Dovetail saws

I have a cabinet to make with a couple of drawers. I'm considering hand cutting dovetails for the drawers and for top rails of the carcase. When I have cut dovetails previously I have used a tenon saw or a "Junior" hacksaw with reasonable results, but I'm wondering if it would be worthwhile buying a specialist dovetail saw. There appear to be various types and makes available on the web including pull saws. Any advice or recommendations?
I only cut dovetails once in a blue moon so I don't want to spend a lot of money on a machine jig. I also get more pleasure from "hand" woodwork than "machine" woodwork.
TIA Pete
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You missed that opportunity yesterday. Should have asked Santa to bring you 1 or 2 saws.
I have a few fine toothed pull saws for that purpose, but I use the router more often. Pull saws work fine for me, especially for large dovetails.
Sonny
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These work quite well, and the price isn't quite as breathtaking as some of the dovetail saws one sees in the locked cabinet at Woodcraft.
http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/0/2716/Saw--Dozuki-Z.aspx
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Here's a cheap option - closeout at $5. I fiddled with it a bit today, and don't think I will like it. Cuts slow, but I did not give it a full test and will play with it some more tomorrow. Worst case is I will take it apart, grind off the teeth and see if it will make a card scraper. Metal mikes at about 0.030 which is a little thin for an 80 or 81.
http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2020395/22061/10-Hardpoint-Tenon-Saw.aspx
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The box joints and dovetails I've hand-cut have been small-scale. The two pull saws I've used work well for the job, once you learn how to use them. The first one I bought several years ago, was a Shark Saw fine cut double saw. It has 17 and 9 tpi and cost less than $20. The second one I bought last year was an Irwin fine detail pull saw. It has a 7 1/4 inch blade with 22 tpi and cost around $15. Both have removable "replacable" blades, but I think the blades are about as expensive as a new saw. Still these are inexpensive if you want to try this style saw out. I was happy with both saws, and wish I hadn't given the small one away.
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Pete,
I tried using a Japanese style saw a while back, and loved it. This is the Lee Valley model I use. The price is reasonable.
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p2929&cat=1,42884
Good luck, Glen
petek wrote:

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On Sat, 02 Jan 2010 06:25:16 -0800, the infamous Glen

Ditto that. I tried Lee Valley's French import dovie and found that I didn't really like it. The $26 Gyokucho ryoba noko giri from www.japanwoodworker.com has been my fave saw for many years now. FWW used to have their sale coupons in them: a 10" ryoba for $25.99, including shipping.
The last time I was by HF, I grabbed one of their $6 pullsaws and tossed it in the truck. I haven't yet used it. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber722
I picked up an azibiki recently ($18 eBay, Japanese import) but haven't used it yet. I got it for inside cuts, but it might turn into my favorite dovie saw. We'll see.
Not that tool collectors make a lot of dovies...
-- Society is produced by our wants and government by our wickedness. --Thomas Paine
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On Fri, 1 Jan 2010 15:45:11 -0800 (PST), petek

Get a saw or two with fine teeth with a comfortable handle. The better saws will feel good when using it. With that, I'd try to find the highest quality dovetail saw I could find. I have a Disston with over 30 years of use, and it is accurate with a good feel.
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You can buy a reasonably priced dovetail(rip) saw, sharpen it with a $6 or $7 file if necessary, set the teeth if needed, usually not on a new saw, and get a perfectly adequate, fast cutting, saw for dovetails. The teeth are filed perpendicular to the saw blade. One and half strokes on each tooth is normally adequate. No angle to maintain other than that. The proper set/kerf of the teeth allows the rest of the blade to move easily in the cut. Too much set and the blade slops around in the cut and may not cut straight or smoothly. Not enough set and the blade rubs, pinches and makes it difficult to cut. I like the somewhat standard 15 teeth per inch. The more teeth per inch the easier it is to start the cut but the slower and harder it is to complete the rest of the cut. Starting the cut should be done with the push stroke with only 20% of the weight of the saw pushing on the wood. The higher end saws have stronger backs and better steel. In other words, the blade has less tendency to get out of alignment and it stays sharper longer. If you sight down the saw and see a bend. Mark a line where bend is most severe, put that line at the end of your vise, tighten down and gently bend the saw in the opposite direction to straighten. Pistol grip dovetail saws are easier to keep perpendicular when cutting, in my opinion. It fits into your hand the same way everytime. Japanese pull saws have thin, finer teeth, take longer to make the cut, break off easily and are next to impossible to sharpen. I have read that they are not really well suited for western hardwoods like maple and the blade will wander a bit on the back side of the cut. I have and use a couple Japanese saws but would not use them for precision dovetail work. Others here do, obviously, and successfully. Yep, different strokes for different folks.. -Jim.
On 1/1/2010 3:45 PM, petek wrote:

