Best Dovetail Saw in 2021 – Reviews & Buyers Guide

When you are preparing your toolbox with all of the things a woodworker could possibly need, a dovetail saw might just need to be on the list. This type of saw takes it old school to days of years ago with your hand tools in some ways but it’s a classic saw that can be really great when you need precision and a neat finish.

Where a rip saw or cross cut saw are meant for fast cutting and power, these dovetail saws are designed for finesse but still provide saw power for you. Lie Nielsen would agree that dovetail saws are a must have and if you are going to invest in one, you may as well go with the best dovetail saws available.

Whether you want a sturdy saw handle for your tool kit or your password to the best saw for dovetails is more like brass, rip cut, or another category, we’ve got you covered. There are quite a few options on the market when it comes to hand saw offers so it’s up to you (and us!) to determine which ones are more your style for all of the things.

In this article, we will share with you Top rated dovetail saws models with full dovetail saw review details. With various makers that are more for beginners to products designed for the machine shop or woodworking, we’ve got you covered with the greatest hand saws dovetail saws on the market.

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Stick with us to learn more!

A man using one of the best dovetail saw
Image by Ono Kosuki from Pexels

Top Rated Dovetail Saw Reviews

In this part of our guide, we will share our top inbox picks, with inspiration from Lie Nielsen, Rob Cosman, Bad Axe, and other experts as well as tested question and answer segments to guide us while you shop. We’ve taken from various categories to provide you with a variety of tools that fall into the dovetail saw category so that you can make the choice that’s right for you.

Let’s take a look!

1. Best Overall: Veritas Dovetail Fine Cut Saw

This first option is a Veritas Dovetail Fine Cut Saw that is our top pick overall. When it comes to hand tools, particularly saws, Veritas does it right. This is a specialty saw so it can be hard to find on places like Amazon but whether you want inspiration from Lie Nielsen or another source, the Veritas is the best saw hands down and it simply can’t be overlooked as a tool in this review series.

The Veritas dovetail shown here is a fine cut Veritas model tenon saw. It does not have rip teeth and it is not a carcass saw. This really has a fine, smooth blade with 20 TPI. The saws blade on this Veritas dovetail measures to 9 1/4. It is thin and fine at about .20 inches thick. The dovetail joints really stand out on these beautifully made tenon saws from Veritas. It really takes you back to years ago and the way that tools were genuinely made before power tools ruled the world.

Without question the Veritas dovetail is a solid tool. The spine is made with stainless steel materials that are advanced. You get the perfect weight while also a quality stiffness level so you can remain sturdy for a fine cut. Everything comes together with a quality wooden handle that saw makers and woodworking experts like Lie Nielsen rave over. There is nothing that isn’t great about this Veritas dovetail saw.

The classic bubinga handle will make your saw cuts that much better, even as a beginner in woodworking. Every caption and every detail, right down to the tooth size and the detail of the plate thickness. Veritas puts quality into their best saw design and you won’t be disappointed.

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Why We Like It

In terms of the best, even Lie Nielsen or Bad Axe would tell you not to overlook these saws. Veritas learned years ago that quality matters and you can see that in every aspect of this tool. For a dovetails saw, it really doesn’t get much better than this old school option that stands apart from many other saws.

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2. Budget Pick: Irwin Tools Dovetail Saw 10-Inch

Workpro 16-Piece Nylon Spring Clamp Set

Next up is Irwin Tools Dovetail Saw 10-Inch , an option with fast shipping, cutting wood your way, and a budget friendly price. Sometimes less is more and you see that finely displayed in this 10 inch dovetail saw. It’s similar to come carcass saws categories and can handle a cross cut pretty well.

The rake angle is unique with a visual that allows this one to provide accuracy and precision when you need it. Irwin has always been a reliable tools brand and we saw that in line with these saws on our top list. The price is right and the quality is there on this one overall.

These hand tools offer 14 TPI and look like a tenon saw. The blade is a bit thicker, measuring in at 2 inches. We typically like to see 1/2 an inch less than this or so but it seems to work for these saws just fine. These can even be used like back saws and offer a smooth motion.

The nice thing is that this even has a reversible blade that is spring loaded so you can adjust your tools to use it for left or right cutting, whichever you need. It’s very light weight, weighing less than a pound in your hand. Not like those heavy saws of years ago but still heavy enough to do what you need to do!

