Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 3, Issue 2
November 2008
Innovative New Product from Veritas® Tools Inc.

The New Veritas® Dovetail Saw


The Challenge

A dovetail saw needs to be perfectly straight and have a thin blade with precisely set and sharp teeth. The geometry of the teeth needs to be such that there is a good cutting action balanced with easy starting and control. The handle must be shaped to fit your hand in a consistent and comfortable grip, such that the saw becomes an extension of your arm.

While all of this sounds basic, there's a fair level of complexity in designing something as seemingly straightforward as a saw, especially when the majority of your in-house manufacturing processes are geared towards milling, turning and surface grinding. If we were to produce a saw, we knew that we had to work with a number of outside firms. In addition, we wanted to make a much more affordable dovetail saw, one that sacrificed nothing in terms of performance. Clearly, we could not use a conventional design.

The Initial Concepts
Personally, I've always had an affinity for Japanese saws. Since they cut on the pull stroke, they can have very thin blades, as these remain straight under tension. Traditional western dovetail saws have brass or steel backs, a shallow blade, rip-filed teeth and a sculpted handle that promotes a pistol grip, with the index finger pointing along the spine of the saw.

The first concept our designers came up with was a pull saw that one would push. Instead of fixing the saw blade to the handle, it would be pinned at the far end of the spine where, similar to a bow- or frame-saw, the spine would keep the blade under tension while cutting.

Dovetail saw sketch

However, we could just not bring ourselves to let the blade float in the spine; we needed to firmly fix it along its length to create a solid assembly that was free from vibration. The challenge now became how to find an accurate and cost-effective way to fix the blade in the spine.

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