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Is it an old school kinda thing? I use a dovetail jig and a router.
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Can I answer that too.. from my perspective..
It definitely is old school in a sense. I'm not sure you can justify hand cut dovetails from an economic stand point unless you're really good at it.. I mean once you've got the dovetail jig set up, which can be a bit of a PITA to do at times, you can bang out dovetail joints pretty darn fast. A lot faster than I can by hand at this point. I still use a dovetail jig. I have an old craftsman I bought in 1971 and a newer Leigh jig. If its drawers for a shop or plywood cabinet I use the jig.. If its a piece of furniture I want to be a family heirloom, I'll consider hand cut dovetails first. Hand cut dovetails allow much more flexibility in the size, shape and location of dovetail joint. I must say though that probably the average person wouldn't know the difference. Only those of us building or selling furniture will spot it..
I'm finding myself more and more reaching for hand tools vs power tools when I have the choice and confidence. Take the dovetail template and the router.. You know what its like, that incessant screaming sound of the router, chips and sawdust flying everywhere and then there's that accidental catch and tear.. If you make them by hand, I think you have more control and it's quite and peaceful or how bout the belt sander spewing sawdust around the shop vs a jointer or smoothing plane for flattening a board. For me, it just makes the whole experience much more enjoyable and rewarding to use hand tools when I can.
On 1/2/2010 7:49 PM, Bob La Londe wrote:

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On Sat, 02 Jan 2010 20:55:45 -0800, the infamous Jim Hall

Pick up a copy of Frank Klausz' DVD if you want to learn how to get good quickly. He really is a master at handcut dovies.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-o4jryTkUc
the quick version <g> Otherwise, it's "Dovetail a Drawer" http://fwd4.me/A5J Under $20, delivered to your door!
Frank's The Man.
-- Society is produced by our wants and government by our wickedness. --Thomas Paine
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Frank is also one hell of a nice guy. I met him at the Woodworking Show (SoCal) a few years back and I mentioned that one of my students borrowed my DVD of him and was practicing his technique. He cut some dovetails and autographed them and asked me to pass them along to my student. A real gentleman.
Glen
Larry Jaques wrote:

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On Sun, 03 Jan 2010 12:58:41 -0800, the infamous Glen

Glen, did you also take his seminar in Sandy Eggo, I think it was sometime after 2000. He did a special for us members of the San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association. That's where I picked up his term "Hungarian paper towels", the floaty plane shavings on his floor. He picks up a handful and wipes glue off his glueup and hands with those. Yeah, he's a real nice guy. I got a pic with him, too.
-- Society is produced by our wants and government by our wickedness. --Thomas Paine
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I know, but that giant bow saw for cutting blind dovetails looks tough to use. I like the way he follows up and finishes the cut with a broken off piece of bandsaw blade.. That was cool. I swear everyone seems to have their own way of cutting dovetails.. I was watching Tim Rosseau make some on Fine Woodworking.com and he uses templates and the bandsaw to make the cuts on all but blind dovetails. Some drill out the waist on the drill table before cleaning out.. There clearly in my mind anyway is no right way to do it, rather its just what feels right to you.. -Jim
On 1/3/2010 7:21 AM, Larry Jaques wrote:

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From what I read of James Krenov, one "won't get in touch with the wood" that way... :-)
Maybe it's required to deal with the question of whether one is creating art or something affordable, and maybe not. I'm just offering a respected woodworker's opinion (not necessarily mine). I guess you'd have to consider Mr. Krenov's viewpoints to be "old school". Time and place for everything I suppose.
Bill
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These work well, and will set you back $13 -- http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2021228/3941/Straight-Backsaw.aspx
X-Acto backsaw blades do a good job, too.
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If you are into "hand cut", then this is your deal:
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&pA718&cat=1,42884
petek wrote:

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