The first stroke of the saw is the most critical when hand-cutting joinery. If you can start with a smooth stroke right on the line, you’re most of the way to success. Momentum will take over, and a good saw will track in the kerf left by the first stroke. Many woodworkers struggle with this; it isn’t easy to concentrate on the position of the saw and start it moving with just the right touch. Push a little too hard or lean a little bit and a tooth can grab, sending your cut off course. Glen-Drake Toolworks has introduced a new saw with an unusual tooth configuration that makes starting and maintaining a good cut significantly easier.
The long, angled handle may look like a Japanese saw, but this cuts on the push stroke. The hand-turned handle is comfortable, and the shape allows you to make cuts angled from vertical without twisting your wrist. If you’re new to cutting dovetails you won’t need to learn to control the saw from three different hand positions. If you want to use it as a pull saw you can; the blade is held to the thick brass back will Allen screws. It’s reversible and replaceable.
The tooth configuration is unlike any other saw. The first couple inches have no teeth, from there the teeth progress from 16 teeth per inch (tpi) to 12tpi, the middle of the blade has 12tpi for a couple inches, and from the middle to the back, the progression reverses, ending with a toothless section. This removes friction from the teeth grabbing at the beginning and end of each stroke. If you use the Glen-Drake Kerf Starter (a small scraper-like knife that cuts a channel the width of the saw kerf) you can drop the toe of the saw in the slot and a simple push gets your cut started. You can also start a cut against a marking gauge or pencil line. With no teeth to drag it’s easy to push the saw along the line and the fine teeth follow along to get the cut started. Then the coarser teeth come along to remove material quickly.
The new saw is available directly from Glen-Drake, but it doesn’t appear yet on the company’s web site. Send an e-mail or make a call for details and to order. Like other Glen-Drake products, the saw is made in the United States, and the material, fit and finish, and attention to detail are all first-rate. It’s a good value for $129.