Looking for dovetail saws? Buy Veritas!

The Veritas dovetail saw cuts tenons and housing dado joints just as well as fine dovetails. Here is a great saw and what’s more, the saw actually fits my hand and it has a good sized handle I really like.

Some years ago I spoke to Lee Valley Tools about producing a dovetail saw and they were coming up with something quite different looking but highly effective and very attractive price wise.

Using the saw for the White House inlays and veneers

The saw came boxed and I had not considered all of the features as I had seen it in the catalog. When I said different I meant that the rigid spine along the back was not purely metal and the handle didn’t directly flank the saw as conventional saws always do.The spine gives the saw an unusual or non-conventional look I must admit, but coming from the Veritas stable I knew of would work, work well and last. The substance of the spine is made up of a composition of stainless steel powder, glass fibre and polymer resin.

My first use of the saw was actually cutting mesquite (twice as hard as oak) for the White House pieces I made for the Cabinet Room back in 2009. Since then I have used the saw extensively and love the way it motors through the wood. This one is a dovetail saw with 14 points per inch (ppi) but I was cutting veneers and tenon cheeks and shoulders with it as well as oak and ebony inlays as you can see.

Cutting oak and ebony

I have put this saw through its paces over the past three years and because I have focussed on traditional handsaws I don’t want you to think I eschew modern tools like this one. This saw is one of the best on the market in terms of performance, and it’s priced realistically.

The steel plate is thin in contrast to current British made saws, which is not a negative at all as it’s this the enables the saw to cut into the wood with half the resistance yet it still has plenty of umph for its job.

Now then, when it comes to keeping its edge I was surprised how good it was. I keep the saw for really fine work so it’s not so much my everyday saw, but I use it for lots of my projects.

It’s almost three years now since I began using it, so it falls within my criteria to test tools for three years before reviewing its full performance and I think you will not at all regret your investment of around £64 or $65 usd. Furthermore, I sharpened the saw for the first time last week even though it was still cutting well. That’s a long time between sharpenings for a full time woodworker. It was a breeze to sharpen I must say and with a single pass through each tooth I was back to peak performance.

6 thoughts on “Looking for dovetail saws? Buy Veritas!”

  1. Keith Peters

    I got one of these a few weeks ago, based on your recommendation, Paul. I’m wondering if you did any tuning to it, or just used it out of the box. That is, did you reduce the set or file it for a progressive cut? The only problem I find with mine is that it sometimes seems very hard to start. I thought that a less aggressive pitch on the first few inches might help with that.

    1. Paul Sellers

      Yes, they are hard to start unfortunately and it’s a simple thing to correct. I filed a less aggressive rake on the front of the first 1 1/2″ of teeth. To do that I passed one stroke into each gullet with the top face of the file flat in both directions. AFter that it worked fine.

      1. Keith Peters

        Thanks. I’ve done exactly that on other saws, following one of your videos. I’ll do the same on the Veritas.

    1. Veritas sells 14 and 20 tpi rip cut and 16 tpi cross cut version of this saw. Mr. Sellers said up here that it was 14 tpi, so it’s probably rip cut, unless there was another model that time, or that he changed the pattern of the teeth, wich I don’t think is the case.

      1. I would change all crosscut shaped teeth to ripcut on small saws including all tenon and dovetail saws as 90% of the joinery work is ripcutting. That way I use the larger saws for things like the heavy cuts of tenon cheeks and the smaller ones for the crosscuts such as shoulder cutting.

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