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Why We Like It

Irwin has a way of making woodworking tools simple and this one really fits the bill. There is more to appreciate with sturdy teeth TPI measurements and a versatile handle to cut your wood the way you want to. This one is a winner and a budget friendly one for woodworking at that.

3. Suizan Japanese Dozuki Dovetail Hand Saw

Suizan Japanese Dozuki Dovetail Hand Saw (IRHT83220)

Let’s dive a little deeper with this option, Suizan Japanese Dozuki Dovetail Hand Saw. The makers of this Japanese dovetail saw take you back in time. This almost looks like a saw that you just hack away with it but it really is so much more than that. This is a dovetail saw with a long handle and sharp and reliable teeth. There is no brass, and no cross cut technique, just a pulling handle with a dovetail saw design.

These dovetail saws require less power because they allow you to pull instead of push while you cut wood. It’s comfortable in your hand and will probably save you some time when you get to work. This one is from a company that has made hand tools for some time – more than 100 years, in fact.

These saws are made in Japan, using Japanese craftsmanship that really stands apart whether you like this dovetail saw or what a tenon saw or carcass saw instead. Their back saws are old school and very reliable. Even Lie Nielsen would have to agree with that statement!

These saws use top notch Japanese steel for the teeth of the tool. Cuting is sharp and reliable every time you use this dovetail saw. It really is one of the best saws out there for a number of reasons. It’s a great way to diversify your saws and bring some additional versatility to the workplace.

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Why We Like It

These dovetails saws are certainly another for the books and we have no doubt Lie Nielsen would agree with that caveat. This one is another winner with a whole different approach than your traditional dovetail saw design. It offers versatility and simplicity but quality is key.

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4. Zona 35-380 Thick Dovetail Saw

Zona 35-380 Thick Dovetail Saw

If you’re looking for a dovetail saw with more than 15 TPI but not quite 20, Zona 35-380 Thick Dovetail Saw might be right for you. This is another affordable dovetail saw that is well-made and also highly rated across the board. It has 18 TPI and a sturdy wooden handle. This one really resembles a lot of your old woodworking tools that you could always rely on.

This dovetail saw from Kona offer a thick kerf and very long blades. The blades are made to be razor sharp and long to give you the ability to move with ease and work quickly while not negating the power of the dovetail and the grace that you need for cutting with this type of saw.

This dovetail saw is made in the USA, which is always an added bonus. The saw can be used for pushing quite easily and the long blades let you cut with more force. The nice thing is you can get your graceful cut but you can also apply force for your projects.

This saw is very long in comparison to some saw models out there. The total length is about 13 inches and the handle really only takes up a small portion of that length. Remember that this saw was made for more force with with a gentle dovetail nature that we rely on with dovetail saws.

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Why We Like It

This saw stands out to us because you can cut with force and you have quite a bit more length than a lot of dovetail saws out there. This saw is affordable enough that you can have several on hand, even if you work through them quickly.

5. Thomas Flinn Pax Taytools 8-Inch Gent Dovetail Saw

Thomas Flinn Pax Taytools 8-Inch Gent Dovetail Saw

The Thomas Flinn Pax Taytools 8-Inch Gent Dovetail Saw Pax 1776 model is another option that just might take you back to another time. It’s got a gorgeous wood handle and a brass spine. This woodworking saw has 20 teeth each inch. The Pax 1776 has all of the appeal of a fancy model but is really not overly expensive. It’s a highly rated option across the board.

This saw has a plate that measures about 8 inches long. It is thin as it should be, measuring just about 5/8 of an inch in width. It’s a size that always makes a good dovetail solution. The kerf is only about .028 inches wide, which complements the rest of the design quite well.

The solid brass spine looks great but also has a positive effect on the design of the saw as well. It’s slightly weighted so your cutting is smooth and accurate. It also keeps your blades stiff for some added precision and the ability to stay in the lines.

These blades are perfect for woodworking with their high carbon steels materials. This also makes them durable and long-lasting and sharp. You won’t have to sharpen them often hopefully but they are easy to sharpen if perhaps you do!

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Why We Like It

We know that every saw has its downfalls but we weren’t able to find out just what they were with this dovetail saw. It’s sleek and simple and is designed exactly as an authentic dovetail style saw really should be.

