Best Dovetail Saws – Top Picks & Reviews 2020
The dovetail joint is an extremely common yet challenging cut that almost every serious woodworker will spend some time struggling to perfect. Many people don’t realize how vital the right saw is to complete the job. For most people, a saw is a saw, but there are quite a few differences between them.
We’ve chosen eight different types of dovetail saws to review for you so you can see the variety. We’ll go over what we like and don’t like about each brand so you can see what kind of features appeal to you. We have also included a short buyer’s guide where we take a close look a dovetail saws to see what exactly they are and what you should look for while shopping.
Please keep reading while we discuss handle comfort, teeth pitch, removable blades, and more to help you make an educated purchase.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites:
|Best Overall||Ryoba 2436515 Dovetail Saw||
|Dozuki “Z” Saw 7029 Dovetail Saw||
|Best Value||Okada Japanese Saw 110/7010 Dovetail Saw||
|IRWIN Tools 213104 Dovetail Saw||
|Robert Larson Two Cherries Dovetail Saw||
The 8 Best Dovetail Saws:
1. Ryoba 2436515 Dovetail Saw – Best Overall
The Ryoba 2436515 Dovetail Saw is our pick as the best overall dovetail saw. This saw features impulse-hardened teeth that will last many years with proper care. This double-edged saw can make several types of accurate cuts and is a modern variation of the Japanese pull-stroke saw.
We enjoyed using the Ryoba 2436515 Dovetail saw and were amazed at the accurate cuts we could make. The only real downside was there are no English instructions. Some people may not like how much patience is required to cut. It cuts very slow and trying to rush it can result in broken teeth.
To conclude, we think that this is the best dovetail saw on the market.
2. Dozuki “Z” Saw 7029 Dovetail Saw
The Z-saw Dozuki 7029 is our choice for runner-up for the best dovetail saw. This saw is ideal for precision joinery, and you can use it to make extremely accurate cuts. The rigid back handle helps you always keep a firm grip while manipulating the high carbon steel blade. The blades are removable for easy cleaning and replacement.
The Dozuki “Z” Saw 7029 Dovetail Saw is a nice tool, but the teeth dull a little too quickly for our liking. Like the top brand, this saw cuts very slowly, and once the blades dull, it’s impossibly slow. If you use this saw, expect to purchase plenty of replacement blades.
3. Okada Japanese Saw 110/7010 Dovetail Saw – Best Value
The Okada Japanese saw 110/7010 is our choice for best for the money. This saw is smaller and more affordable than the Dozuki, but in many ways, it is the same. It features an easy to remove blade, which helps when it needs cleaning or replacing. It’s lightweight yet well balanced, and the rigid back helps you keep a firm grip during delicate, precise cuts. The saw is extremely durable, and it’s likely only the blade will ever need repair or replacement.
The downside to the Okada Mini-Dozuki Panel Saw is that it is quite small. Especially when compared to the top two saws on this list. Shallow cuts, little more than two inches are all that’s possible with this precision saw. Another problem it has is it’s slow and only suitable for softer woods. Harder woods tend to dull the teeth quickly.
4. IRWIN Tools 213104 Dovetail Saw
The IRWIN Tools 213104 is an extremely lightweight saw that features a comfortable polymer handle and a 7¼-inch flexible blade. It has a 22-tooth count, and it’s exceptionally sharp. We found it works well for all types of cuts and excels in interior trim work.
The primary downside of the IRWIN Tools 213104 Dovetail Saw is that there are no replacement blades available. Once the teeth on the saw begin to dull, you will need to purchase a new saw. While we appreciate a flexible saw, we felt this one flexed a bit too much and comes across as flimsy.
5. Robert Larson Two Cherries Dovetail Saw
The Robert Larson Two Cherries 520-6020 is not the best dovetail saw on the market, but it features a large 10-inch blade that comes pre-sharpened. It’s German steel and has 15 teeth per inch (TPI). It’s an attractive looking saw and features a comfortable wooden handle.
There are a few negative aspects to the Robert Larsen Two Cherries 10” Brass Dovetail Saw as well. The blade dulls very quickly, and after a few cuts, we noticed that the handle felt loose, and there is no way to tighten it. The blade is too large for the number of teeth per inch, and while we found a few good uses for it, it was neither precise enough for intricate work nor sharp enough for large cutting jobs to keep around.
