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Trying to learn the dovetail saw

I've been trying to learn online by watching woodworkers on Youtube etc, and I get *how* to make dovetails, but the saw and I don't get along too well.  Almost every cut I've ever practiced is messed up in some form or another. Is there a place anyone suggests that I can learn proper dovetail saw use?  Does HD offer this as one of their workshops?

 

I also think that perhaps my saw is part of the problem.  I can't afford one of those $125+ saws, so I have a Stanley one that's 13 TPI.  I try to use it without applying pressure even, etc, and it works once in a while, but nothing reliable.  I'm sure most of the issue is lack of experience though, so I want to learn how to do this well since I have a couple projects waiting!

 

Thanks!

 

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Posted 2012-06-18T20:12:49+0000  by Dovie Dovie

Thanks.  That's actually exactly where I figured Paul was pointing and where I looked before I even posted anything.

 

However...

 

For some reason that I cannot fathom, that tab simply doesn't exist for me.  To illustrate:

 

settings.png

 

Thus my confusion.

 

In other news, I got my Zona saw today!  It's friggin' AWESOME! My dovetails still need work, but that's my inexperience.  The cuts are everything they said they'd be!

Posted 2012-06-27T01:22:21+0000  by Dovie

While you may not be able to set it as a default, which might be based on the tier/ranking system they use for this board, are you able to set it individually for a particular thread? As I'm looking at the screen right now, while replying, over on the right I see Tags. Just above tags, is Subscriptions... If you have that, make sure to check the box the first time you reply to a message in the thread.

 

Glad the Zona is working out for you... I've accomplished my good deed for the day :smileywink:

Posted 2012-06-27T02:20:43+0000  by Paul

The Zona rec was awesome!  I was sure I was either going to have to figure out how to make my cheaper saw work or shell out some serious cash.  This saw left a line smoother than than edge of the stock in the first place!  It was virtually leading me on the cut versus me having to convince it to cut!  AWESOMENESS!!!

 

As far as the subscriptions: Nope.

 

replyscreen.png

Posted 2012-06-27T02:56:10+0000  by Dovie

BTW, on a related note, I'm still having some issues with the pins side of the dovetail.  Using a coping saw to cut out the waste tends to get carried away and cut away too much.  Using the chisel isn't really cutting it - literally.  I think I'm going to both work on my coping saw precision and sharpen my chisels.

 

Which brings up yet one more question.  How do I sharpen the Zona when the time comes?  I never knew how to sharpen a serrated blade.

 

Thanks!

 

 

Posted 2012-06-27T02:59:13+0000  by Dovie
I will check into it today. Given the price of the replacement blades, you could almost call them disposable. With the teeth being that small using a file is going to be delicate.
Posted 2012-06-27T10:09:05+0000  by Paul
Everything I've found so far says disposable. Blade is way too thin and teeth too small for all but professionals with experience and equipment.
Posted 2012-06-27T15:36:36+0000  by Paul

I am actually noticing that it's getting a tiny bit harder to cut even after only a handful of dovetails.  I held it up to the light and see that the blde is already slightly bending.  Still better than the other one, but a little disappointing that it's bending already!

Posted 2012-07-02T19:13:41+0000  by Dovie

From the Lost Art Press Blog: (written by Christopher Schwarz)

 

Recently, a woodworking colleague suggested to me that saw teeth designed for crosscutting are an invention of modern marketing.

 

Early saws, he suggested, we’re probably filed for basically a rip cut. But because the teeth were hand filed, they probably had a little fleam, which made them cut more smoothly than a pure rip tooth with no fleam.

 

It’s an interesting argument that has no real answer – until we find the DNA of an 18th-century saw filer encased in some amber and decide to open a theme park on a deserted tropical island (sign me up).

 

Other woodworking authorities I trust have suggested that saw filing patterns were actually more complex in the 18th century than they are today. In other words, we are the primitives.

 

All I know is that they can take away my Zona Razor Saw from my cold, dead hands. Or they can take it when it’s kinked – whichever comes first.

 

The Zona Razor Saw is a marvel of modern manufacturing. Made in the USA for the price of 2.5 chai lattes, it’s a 24 tpi backsaw with a .01”-thick sawplate that cuts on the pull stroke. I use this $11 saw for almost everything. Rips. Crosscuts. Miters. Whatever.

 

The magic of the saw is not in the fact that it’s filed for a rip cut, but that it has 24 tpi. Once you get to teeth that small, it really doesn’t matter so much how they are filed. This saw leaves glass-smooth surfaces when it rips and crosscuts. It tracks beautifully. It is comfortable and balanced.

 

But before you think it also is going to mow your lawn, paint your house and raise your kids to be truthful and wise, it know that it has a fatal flaw. The sawplate is easily kinked. I’ve had one since 2006, and I have been using it on every project. The cherry-red-dyed handle has faded to pink, and the sawplate has a subtle wave to it.

 

It still tracks fairly straight – straight enough for most joinery. But this weekend I decided to try to fix the plate. I bent it this way and that with my fingers. I tapped it with a hammer on an anvil. I tweaked it with pliers. And eventually I buckled under and ordered another one from Lee Valley Tools.

 

If you haven’t tried the Zona Razor Saw, I highly recommend you get one for your tool kit.

 

By the way, the vast and insidious Zona model-making consortium did not pay for this blog entry. Just so you know.

Posted 2012-07-03T20:26:15+0000  by Paul
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