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Dovetail Saw, Graduated Rake

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Gee, do you know if you can purchase a saw already set this way?

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44 minutes ago, Chet said:

Gee, do you know if you can purchase a saw already set this way?

Seems to me Cosman and another brand that escapes me right now (Adria maybe???) come this way.  

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I've never had a rip saw in my hand with anything like that much rake.   I thought 8 was a lot of rake for a rip saw.   They were sold with what they called "incremental" rake in the mid 19th Century, for the same reason of making it easier to start.   For starting a rip saw of any size,  I just back up across a corner until there is a flat large enough for two or three teeth to ride on.

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I have the Cosman saw and you are correct between this and the heavier back my favorite handsaw by far.

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The Veritas saw is filed as a rip with a 14 degree rake.  I followed this when I tuned it up.  As an experiment I went back and filed the first 10 teeth at 20 degrees and the next 10 at 17 degrees leaving the balance of the length at the stock 14 degrees. 

After a few test starts in various materials (including some difficult ash that I have around) I'm sold on the graduated rake on the first teeth.  I can start and cut to the line in just a few strokes.  I just wanted to share the experience in case there is someone else out there who struggles with the starting cut more often than not, as I did.

This is really a waste of time, and I state this in case others attempt to follow your lead. All you are effectively doing is shortening the saw plate.

The average rake for most rip dovetail saws is about 4-5 degrees, and less (my LN is 0 degrees rake). The Veritas has an already very relaxed 14 degree rake. If you find this difficult still, then the issue is technique. The common difficulty is learning to take the weight off the saw when starting. This requires practice, and this may take a year or more - usually much more...

Regards from Perth

Derek

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Out of curiosity, I looked at my rip saws today.  No backsaws are over 4 degrees (3 rip-2 at 0), and all the handsaws (5 rip) are 0, with one at about 3.   I don't bother to measure degrees when I'm filing.  For a rip saw, the filing edge is held vertical, or a little off if I want it to be a little softer.   Similar for crosscut saws, with the top of the file held flat (level) or a little off towards more vertical rake if I'm inclined, and want a faster cut for a softer wood.

I always back up to start a hand saw, and never really thought about it much.  Today, I did a little sawing to try to figure out why, and I think it's as much for getting a feel of the particular board, as making a little flat to start on.  Different boards, even of the same type of wood, require different pressure to make the cut.  This is why I would make a poor instructor.   I do a lot of stuff without even thinking about it, or ever thinking about why I do something a particular way.

Back when I first started building houses, I hired the best carpenters I could find.  The good ones were always older, although mostly younger than I am now.   All fine finish cuts were made with a handsaw, after making the mark with a preacher.  All siding, baseboard, and wide casing would have been cut with a handsaw, and a perfect fit expected off the saw.  Cutting joinery for furniture, like dovetails,  really requires the same sort of control, and if you're good at one, you can quickly become good at the other.

 I never remember seeing any of the old guys not back up a hand saw to start.  They all sharpened their own saws too, and no one else would dare touch someone elses saw.

  With a regular rake (let's call that 0 to 4 degrees of rake for a rip saw), you can't have any reluctance at starting, and making the cut, but it gets the job done very efficiently.

With a lot in woodworking, reluctance is the hardest thing I see beginners having to overcome.

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I believe this is known as sash filing. If it helps you, I am not sure why anyone would care to crap on it. I don’t file that way and back up to start a cut...but since I don’t file that way I refuse to talk it down. Not trying it does not make someone an expert in that area. If that were so there would never be innovation. I am not sure this is necessary innovation, but the response here is not helping any sharing on this type of forum. This is only a statement of principle and an objection to the tone of the response. I don’t lack respect for either of the woodworkers with negative feedback. 

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Just to reiterate, the filing of variable rake for dovetail saws is not a new idea. I have a couple (one is a sash saw from Eccentric Tools, which is no longer made, and the other is a dovetail saw from Glen-Drake). Yes, it can help with sawing, but it takes you down the wrong path. It is a solution to the wrong problem. The problem is technique, and the solution is to learn to hold a saw very lightly (as it holding a small bird), and use it with light pressure. In the end you will be rewarded with a skill that enables you to use a saw that is really designed to cut quickly to cut accurately.

Regards from Perth

Derek

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