6. Spear & Jackson 9540B-91 Traditional Brass Back Tenon Saw
The Spear & Jackson 9540B-91 Traditional Brass Back Tenon Saw is an old-fashioned style saw that features a high carbon steel blade for extra sharpness and durability. The brass back helps reinforce the steel and adds to its attractive look. Universal teeth are perfect for general cuts and projects.
While we were reviewing the Spear & Jackson 9540B-91 Traditional Brass Back Tenon Saw, we felt that the handle was a little too small. When cutting several boards, the handle could become uncomfortable and prevent you from finishing the job.
7. PAX Thomas Flinn 1776 10 Inch Variable Pitch Dovetail Saw
The PAX Thomas Flinn 1776 10 Inch Variable Pitch Dovetail is a brand of saw made by Thomas Flinn of Sheffield England, the last traditional saw and plane makers in the UK. This saw features a variable pitch tooth design that begins with teeth at 20 TPI and ends with 10 TPI teeth. This variable pitch allows you to start cuts easier with one end of the saw while cutting faster using the other. This saw is hand sharpened and polished to a mirror finish.
The primary downside of the Thomas Flinn of Sheffield England is that it is quite expensive, and you can purchase several other saws on this list for less money. We also found the handle uncomfortable on this brand, and the sharp point hurt us a few times
8. Rob Cosman’s Dovetail Saw
Rob Cosman’s Dovetail Saw is the final saw on our list, but it’s far from being a bad saw. This saw was created by Rob Cosman, who is a professional woodworker and teacher that is very popular among student woodworkers. This brand uses a unique design that features a heavy brass back. This extra weight provides the downward pressure you need to make better cuts. This saw also features a variable pitch teeth scheme. The teeth close to the end of the saw are 22 TPI to help make it easier to get cuts tarted, while the teeth near the handle are 15 TPI which allows the saw to remove more material with each stroke.
The downside of Rob Cosman’s Dovetail Saw is that it’s unbelievably expensive. So much so, that it’s unlikely to be your first saw. Woodworkers that spend this kind of money on a saw know exactly what they are looking for and why.
Let’s find out what a dovetail saw is and what we should look for while we shop.
What is a dovetail saw?
A dovetail saw is for applications that require precision cuts and a clean appearance. This type of saw makes joints like the dovetail, where two pieces of wood must fit together snuggly.
Dovetail saws tend to have a skinny blade with a varying number of teeth. These blades are somewhat flexible and can get into tiny spaces. The blade is usually short and usually only cuts on the push stroke, though more and more brands use a pull stroke instead.
Teeth Per Inch – TPI
The teeth per inch or TPI, as it is often abbreviated, is a count of teeth per inch on a given blade. More teeth create a smoother cut while teeth spaced further apart can remove wood faster and cut much more quickly, but the blade can leave some jagged marks in the wood.
Most dovetail saws have blades with between 12 and 22 teeth per inch. Many modern saws use a variable TPI blade, which means the teeth closer to the handle will be spaced further apart for faster cutting.
The handle is an often overlooked, but vital part of any hand saw. Even gentle sawing can create a lot of stress on the hands, and the wrong handle can make any job more difficult. There are a few common types of handles, and we recommend getting familiar with each of them to determine which kind you like best.
The Ryoba 2436515 is the best dovetail saw on our list due to its inclusion of a second side for ripping, and its super thin and precise blade. The Z-saw Dozuki 7029 is our runner-up due to its easy-to-change blades and sturdy design. The Okada Japanese saw 110/7010 is our choice for best value, including a sturdy blade with a woodpecker tooth and rigid back, all for a great price.
Hopefully, our reviews have helped you learn about dovetail saws. Now that you know what makes for a great dovetail saw, you should able to find the model that works best for you and also comes at a price that you’ll love, too.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites:
- The 8 Best Dovetail Saws:
- 1. Ryoba 2436515 Dovetail Saw – Best Overall
- 2. Dozuki “Z” Saw 7029 Dovetail Saw
- 3. Okada Japanese Saw 110/7010 Dovetail Saw – Best Value
- 4. IRWIN Tools 213104 Dovetail Saw
- 5. Robert Larson Two Cherries Dovetail Saw
- 6. Spear & Jackson 9540B-91 Traditional Brass Back Tenon Saw
- 7. PAX Thomas Flinn 1776 10 Inch Variable Pitch Dovetail Saw
- 8. Rob Cosman’s Dovetail Saw
- Buyer’s Guide