While I was poking around the Blue Spruce Toolworks booth at Woodworking in America and trying to figure out how I could escape without spending money (and failing), something curious caught my eye on the workbench. It was a beech-handled dovetail saw that looked familiar.
It was a Wenzloff & Sons saw that was modeled after the early Kenyon dovetail saw that surfaced at the Woodworking in America conference in Berea, Ky., last year. (Read about the saw here.) Wenzloff said he was going to make them for sale and even showed me a prototype, but this was the first time I’d seen the finished product.
Dave Jeske of Blue Spruce let me take the saw for a test drive. As far as I could tell, the saw felt exactly the same in my hand as the vintage one (which I got to borrow for a while after the conference). The only difference was that the blade wasn’t kinked and the beech wasn’t covered in 200 years of patina.
Like all Wenzloff saws I’ve used, this one cut beautifully and left just a whisper of a kerf behind. Honestly, I don’t know how anyone can choose a new dovetail saw these days with all the outstanding makers. Because there are so many good choices, you can make decisions based on what feels best to your hand, what looks good to your eye and what tooth filing suits your work.
This early Kenyon saw has some interesting characteristics. I think this saw is well-suited for a woodworker who builds a lot of drawers for casework because of its fine pitch. Here are the details supplied by Wenzloff:
– 8-3/16″ blade length
– Usable depth is a nominal 1.25″ (toe) to 1.5″ (heel)
– 0.018″-thick saw plate
– 20 ppi filed rip
– 5/8″-wide brass back
– European Beech handle–Oiled and shellac finish
– The saw is $140 plus $15 shipping to the continental United States.
And here’s some more saw news for you: Wenzloff says he will be reproducing early versions of the Kenyon carcase, sash and large tenon saws from the same era (benefactors loaned Wenzloff some originals so he could take accurate measurements. Wenzloff will be taking orders for these saws directly. And look for a secure order form to appear on his web site this fall.
– Christopher Schwarz