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Last year at a class I taught at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking (MASW), I was amazed at the different mallets class participants brought with them. I couldn’t believe the choices were so varied, so I posted a photo and blog entry (click here to read that entry). What surprises me even more is that a few of those same mallets were in this year’s class , I’m not sure if those woodworkers were repeat offenders paying their debt to society or simply crazy enough to take another class under my tutelage.
This year at MASW what caught my eye, mallets aside, were the different dovetail saws being used. The samples shown above are just a few of the different saws woodworkers dragged into the class. It’s not all the examples; I just gathered up the different tools within reach.
If you’re a dovetail saw aficionado, you should be able to name the saws from right to left or left to right. But I’m willing to bet that the one with the big blue handle gives some of you fits. If you blow up the photo to get a closer look, you’ll see the name Marples (manufactured by Irwin Industrial Tool Company) printed on the saw. Most of us know that name for chisels, but this saw proves there’s more to Marple’s than plastic-handled chisels.
If you do an Internet search for a Marple’s Pull Saw (in shopping mode with Google), you’ll find dozens of listings with as many prices to match. In fact, would you be surprised to find that saw priced at $79? I was. Especially because you can find it priced elsewhere at below $20. (But then I saw that the higher price was a four-pack of saws!).
I couldn’t resist giving the saw a turn, so I laid out a couple dovetails and took it for a spin. It worked fine. As a former dozuki user who appreciates a pull-stroke cut, I enjoyed having a more-stout handle to work with. I doubt you’ll find the Marple’s saw at the Woodworking in America: Hand Tools and Techniques Conference, but you will find a number of the other saws available at the free Marketplace.

– Glen D. Huey

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Showing 4 comments
  • Thomas Daniel

    I believe the $79.00 price point was for a pack of 4 ,if you read the item description.Which after I re-read your article again,you already know!
    It’s late,I’m going to bed,since I’m already asleep. ZZZZ

  • Woodworking

    Wow, it’s been a year or two since I’ve used a handsaw. I’m so reliant on power tools!

  • Greg

    Maybe I’m the only one that feels this way but here goes: I try to avoid, whenever possible, purchasing anything marketed by the Irwin Industrial Tool Company (including items produced by their divisions like Quick-Grip clamps, Vise Grip pliers, Hanson drills and taps). This is the company, after all, that bought, and then closed down, Record, thus depriving woodworkers of quality Record vises, planes, spokeshaves and many other tools. More recently, they moved Marples chisel production from England to the Far East. I guess I’d like to know if anyone else out there feels the same way.

  • Mike

    Glad to see this article. That is the same saw that I have been using for a couple of years with nice results. It’s nice to hear someone else say this inexpensive tool works well. It makes me feel somewhat justified to be a tightwad. I found it at the borg.

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