Proper Dovetail Saw Cutting Techniques Explained Proper Dovetail Saw Cutting Techniques Explained

A Dovetail saw is a small back-saw used by furniture makers to create designs and other joints out of wood. The Dovetail saw is quite different from the rest of wood saws such as handsaw, cooping saws or any other type of saws. A unique feature of a Dovetail saw is that there are thicker blades that measure about 0.018". The teeth for the dovetail saw are best suited for crosscutting. A Ripsaw is a type of Dovetail saw that has higher number of teeth per inch and can therefore cut more designs, per stroke.

Cutting Techniques

Using a dovetail saw requires a high-level dexterity and is an important part of the art of furniture making. Nowadays, modern glues and other techniques assist to create a joint that is as good as that made by a highly-skilled professional. However, traditional dovetail saw cutting techniques that involve creating dovetail joints by hand remains very popular.  

Cutting With a Dovetail Saw Guide

  • A preference face, or a datum, provides a guide for the saw. This is the reason that the saw that has a back should be avoided, because the back will interfere with the guide.
  • Set the teeth on the dovetail saw to be no more than 0.004 proud of the guide face. This lets you create perfect and neat cuts.
  • Thin blades make better, smoother and quicker cuts than thicker blades. The finer the teeth of the saw the better the cut will be.
  • While marking out the layout, the tail should be the final length, so concentrate on other parts first. Mark out the dovetail positions with a square, and then transfer the location of the tail to the facing line.
  • Position the saw to cut the pin. Place the saw and cut until you reach the depth of the line and the depth line on the side face. Care should be taken so the saw does not go beyond the depth of the line.
  • Next, remove the waste part of the wood with a sharp chisel. To do this, first cut across the grain, and then with the grain.
  • The parts should be assembled and glued when you are finished with the cutting. Depending on your skills, the above techniques are design to make you create neat dovetail joints. However, slight defects can fade out by adding some gap filing adhesives.

Working Without Dovetail Saw Guide

Creating a smooth dovetail joint requires good furniture making skills. First, create the layout with a marker. Place the blade of the dovetail saw on the wood supported with your left-hand thumb to guide the teeth of the blade closely in place. Make the first forward stroke. Move it very slightly at first to create a smooth dent.

One good technique you can learn from professional furniture makers are to only apply pressure on the front stroke. Their right hands are always in place to hold the dovetail saw like a gun.

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