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Getting Started With Your Veritas Saw


Veritas Backsaws. Cutting a dovetail joint with a Veritas saw.


Thank you for purchasing a Veritas saw. We’ve put together some information to help you get the most out of it. Although this will be of particular benefit to beginning woodworkers, we hope those with more experience will find something of value here too.

Sawing is a fundamental skill. In this tutorial, we’ll guide you through all the key steps, from how to hold the saw through to how to ensure you’re cutting square and plumb.

Techniques and Maintenance


Our joinery saws are innovative blends of tradition and technology, with the heft, balance and cutting qualities of fine classic saws but executed using modern production processes and state-of-the-art materials. The saws cut easily and true, with ergonomics that make them feel like an extension of your arm.

We hope the following advice is helpful in learning to use your new saw and for taking care of it so it performs well for years to come.


Close-up of saw blade cutting a dovetail joint

How should I hold my saw?


Hold the handle in your dominant hand with a light grip, and with the index finger extending forward. This provides a triangulated grip for stability and control.


Holding the saw with a three-fingered grip while cutting

How Do I Start a Cut?


Begin with the work clamped level. This is a tremendous aid in developing the muscle memory needed for a square cut.


Using a square to ensure the work is clamped vertically


You can choose one of the two common ways, both using strokes with no downward pressure, to start a cut. In the first method, start by pulling the saw backward on the cut-line to make a corner kerf on the board’s front edge.


Starting a cut at the front corner of a workpiece


In the second method, raise the saw slightly at the heel, cut with a light touch on the far side of the workpiece, and saw down to establish a kerf on the cut-line. Use your thumb and index finger to guide the initial cut.


Starting a cut at the back corner of a workpiece

How do I cut straight and plumb?


A great help in learning to saw straight is to visualize a piston; you want your arm from the shoulder to extended index finger and straight out through the spine of the saw to be in alignment. Move the saw back and forth in a regular, comfortable rhythm, letting it cut under its own weight.


A man with his arm aligned with the saw making a cut

Safety Pointers


Carry a saw by its handle with its teeth pointing down, and always start a cut slowly to prevent the saw from jumping.

What ongoing maintenance should I perform?


For rust prevention, regularly wax or oil the blade, and protect its teeth with a plastic or wooden blade guard or in a saw till. Saw sharpening is beyond the scope of this tutorial, but in normal use, your saw should remain sharp for a long time.

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