6. Lynx LDB8R 8-Inch 20 TPI Rip Dovetail Saw

Lynx LDB8R 8-Inch 20 TPI Rip Dovetail Saw

Let’s wrap up these best saw options with Lynx LDB8R 8-Inch 20 TPI Rip Dovetail Saw, a premium selection that is in a world all its own. This sleek and handy saw costs a little bit more than some but the quality and craftsmanship are divine. It’s a highly rated saw that will do quite nicely and holds up against the throes of your work.

This is a shorter saw model that is designed with the ability to both rip and dovetail, which is a unique combination. The blades on these are only about 8 inches long, with a gleaming wooden handle. This allows you total control for precision but also allows you to move fast with your work.

This saw is finely made and you can see that displayed from the tip of the handle to the edge of the blades. Lynx saws are made in England. This particular saw uses a high quality carbon steel combined with a beech handle. The spine is brass and slightly weighted without being overbearing.

The weight and tension are well rounded. This has 20 teeth or TPI rather than some of the traditional 15 TPI choices out there. This just makes quicker work and more accuracy overall. The saw can be sharpened but it should also be durable and lasting.

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Why We Like It

This one quite literally catches our eye because it has a very sleek design. Beyond that, it’s still a well built saw that truly will let you dovetail with precise control and accuracy and a good amount of teeth to power through.

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Dovetail Saw Buyer’s Guide

Dovetail saw and other woodworking tools on the table
Image by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

Now that we have shared a variety of dovetail saw options for you, it’s time to talk about why these make our top list. It’s a good idea to keep in mind that what is best for you might not be the same as what is best for another person. We all have different needs and preferences and you should keep that at the forefront as you pick out a saw.

In this section, we will share some features and information to consider before you purchase a saw. The goal is simply to provide you with all of the knowledge you should have in order to make an informed decision. We certainly want you to be happy with your selection.

Benefits of a Dovetail Saw

If you’re still on the fence as to whether this is a good option, let’s talk about the benefits of such a saw. It really does have a special purpose. Where some saws are built for power and speed, these are built for finesse. Take a look at these benefits.

Clean Finish

A dovetail saw will allow you to work quickly but so much more smoothly. The end result is a cut that is smooth and clean rather than raw and sometimes rough. This saw was designed for precision, accuracy, and smooth finishes rather than just chopping or cutting and you can definitely tell that in the finish when you compare the results.

Small Cuts

Another nice benefit of the dovetail is you can go for precise, even when you are working with small cuts. You can make small cuts and you can do it so much more precisely. You have far more control and you are less likely to overcut. When it comes to design of your project and the look, this will make a difference in the quality of your work.

Simple Maintenance

The dovetails saw is pretty easy to maintain. Because of their design, they usually have some high quality materials built into them, which means they are generally built to last. Maintenance and sharpening is simple and when your blades won’t stay sharp, you can typically replace them cheaply. A dovetail saw should last you for quite some time.

Features to Consider

Now, let’s talk about the overall design and some of the features you should keep in mind.

Blades

The blades do matter here. Not only should you pay attention to the general TPI but you should pay attention to the material, length, and thickness of the blades as well. Honestly, the blades really make the saw here. This is the part of the saw that you are really going to put to work. If your blades are junk, then your saw won’t do you a lot of good.

You want to have a sharp edge and you want to be able to maintain it easily. Check out the TPI measurements and know if there is a certain number that you are after. Dovetail saws fall between 14 and 20 typically on this scale.

Be aware that not all blades are made the same. They can have a cutting edge on one or both sides and this might make a difference for your tasks.

Handles

Next up is the second most important element – the handles. You need steady and sure but also comfortable. If this type of saw is meant for precision and smooth work, then your handle needs to complement that purpose.

You need control and it needs to be steady control. You need to be able to comfortably grip that handle and stay comfortable using it while you move and work. The handle should never be overly large but certainly large enough to accommodate your hands and comfort.

Skill Level

We all start somewhere. If you’re still at a starting point, it might be better for you to start with something simple and inexpensive while you build your skills. Ultimately, as a beginner, you should look for sharp and steady. It’s ok to use the affordable options to train your skills as long as you are still choosing a quality option.

You may end up going through several saws before you settle on a fit or really build your skill out of a beginning level. Take your time and know that we were all beginners at one time.

Budget

Finally, the bottom line is the price. You can find a pretty wide range of prices on the market and we tried to provide some price versatility here as well for your options. Know what you can spend and stay within that range.

