted 10-05-2019 12:43 AM

Keep it in the family. :-) Sent member TheFridge a hunk-a-burl and got this back.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Holbs's profile


2366 posts in 2945 days

#9 posted 10-05-2019 12:54 AM

1 thing I’ve always been curious about. This manufacturer makes this, this one that. I mean, what it boils down to is the quality of the steel, TPI, fleam, gullet depth, rake, progressive teeth, etc. If you know handsaws, you can re-tooth, reshape, resharpen any handsaw to your desire and personal comfort whether by Mr Cosman or Bad Axe or Pax or Sheffield Bob.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View Andre's profile


3833 posts in 2722 days

#10 posted 10-05-2019 05:58 PM

Have a Veritas then a Gramercy actually started with a 28 tpi Dozuki, but now usually reach for a crown gents saw re-handled with the walnut copy of the Gramercy handle. Nowhere as smooth as the actual Gramercy but it can kick around workbench without worry of damage. Have tried the Cosman but found it heavy and cold/hard to the touch?
Another option for small DTs is a Zona razor saw, for projects under a 1/4” it works very well!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Aj2's profile


3498 posts in 2714 days

#11 posted 10-05-2019 07:56 PM

That’s a great looking Andy.
My best Dt saw is Wenzloff and sons.
I know some are thinking so what AJ a saw is a saw.
Here’s the kicker he sets the teeth by wrapping paper around them and squeezing them in a machinist vice.
The set is so small it really cuts nice.
Ive since ruined his tuning after sharpening a few times I had set the teeth myself.

Good Luck

-- Aj

View AdmiralRich's profile


12 posts in 3442 days

#12 posted 10-05-2019 10:31 PM

Frankly, most everyone uses the same quality steel, or reasonably approximate. Gauges may vary, as well as type of back, e.g., folded, milled, etc., and fancy or not so fancy saw nuts and handles. Handles have different hangs, that’s another variation. The most important, in my view, is how the saw is sharpened, you can take (as noted in a prior comment) a Crown Gent’s saw, rehandle, and it will cut very well if sharpened properly. Difference in price and makers (especially small sized makers) boil down to combinations of all these variables, good design and execution; but IMHO the sharpening/setting job is most important.

-- Elvem ipsum etiam vivere

View waho6o9's profile


8953 posts in 3493 days

#13 posted 10-05-2019 10:56 PM

2 Lawyers make an outstanding saw and a price point to match.

Maybe try out the saws you want if possible and get the one you like best.

Given the choices I’d go with Bad Axe.

View Marlow's profile


199 posts in 3587 days

#14 posted 10-06-2019 09:32 PM

I have owned and used most of the top tier DT saws. I did try a Cosman and they just could not get the filing right. Bad axe makes a very nice saw, and if you are not happy with the filing, they will work with you until you are happy with it. They will also re-sharpen: a nice bonus. From the two saws you mentioned, I’d go for the Bad Axe.

View SMP's profile


2869 posts in 821 days

#15 posted 10-07-2019 02:32 AM

2 of the most expensive options! Mist be nice lol. After watching a Josh Farnsworth review I emded up with a Lie Nielsen. Nice thing about LN and Veritas is if in a couple years you decide its not for you, the resale value is almost the same as new. Higher priced ones youd have to find the right buyer. Out of those 2 i would probably choose the Cosman due to handle choice and his values etc, just my opinion

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