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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After reading a couple of pasts and replies to m own post, I purchased a Garlick 8" Gents Saw and began cutting some dovetails. In the past, I have used a Rockler dovetail jig, and it worked like a charm, but I always love a bigger challenge.

Anyway, the cheaper saw would be good before I spend big-bucks on something better. I began on some pine I had lying around and this is what I noticed:

1. The saw began to get a build-up on it. I assume that this may be resin from the pine. How best to clean it?

2. While chiselling away the waste, I found that I was getting tear-out. Is my chisel not sharp enough?

3. Sawing to the line or the waste? A a schoolkid, I was taight to saw into the waste. However, this leaves a lot of trimming with the chisel to get the dovetails to fit. Any ideas?

I expect that practise is key, and that I may get less tear-out with a sharp chisel and maybe using a hardwood - I have some spare red-oak.

However, I cannot say that I was very impressd with my first attempts at hand dovetails and would appreciate any comments.

Charlie
 

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First, you want a true dovetail saw. True dovetail saws don't have any set on the teeth. Very important for getting straight, clean cut. I suppose whether you saw to the line or into the waste depends on how you lay the dovetails out and how sharp your pencil is. I use a mechanical pencil so my lines are always the same thickness, then I cut down the center of them. Very rarely do I need to use a paring chisel to clean out the sides of my pins and tails. As far as removing the waste, you want to chisel from both faces of the board, towards the center eliminating any tearout. Also, when you chisel, angle your chisel in slightly so you create a depression in the middle. Then, when you assemble you drawer box, or whatever it is, you get a nice tight fit on the inside and outside of you box. I wouldn't practice on oak. Stick with softer woods till you can do it with your eyes closed. Popular was my preferred species. If you try it on oak, you will always be fighting the grain and you may get discouraged when you joints never fit quite right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Tippy,

Thank-you for the post. For a "true" dovetail saw, then I suppose I need to invest a decent amount of change. From past experience, when I buy cheap, I usually regret it. I do know that Lie-Nielsen make a dovetail saw called the "Gentleman's Saw" which seems identical to their more expensive dovetail saw. The price is around $70, and I suppose that a good quality Japanese saw would be pretty similar.

I spent this weekend mounting my bench-vise. I still need to make wood face plates, but I am slowly getting my workbench sorted and buying a few tools.

One thing I noticed was that my chisels were not honed. Using a Veritas jig, I managed to get a very good edge and a quick test on some pine revealed almost no tear-out whatsoever.

Thanks,
Charlie
 

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Keep plugging away Charlie. Nothing will replace hundreds of cuts and chiseling away waste. Just keep at it. I know I am rusty but if I cut a couple dozen, or thre or four dozen, I'll be right back making nice tight joints.

Just keep at it and don't get discouraged.
 

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crown tools make a dovetail saw for 20.00 that with a little set taken off will work as good as a expensive saw. I own one and use it all the time. I also own a lie-nielsen which is a great saw. split the line or cut on waste side
 
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