The Best Dovetail Saws (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Take your woodworking to the next level with these top-rated dovetail saws.
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BY Corrina Murdoch / LAST UPDATED ON December 23, 2020
If you tackle precision projects, you need a high-quality dovetail saw in your corner. Woodworking is a massive industry, ranging from commercial applications to those tackling projects as a hobby. In either case, the ability to join parts precisely together is necessary. The difference of a mere quarter-inch can make or break the piece, especially when you’re crafting something that needs balance. When it comes to sculpting, a dovetail saw enables you to create precise and accurate lines in the easiest way possible.
Of course, for this to work, you need an effective tool that is easy to control. It should have an easy-grip handle and a lightweight yet strong blade to carve away the wood efficiently. To help you in your search, we’ve broken down the best dovetail saws on the market.
Sleek and sturdy, this saw cuts well with the lightest push. Both analog and lightweight, the strong blade is made of high-grade steel.
- Strong design that is easy to handle
- Features replaceable blade
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Handle attaches well to the blade
- Serrated edge of the blade features somewhat large teeth
- Push/pull saw mechanism minimizes precision
Incorporating a spring-loaded blade that you can reverse, you can cut both left and right-handedly.
- Thick blade makes precise cuts easily
- Long blade gives you a good reach
- Handle is easy to grip
- Comes at an affordable price.
- Handle is somewhat small relative to the blade
- Can be difficult to control with its heavy blade
Featuring a strong handle and 7-inch blade, this saw has a handle that tilts slightly to let you reach difficult spaces.
- Saw is lightweight and easy to use
- Gives you access to corners and challenging angles
- Sturdy and durable
- Attachment between handle and blade weakens over time
- Wood material on the handle can cause splinters
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Benefits of Dovetail Saw
- Provides a clean finish. A quality dovetail saw lets you complete woodworking projects with an incomparable level of precision. Depending on the size of the saw, you can tackle small corners and even wood carving projects.
- Enables small and precise cuts. Dovetail saws are ideal for making small cuts that a larger saw would overdo. The precision feature helps with accuracy, an important trait in furniture making and decorative woodworking.
- Helps you make dovetail joints. Dovetail joints require the precise fit of two parts of wood. Even a small overage of wood at the connection can compromise the entire build. A dovetail saw won’t aggressively cut the wood, making it a good choice.
- Easy to maintain. In most cases, dovetail saws are made out of high-grade steel. Not prone to rust or corrosion, it’s easy to sharpen the edge of the dovetail saw and keep it working for a very long time.
- Durable and long-lasting tools. Like most popular handsaws, you can sharpen the edges and keep the saw in use for a long time. Especially if you keep the handle in good condition, dovetail saws are long-lasting.
Types of Dovetail Saws
Depending on the project you’re going to be tackling, the efficiency and power of the dual-edged dovetail saw are desirable. Like all dovetail saws, it features a long metal blade that connects to the handle. However, unlike the single-edged counterparts, their blade is serrated on both sides. It can cut powerfully and lets you use either hand to use the saw.
Perhaps the most common type of dovetail saw the single-edged sort features a long blade that connects to the handle. Ideally, the handle is sturdy and balances well against the blade itself. With a single-edged type, only one side of the blade is serrated. It lets you cut precisely, though you can only cut with one hand unless the blade is replaceable.
Opening its doors in 1885, Irwin is based in North Carolina. Despite its humble origins, this tool company has grown into a leading supplier of industrial tools on the international market. Among its top selections is the Irwin Dovetail Saw.
Commencing operations more than a century ago, this Japanese company continues to focus on crafting high-quality hand tools. Now a top supplier of precision handheld equipment across the world, Suizan has developed a wide range of woodworking supplies. A leading product from this brand is the Suizan Dozuki Dovetail Hand Saw.
Founded in 1977, this Japanese company continues to offer a wide range of handheld saws. Useful for woodworking and industrial applications alike, the brand remains popular across the globe. One of its top offerings is the Gyokucho Razorsaw Ryoba Saw.
