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Even if you have a gold-plated fancy-pants laser-guided dovetail saw, you should also own the $15 Zona dovetail saw because it’s so dang cheap and so dang handy for small-scale work. I’ve written a lot about this saw (check this entry for the background and copious links).

Bottom line: It’s served me well for years and years. Its only demerit is its handle, which tends to come loose. I tightened it first with rosin, which helped for a while. It came loose again, so I went nuclear on it and epoxied the tang into the handle. Problem solved.

You can get the saw from a lot of places, including Woodcraft, Amazon, and Lee Valley. Also, many hobby stores carry it as it’s a favorite among model makers.

The saw shines when making drawers. It has a thin kerf, is wicked sharp and is perfect for sawing 1/2″-thick material. (I don’t recommend it for cutting dovetails in 3/4” material or thicker – its gullets will clog immediately.)

One cautionary note: Don’t share your Zona with others. The sawplate is so thin that a single ham hand will kink it if the ham isn’t careful. Sure, you’re out only $15, but still. So, keep it deep in your tool chest.

— Christopher Schwarz

Read other entries in the Anarchist’s Gift Guide.

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