As it is with any other specialized worker, woodworkers also require specialized tools of their own in order to obtain the most accurate and effective cuts. When it comes to the woodworking tools, saws play a vital role, and among the wide variety of these efficient tools, the best dovetail saws hold a special place, because they are specifically designed to help you make hair-thin cuts.
Even when you work on hardwoods, this dovetail saw will let you achieve an extremely clean and best finish. Available in a variety of shapes and sizes, these saws are highly popular for the level of balance they provide and unparalleled mobility. Dovetail saws are considered by experts and professionals as an intimate tool, as a mere extension of their hand that can deliver amazingly precise cuts. Though they are known for their ability to create dovetail joints on cabinets and furniture, they can be used to perform various other tasks as well.
Whether you are a professional woodworker or a DIYer looking to make the best and high-quality wooden objects from your woodshop or at-home workshop, the best dovetail saw is one of the primary tools to have in your armory. Of course, similar to any other tool, shopping for this saw can also be quite a daunting task, which is why we have reviewed some of the top models you should consider for your purchase.
Top 5 Best Dovetail Saws
Reviews of Dovetail Saws 2020
1. Irwin Tools 213104
For more than a century now, IRWIN TOOLS have been manufacturing and distributing professional-grade power tools, hand tools, and accessories, including some of the excellent dovetail saws, aimed at professionals who are constantly looking for a high level of durability and performance. If you are looking for a good quality saw at an affordable price range, this particular model from the brand could be among the best you can find on the market.
The Irwin Tools 213104 is one of the best options in the category that can be used for a wide range of applications, from cutting small wooden dowels to performing interior trim work and creating details around windows. This saw is an excellent option to use when you need to perform utility work where the use of power tools can cause damage to the materials around. In addition, this tool also works best at cutting shims.
This saw comes with a 7-1/4-inch blade, which has a tooth count of 22 pt. The blade is flexible enough to make flush cuts of dowels, and along with the line-set teeth, this saw works better at dovetail cutting when compared to its competitors. Since the kerf of this saw is really small and thin, you will notice that the dovetail cuts you make using the saw are neatly detailed, and the tool can be used to make cross cuts on numerous materials, including PVC, with a little bit of effort. However, since the blade is quite flexible, you need to be careful when making flush cuts, and totally avoid rip cuts. Also, putting too much pressure on the blade can cause it to break.
Since this is a saw model, the tool is quite easy to use. The saw features a plastic (polymer) handle, which though not the best and strongest material around, still provides you with a stable and comfortable grip even when you use it for longer durations. The product comes with a full lifetime warranty.
2. SUIZAN Japanese Dovetail Saw
SUIZAN is a Japanese brand that is well-known for creating some of the finest Japanese hand tools that are of the highest quality, which also includes the best dovetail saws. With their history dating back to more than one hundred years, all of their products are manufactured only in Japan by their master craftsmen, which can be evidently seen on this saw model as well. This SUIZAN saw is yet another amazing offering from the brand, which is highly appreciated by many woodworkers.
This particular saw from SUIZAN is their Dozuki model, where the Japanese word means “attached trunk”, which basically refers to the stable rib that comes with the saw to provide support to the blade. The saw has a 9 ½-inch blade, with 25 TPI. If your woodworking projects demand a smaller blade, there is also a 6-inch version available in this model. Made of high-quality Japanese steel, cuts from the blade are always really sharp. One of the highlights of this saw is its thin blade, which is designed to make it easy for you to control your cuts. In addition, the thin blade also makes it possible for you to create narrow and precise cuts at all times. Moreover, with a kerf width of 0.016 inches, the saw lets you do almost any woodworking task with it, with utmost precision.
This Dozuki Dovetail Saw is a pull saw, and unlike most of the push saw models that make cuts on materials by pushing, this saw makes cuts by pulling, and hence the name. Some of the benefits that this saw offers over a push saw are cleaner results, light in weight, and less power consumption. The blade on this saw can be removed and interchanged easily. The handle, however, is made of plastic, which makes it look and feel cheap, something that many woodworkers dislike.
3. Okada Hardware Dove-Tail Saw
If you are new to using Japanese dovetail saws and quite hesitant about buying one, you would probably look for a model that is less expensive yet efficient and durable to some extent. In that case, the Okada Hardware Japanese Mini Dozuki Saw will be one of the best choices for you. These, in general, is known to deliver superior performance, and this dovetail saw model is no exception.
With a blade length of 150mm and a kerf size of 0.40mm, this saw can be used for a whole lot of complex woodworking tasks that require accurate cuts. Despite its small size, the saw is capable of cutting different types of wood, and the fact that the blade is razor-sharp makes it ideal for a wide range of applications.
The saw can be used to make even paper-thin line on the wood, and you will also be able to make even the smallest cuts with utmost precision. The handle on this saw is also designed to be comfortable in your hand, thanks to the pure Japanese workmanship. However, if you need to make deep cuts, you may have to look for a different saw.
