I pretty much eat coping saw blades for breakfast.
Just about every piece of casework I do involves dovetails (sometimes more than 100 in a single piece such as a tool chest), so a coping saw is almost always on the bench to remove waste.
For years I have used the Olson coping saw blades and been quite happy with them, especially compared to the home-center dreck. My only complaint about the Olsons is they are over-set. And my attempts to remove the set in a simple, easy and fast way have not succeeded.
This week while in England, I got to use coping saw blades from Pegas, which has long made high-quality scrollsaw blades and fretsaw blades. Years ago, Lee Marshall of Knew Concepts and Thomas Lie-Nielsen both sent me some samples of fretsaw blades they were examining.
At the time, none of us could get our hands on pin-ended coping saw blades from Pegas that were 6-1/2” long – the standard size.
But lo and behold, Workshop Heaven in the U.K. carries five different pitches of Pegas coping saw blades in the 6-1/2” lengths. I used the 18-point skip-tooth blade (No. 90.550) and was amazed. I was so amazed that I bought 10 packages of the blades.
They are not over-set. And the blade is thin enough to drop into a kerf left by a thin-kerf dovetail saw. The blade is .02” thick, which fits fine in a kerf cut by a .015” saw that has any set to the teeth.
The teeth are sharp, finely ground and cut remarkably smooth. Because of all these properties, I was able to dovetail an entire Dutch tool chest without bending or breaking a blade. Then two more students used the same blade to remove all the waste on their Dutch tool chests and the blade was still in excellent shape. That is impressive.
I did a quick search and couldn’t find this particular 18-point skip-tooth blade – the 90.550 – for sale in the United States. But if someone knows where to get it, leave a note in the comments.
— Christopher Schwarz
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