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New Veritas Dovetail Saw

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General:

Veritas (the line of tools made by the Lee Valley company) has introduced a new tool (for them), a western style dovetail saw. It's a completely new take on a classic design:

Lee Valley Dovetail Saw

http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p=61974

Now, I haven't had a chance to use one of these saws, so my "review" is just to the aesthetics and design choices and what I can glean from Alf's review on her site, the Cornish Workshop. It's my thought that, at the price given, that Veritas has hit this one out of the park.

What? Did I just say that?

Yes, I did. Though it might not be as pretty as a full-blown classic brass version, it's a significant development in saw design, one that I've been waiting to see come to light for some time. Brass, in my opinion, is not the best material for the back of a saw - it's too expensive, and it can bend if dropped, and be tough to straighten out. This material, which is a resin mixed with a stainless steel powder and formed using injection molding, won't have the price, and is also less expensive. It's an innovative step, not just a gimmick (ala the double-handled saw from Glenn Drake - at least it's a gimmiick in my opinion - reviewed earlier)

Then there using wood for the handle - nothing I've found has quite replaced the feel of wood for a handle, and LV has kept this important aspect a part of their design - and it looks to be easily replaceable, which is a bonus.

For the steel - that's important too, but the availablity of high quality steel these days just isn't as big of an issue as it was even thirty years ago. I'm quite sure the steel LV uses if of high quality, as is their reputation.

Now, if you want a good saw cheap - and can sharpen your own saws - there are vintage saws out there that may be a better deal. Or maybe not - but if I was buying a new dovetail saw that would see more use than as a display piece today, this would be it. The price is simply unbeatable... and now that I've looked at it for a bit, the look is growing on me.

Now, if they start to sell replacement handles and blades for the thing, and offer it in different sizes and configurations - that would be all the better. I'm sure they will come in time...

Leif

P.S.

Also new (as I mentioned in my previous post) in the market is a new offering from an old name in the sawmaking biz - Disston, which is now available from Rockler. Now, Disston is a storied name in the making of handsaws, but I wouldn't pay the money they are asking - these aren't the Disstons we know and love. Truth be told, there's not been a decent saw made with that name on it for at least 40 years, and some would argue that it's more like 80 years. At twice the price of these Veritas saws, there's no doubt as to the better value in my mind...

Comments

Comment: 

I had a chance to try this baby out at the Woodworking in America conference alongside the LN, Gramercy Tools and Wenzloff models. (that was one of the best parts of a great conference!)  All were quite nice, but I have to say the Gramercy and Lee Valley were noticebly better than the other two. I was very surprised at how sweetly and quickly, the Lee Valley saw cut. It tracked beautifully and felt very good in my hands.

The Grammercy saw (sold by Tools for Working Wood) was also quite nicely made and a pleasure to use, but Lee Valley is able to get a higher level of fit and finish with the materials they use, and the saw blade is at least as good as Grammercy, at just over half the price!

I spoke with a guy who had been lucky enough to be a beta tester for the saw (sent an early, pre-production model to try out, he had it with him so it wasn't a tall tale) and he said that he understood that the only reason they charge even as much as they do is that if they made it any cheaper they were afraid people would think it was junk.

If you're looking for a dovetail saw and don't have to have the aesthetics of brass, then you can't do better than the Lee Valley tool. If you just have to have the 19th-century look, then I'd recommend the Grammercy dovetail.

I'm only waiting for Lee Valley to come out with a slightly larger, crosscut carcass saw and I'll be jumping on that like white on rice.

Just thought I'd give you my two cents having actually used it.

AAAndrew

Comment: 

Thanks for the report, Andrew! 

I knew that would be the case.  Veritas/Lee Valley is a fine company with excellent product, for sure.  I can also speak from experience on their very excellent customer service...  I'm anxious to see what they come up with in this new line of saws...

Leif

Comment: 

Veritas just came out with two new models, a 16tpi and a 20 tpi. Anyone tried them?

Comment: 

I have all three on order!  I am completely new to hand cut dovetailing so this should be a treat.  These are my first (and hopefully last) dovetail saws.  I have been looking on eBay for used saws and wary of what I would get... able to be sharpened... straight blade... tightness of handle to saw, etc.  So, I decided to order all three, it comes out to a total of $159 (Lee Valley) which is $53 each, a savings of $12 per saw.  I have to admit I was hesitant because of the price.  I like to think I am getting what I pay for... so, is the price a sign of an inferior product?  I don't know.  I will find out.  Since I have never used a dovetail saw before I may not be a good judge.  I was considering the LN, mainly because I have been on this "Made in USA" kick  (I have been buying up used Stanley planes on eBay lately).  One LV by itself is half the price if you get the progressive cut on the LN.  As far as looks of the LV, looks do not matter to me. So the hang up on looks seems a vanity thing in my opinion... if I am busy looking at it then I must not be using it, so what's the point?   Where its made is important somewhat, called LV... made in Japan... and Canada I think... I like my Japanese truck, reliable and long lasting.  It is nice that the saws are able to be sharpened.   So,  I am heading into hand cut dovetailing for the first time and hopefully with a set of saws for the last time.   I already have two projects planned that will make use of these, my fiances knitting yarn box for Christmas and a workbench (need something heavy and stout that will hold work for dovetailing and planing!)  



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