We believe that our Back Saws are the finest made anywhere. They are an exact copy of a British saw made in 1830. Owning one is like having a piece of woodworking history in your shop.
Since dovetailing is a ripping operation, where the kerf is running with the grain, our Dovetail Saw has its teeth filed to a rip profile, unlike other dovetail saws on the market today. Solid milled Brass back, finest quality Swedish Steel blade, curly Maple handle and traditional Brass split nut saw bolts.With 15 points per inch, this Saw strikes an ideal balance between surface finish and speed. Teeth are set at .003" per side for a .026" kerf — narrow for straight cutting.
- 15 ppi rip.
- Length, including handle, is 15", with an overall height of 4¼" .
- Useable blade dimensions are 10" long by 1-5/8" deep x .020" thick.
Sawing:Your saw is a joy to use. Unlike most saws on the market, every Lie-Nielsen saw has been precision filed, set, and test cut in hardwood before it leaves the shop.
The first thing you'll need to know about your saw is how to hold it. This may seem obvious, but many people try to wrap all four fingers around the handle. The proper grip is to wrap the middle, ring, and little finger around the handle with the forefinger pointing along the brass back. You'll discover that in doing so, you will have much better control over how your saw tracks, and it will also feel very comfortable and natural.
Your saw is very sharp when it arrives. When starting a cut, hold the saw blade so it is flush with the top of the stock. It is not necessary to tilt your saw at an angle when cutting. Best performance is obtained by sawing slowly and evenly with very little downward pressure, using as much of the blade as possible. Your saw will track right to the line. Be aware, however, that due to the slight set, your saw will be hard to correct if it starts to cut away from the line. If that happens, it's because you didn't line it up properly when you started. Practice on some scrap wood to acquaint yourself with how your saw cuts. If you had a poor sawing technique before, your new saw will force you to learn the proper sawing technique. Don't worry — once learned, it'll be smooth cutting. If your saw seems to "grab" the wood and jump around in the kerf, you're using too much downward pressure. Ease up a bit and take long slow strokes.
Maintenance: It is a good idea to keep a coat of oil or silicon spray on your saw's blade when not in use. This will minimize the chance of rust forming on the blade. The blade is high carbon steel with no rust-inhibiting alloys added.Handle: The handle on your saw is finished with a wiping varnish for the beauty of a hand-rubbed finish. The handle nuts require a special screwdriver to remove.
Sharpening:The steel in your saw's blade is the best that's available. It is very hard (50-52R) and will stay sharp a long time. Eventually, however, you'll have to sharpen it. You can do this easily yourself with a little practice. We use a 5" double extra slim taper file to file the teeth on the saw. You can do the same if you're skilled at filing. If not, start with a smaller 4" extra slim taper file, which will make it easier to line up the file with the gullet for beginning filers. Files are available from us.
Take a couple of pieces of thin, straight scrap and clamp them in your vise on either side of the blade so that the top of the scrap is flush with the bottom of the gullets on the teeth. Take your file and take one swipe per tooth. Notice the small groove the file leaves in the wood. This is a good gauge to show you how deep you're filing. The teeth are so fine on your saw that no more than one pass per gullet should be necessary. If you use this method consistently, you shouldn't ever have to joint your saw. Of course, Dovetail Saw teeth are sharpened to a rip profile, so you can file all the teeth on the Dovetail Saw from the same side.
You can use a Stanley 42X saw set on our saws. The Stanley set may vary from ours, so experiment on a small area before you do the whole saw. Your saw blade should measure only .024 - .027" when properly set. The slight set is what makes the saw cut and track so well. If done improperly, you'll notice a drastic decrease in performance. You should only have to reset your blade after every other sharpening, not every time. The ultimate test of any setting job is how well the saw cuts. Take some scrap and start a cut. The saw should glide through the wood without jumping around in its kerf. It should not be hard to push, nor should it be roomy in the kerf. If either of these conditions exists, increase or decrease the set accordingly. If the saw tracks away from the line, the side on the saw that is furthest from the line has too much set. A simple remedy is to lightly stone the edge of the offending side with a medium India slip stone. Take one swipe with the stone, and try another cut. Usually only one or two passes with the stone will correct the problem. Don't remove too much, however, or you will have the same problem on the other side until not enough set is left to make a cut. Once you have determined by trial and error that you have just enough set on that particular saw, make a note of where your saw set is adjusted for future reference. You may also send your saw back to us for sharpening.