You may want to consider that some of the more expensive models are designed to last longer so sometimes paying a little bit more really pays off in the end. The good news is that if you can’t spend a lot, you can still get a quality choice that you will be quite happy with.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Makes a Good Dovetail Saw?

A man using a dovetail saw for his woodworks
Image by Ono Kosuki from Pexels

The best dovetail saw will always have a good proportion of blades and handles. You want something with just enough weight and balance that you have total control for your efforts. Look for quality of materials and the overall build for a balance.

What is the Difference Between a Dovetail Saw and a Tenon Saw?

These saws are very similar in shape and design but the tenon saw still has a cross cut approach that can result in a rough finish. Tenons are typically used for rips and cutting while a dovetail is used for smooth precision.

Do I Need a Dovetail Saw?

Yes! If you do any type of work that requires smooth cuts along the way, grab yourself a dovetail saw. You won’t regret it.

What is the Use of a Dovetail Saw?

You can use a dovetail small for careful precision but it is also commonly used for making dovetail joints. Either of these is a suitable use of the saw.

Conclusion

Choosing a dovetail saw doesn’t have to be a chore. With so many options out there, it can quickly be overwhelming. We hope we are able to help with that here today. We did our best to choose wisely and provide you with an array of options to fit just about any need.

What is your next project going to be?

Expert Tip

Look for something with at least 14 TPI. A dovetail can range from 14-20 and we recommend sticking to the higher end for the smoothest cut around.

Did You Know?

The dovetail saw was initially designed to cut dovetails, hence the name. It has since become the preferred solution for any type of smooth and precise cuttings needs you could possibly have!

Amazon Recommends:

Bestseller No. 1
SUIZAN Japanese Dozuki Dovetail Hand Saw 7 Inch Pull Saw for Cross-cut, Rip-cut, Slant Cutting
  • JAPANESE STYLE PULL SAW: This product is a “Pull Saw.” What most people are used to are European saws, which cut materials via pushing, thus are called “push saws.” On the other hand, Japanese saws cut materials via pulling and thus are called “pull saws,” which is what this product is. In comparison to “push saws,” “pull saws” are lighter in weight, requires less power, and the resulting edge is cleaner.
  • JAPANESE STEEL: All SUIZAN japanese saws are consisted of top quality japanese steel. It uses high quality Japanese steel, which makes cuts to be sharp.
  • MADE IN JAPAN: All SUIZAN products are manufactured in Japan by Japanese master craftsmen.With a history of over 100 years in making japanese hand tools, all of the process gone into making tools were completed in one of Japan’s towns known for their craft making tradition: Sanjō in Niigata
  • DIVERSIFY YOUR WOODWORKING LIFE: No matter you are a master or a beginner in using saws, it gives you brand new experience from using traditional Japanese style saws and enables you to make a wider variety of woodworking products, thus change your life!
SaleBestseller No. 2
IRWIN Dovetail Saw, 10-Inch (2014450)
  • This dovetail saw uses a spring-loaded, reversible blade that can be used for left- or right-cutting
  • The ProTouch handle on each jamb saw provides ergonomic comfort
  • A Wide-Body Flush-Cut blade on this dovetail saw measures 50 mm
  • 14-pt. tooth count
  • 10" blade length and 2" blade thickness
Bestseller No. 3
SUIZAN Japanese Dozuki Dovetail Hand Saw 6 Inch Pull Saw for woodworking
  • JAPANESE STYLE PULL SAW: This product is a “Pull Saw.” What most people are used to are European saws, which cut materials via pushing, thus are called “push saws.” On the other hand, Japanese saws cut materials via pulling and thus are called “pull saws,” which is what this product is. In comparison to “push saws,” “pull saws” are lighter in weight, requires less power, and the resulting edge is cleaner.
  • JAPANESE STEEL: All SUIZAN Japanese saws are consisted of top quality japanese steel. It uses high quality Japanese steel, which makes cuts to be sharp.
  • MADE IN JAPAN: All SUIZAN products are manufactured in Japan by Japanese master craftsmen.With a history of over 100 years in making japanese hand tools, all of the process gone into making tools were completed in one of Japan’s towns known for their craft making tradition: Sanjō in Niigata
  • DIVERSIFY YOUR WOODWORKING LIFE: No matter you are a master or a beginner in using saws, it gives you brand new experience from using traditional Japanese style saws and enables you to make a wider variety of woodworking products, thus change your life!