Dovetail Saw Pricing
- Under $20: Dovetail saws in this price range tend to be quite lightweight and easy to handle. You can find either single-sided or dual-sided saws. Though useful, not all will have replaceable blades.
- $20 and up: In this price range, you can find high-quality handheld saws that usually have replaceable blades. Easy to maintain and long-lasting, most dovetail saws are priced in this range.
In essence, dovetail saws consist of blades and handles. The blade is the utility feature that incorporates serrated teeth on the edge. Teeth size varies based on the saw, though the smaller the teeth, the more precise the result. Blades will either have a cutting edge on one or two sides, indicating the type of the blade. The iconic design of a dovetail saw has the blade growing wider as it gets further from the handle.
The second essential feature of a dovetail saw is the handle. This is the component that gives you control over the saw while you move it on the surface. Most handles are moderately sized and extend less than a third of the length of the blade. Quality saws have a blade that’s attached firmly to the handle. This part should be easy to grip and very sturdy.
- Replaceable Blades. If you are a serious woodworker, or use the saw for professional purposes, then it is important to find something with a replaceable blade. Especially if the handle lets you use the saw comfortably, opt for something that lets you swap out the blade. It is also a good way to go for more distinctly serrated blades which may be more challenging to sharpen.
- Left- or Right-Handed. Though, if you are ambidextrous this isn’t much of a concern, if you rely mainly on one hand for your woodworking, consider the handle and style of the saw. When you lay it down flat, at which direction does the sharp edge point. It will be the opposite hand which controls the saw. If you plan to tackle more nuanced projects, opt for a dual-edged blade.
- Maintenance Needs. All tools have certain requirements for upkeep, and dovetail saws are not exempt from this need. You will need to keep the saw clean and dry, in addition to storing it properly. To accommodate, be sure that the saw will fit with your other tools; that it won’t be exposed to moisture or in a place where the handle could get broken.
- Precision. When it comes down to it, the finer the teeth, the better the saw will be at precision tasks. Though it might work more slowly, the level of accuracy is noticeably higher with fine-toothed saws. Larger tasks where you are looking for force over focus can benefit a lot from larger teeth.
- Material Quality. You’ll want to take a look at the material used in the construction of the saw. In terms of the handle, it needs to be tough enough to withstand pressure and force from various angles. The blade ought to be made out of durable steel, ideally one that went through the galvanization process.
Best Dovetail Saw Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Keep the saw clean and dry in between uses to prevent rust and corrosion from building up on the blade.
- Store your dovetail saw indoors and away from other tools. Since most saws don’t come with a sheath, it helps to keep it covered to keep dust off the surface.
- Be sure that the blade is properly mounted in the handle to prevent issues when you are using the saw.
- Check if the saw is a push or pull model. Most western selections are push-style saws, meaning you move forward to cut. Eastern designs often feature a pull-style blade.
Q. What is the difference between a dovetail saw and a tenon saw?
Though the saws have a lot of similarities, dovetail and tenon saws have different designs when it comes to the blade. Tenon saws are built for power, featuring large teeth that are sharpened to cut quickly. Dovetail saws incorporate more subtle teeth and are better for precision.
Q. What is the use of a dovetail saw?
Dovetail saws are used for all types of woodworking projects. Their precision abilities let you use them on carving projects. The long blade and good control lend to use with dovetail joints. It keeps the wooden parts flush with one another and ensures a good fit where the pieces meet.
Q. How do you sharpen a dovetail saw?
Sharpen your saw using a file. The size of the file will depend on the shape and dimensions of the teeth. A good place to start is identifying how many teeth per inch are on the blade. The higher the number, the thinner the file you will need.
Now that you know the ins and outs of dovetail saws, you can make your pick. It could be the Suizan Dovetail Handsaw or the excellent value of the Irwin Dovetail Saw. There’s an option for every project.
Do you have a story about woodworking? Let us know in the comments below. Happy sawing!