What Is A Dovetail Saw? What Is A Dovetail Saw Used For?

what is a dovetail saw
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dovetail saw medallion

A Dovetail Saw is a traditional small saw which has a fine blade which is thinner and shorter than a tenon saw blade with a blade length of 8" - 10". The Dovetail Saw has a hard spine, traditionally and typically a brass spine or steel spine.

A Dovetail Saw is used typically for dovetail work and other fine work such as cutting mouldings.

Dovetail Saws usually have between 14 - 24 teeth per inch (TPI).

The teeth on a dovetail saw can be configured to be:

Or they can be a hybrid of the two called a 'Universal' tooth; these tend to be seen on some plastic handle saws.

pax saw etching

The spine on a dovetail saw is there to give the blade strength and rigidity, it also gives the blade weight and balance.

The spine also became a prime place of advertisement with manufacturers stamping their name on the front of the spine often along with other details such as town/city or/and country of manufacture.

Advertisement is also usually etched on the blade, some of which are/have been very artisitic. This etching often gives extra details beyond what is stamped on the spine including a company logo and sometimes a company slogan.

A dovetail saw tradionally had and still often has a wooden handle which is of open handle design. The wooden handle was/is secured to the blade with the use of usually two or three brass (sometimes steel) button nuts or split-nuts.

brass dovetail saw spine

Dovetail Saw Manufacturers:

There have been a number of dovetail saw makers in the past, with a few present makers. Below are a list of a few well known dovetail saw manufacturers:

New Dovetail Saw Manufacturers (Plastic Handles)

  • Irwin

New Dovetail Saw Manufacturers (Traditional)

Old Dovetail Saw Makers:


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(ii) The details here are given in good faith, the details are constantly growing and evolving, there is scope for error and shouldn't be fully relied upon, please confirm any details for yourself by performing additional research from reliable sources.

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