Monday, January 3, 2011

I admit it!!! I have a Dovetail Saw Problem......

As the title says "I have a Dovetail Saw Problem" but I only have six. Some while back I decided to start collecting dovetail saws from the independent saw makers that are at this time making saws. I had a few criteria that the saws I would purchase would have to meet. (1) I had to know the maker. (2) I had to like the maker. This one was easy because I already knew most of these guys and as of yet I haven't met a saw maker that I didn't like. (3) The saws had to have a wooden tote or handle. (4) The saw had to have a reputation for working rather well.

I started with a Lie-Nielsen saw and quickly progress to a Medallion Tool Works saw, I then had the opportunity to pick up a Mike Wenzloff Harvey Peace saw. Next up was the Gramercy that I purchased from Joel at Tools for Woodworking.

The next arrival was my Eccentric Toolworks saw from Andrew Lunn made using a piece of my Picasso rosewood for the tote. (Don't try to Google Picasso Rosewood, it's a long story but I'll explain in another post at a later date) This saw was unlike anything that I had experienced up to this point and I mean that in a very good way.

My most recent acquisition was a saw from Klaus and Pedder. Two attorneys in Germany that have a passion for making fine saws. This saw has a plum tote and strikes me as a more robust version of the Gramercy saw.

The saw is a little larger overall than the Gramercy and the back is notably more substantial. The plum tote (see below) is rather striking and I never imagined it would have this dark color. The details of this saw are quite well attended and it's as tight today as it was when it arrived.

I first discovered Klaus and Pedder on the Woodnet forum. They posted pictures of some of their saws and they were asking for feedback in order to improve the details and the working ability of their saws. It was also apparent in their comments that they did not take themselves too seriously which appealed to me on several levels. You can see their work at:

Plane making has cut into the time I have for my personal woodworking projects considerably. I'm not cutting several sets of dovetails a week so when I can get good consistent results with a tool I have to give a certain amount of credit to the tool being so well tuned and ready to work which is what I discovered in the box that arrived from Germany. If you look at the trial cuts in the picture below you'll see that I was able make cuts that were very square to the end of the board consistently and they were at a consistent angle as compared to the adjacent cuts. I didn't pay particular attention to depth on these trial cuts.

As hand tool woodworkers we are quite lucky to have so many great choices in this age of tool making. I featured the Klaus and Pedder saw into this blog entry because it is a recent addition but I have to say that all the dovetail saws that I own work wonderfully. Some are notably different in some regards but they all are quite well made by some quite wonderful people. I really appreciate the fine folks that purchase my tools and I enjoy celebrating and enjoying the work of others.

When I approach a project these days it's fun to think that I will be using tools made by myself and tools made by people I consider friends.

My fascination with dovetail saws may be satisfied for a while and I've resigned myself to purchasing only tools that I will use in the shop on a daily basis, however in a future post I just have to tell you about the awesome back saw with ebony handle that I just received from Ed Paik at Medallion tools......Oh No!! Back Saws.....can a person live with just one!?

On a different note....I had a visitor in the shop this week. This gentleman's name was Eric D'Ercole. Eric is in the Army and is stationed at Fort Benning about an hours drive from my shop. Eric has been deployed to the Middle East twice, once in Afghanistan, and also in Iraq. Eric worked with a luthier as a teenager and his father is an avid woodworker. Eric is looking toward his retirement and wants to get back to woodworking and is interested in including more hand tools in his work. As we discussed setting up planes, sharpening techniques and many other aspects of working with hand tools, he kept thanking me for sharing my time. When I thought about how he has spent almost all of his adult life and some of the places he's been in service to our country it seemed pretty absurd that he was thanking me for a couple of hours spent at my shop.


1 comment:

  1. Ron you are too kind, not only with your words but with your time. Something I have learned as the years pass is that the most valuable commodity a man has is his time. Because it is something he can never get back. It was a great afternoon and I appreciated every minute of it. You gave me some great advice and tips that day and even invoked a few questions that made me seriously start thinking about what route I want to pursue in woodworking when the time comes for me to start working toward my second retirement.