4. GYOKUCHO Ryoba – Best Dovetail Saw
The very word Ryoba in Japanese refers to double-edged in dovetail saws. The Ryoba Double Edge Razor Saw from Gyokucho comes with cutting teeth on both sides of the blade, with one side designed specifically for rip cutting and the other for cross-cutting. This saw comes with a 9.4-inch blade with 1.7mm teeth pitch, and its kerf size is only 0.5mm. These features together make the saw an amazing choice for carrying out precise detailing work on a piece of wood and also to make cross cuts on large pieces of wood.
The teeth of the saw blade are impulse hardened to increase their sharpness and also extend the overall life of the blade without encountering too much wear. The saw’s handle is rattan wrapped, which significantly improves the level of comfort and grip you get to experience. On the whole, the overall quality of this saw makes it a widely preferred option among woodworkers who will be performing both rip cuts and crosscuts regularly.
5. Z-Saw Dozuki Saw (Dovetail)
Z-Saw dovetail saws come with a rigid spine, which enables you to make accurate and fine cuts with one. While many other Japanese dovetail saws tend to be not suitable for making deep cuts on a piece of wood, with a Dozuki saw, however, you have no limits on the depth you can reach with your cuts. This particular Dozuki saw is known to be one of the bestsellers in the category.
This saw from Z-saw features a tensioned high carbon steel blade, which is 9 ½ inches in length and is known for its durability and precision cuts. The saw is easy to use and provides you with sufficient control, thanks to the bamboo wrapped handle, as a result of which this model is considered to be a great option for beginners. The blade’s flexibility is just adequate to help you cut different sizes of wood, without having to be concerned about it bending. All in all, this is an outstanding saw for beginners.
Buyer’s Guide for Dovetail Saw
When it comes to buying dovetail saws, you will, of course, be bombarded with a myriad of options from different manufacturers, making the whole process highly stressful for you. From choosing the look or style of the saw to determining your budget, there are a lot of aspects you will have to consider. Following are some of the factors you should keep in mind when shopping for one of these best tools:
Does appearance really matter in dovetail saws? Not necessarily. But, people these days prefer to invest in this quality as well. While some of you might love to have a classic touch to your tool, others may want something sleek and more modern. Ultimately, it is up to you and your taste, and this has nothing to do with the performance of the saw.
Dovetail saws come in three main styles: Western backsaw, Japanese-style pull saw, and frame saw. Each of these saws has uses of their own. While you may prefer one style over the other, as a general rule: conventional Western backsaws are known to be ideal for beginners because they are easier to adapt to; if you are an intermediate woodworker, you can use a Japanese-style pull saw for its great efficiency and accuracy; and if you are a professional at what you do, you can use a frame saw for its incredible versatility and speed.
TPI (Teeth Per Inch)
TPI, or teeth per inch, is one of the most vital aspects to consider when you buying dovetail saws. In order to choose the TPI range in your saw, you should first know the type of work you will be doing with it; will you be making really fine wooden objects that are under 4mm in thickness? Or will you be working on projects that involve making items that are solid and around 12mm thick? In order to obtain the best and clean-cut, the blade should have around 5 to 6 teeth touching the wood. If the number of teeth is just too many, our cuts will get slower and you will be overworking the saw, and if it is too less, the cut will be too rough.
Frequency of Use
If you need a dovetail saw only for a short woodworking project or you know that you will be using it only occasionally, then you don’t necessarily have to spend a whole lot of money purchasing the best high-end unit, unless you have no issues spending the money. Instead, you can just choose one of the affordable dovetail saws to get your task done. On the other hand, if this saw will take a permanent place in your arsenal and you will be using it constantly, you shouldn’t hesitate to invest in a good quality product that can typically last for years to come.
Ease of Use
In terms of how easy it is to use dovetail saws, the first and foremost point to consider is the start of a cut. In general, not all saws deliver the best easy start to a cut. In order to make sure that the saw you choose delivers in this respect, you might want to consider having one with finer teeth, which typically happens to be in the range of 18 TPI. Even if some saws are not easy to start with, they will be able to deliver faster and finer cuts once you start using them. Therefore, you can either choose a saw that gives you easy cuts straight away or if you don’t mind the break-in period, you can choose otherwise.
Storage and Maintenance
In order for dovetail saws to last for a long time, they have to be stored and maintained properly. Improper storage of the saw will result in a broken handle and dull blade, and when the saw is stored in an area where there is more moisture content, it can cause the blade to rust. In addition to ruining your saw entirely, it also makes it dangerous to handle the tool. To avoid such mishaps, always store your saw in a clean and dry area, and use a protective cover for the blade when not in use to prevent it from getting in contact with other tools or objects, so it doesn’t get blunt or damaged.
As far as maintenance goes, maintaining the sharpness of the blade is what matters. Since most modern dovetail saws come with blades that cannot be sharpened, your only option is to replace the blade when needed. And for blades that can be sharpened, you can use the re-sharpening service offered by most manufacturers.