Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Review: Lie-Nielsen Progressive Cut Dovtail Saw

Some of you may recall from earlier posts that I have been on the hunt for a new dovetail saw. I saw the WWIA Conference a perfect time to pick one up. So one morning during the conference I strolled up to the booths. I walked around and give a few different saws a try. Picking a saw saw was very painful. I tried Mike Wensloff's, Veritas, and finally the Lie-Nielsen. While at the Lie-Nielsen booth I had a chance to try both the standard and progressive pitch saws side by side. What's a guy to do? They all cut great for me. I found the Lie-Nielsen saw more comfortable so that is the one I choose. I went with the progressive pitch saw because I hoped to do be doing a lot of carcass dovetailing as my skills improve. So I made my purchase and stowed it away in my little bag and headed out to my next lecture.

As fate would have it my next lecture was Advanced Dovetailing with Frank Klausz. I'm show up early to claim my territory. As I'm waiting, Frank is getting tools and wood sorted out to begin the class. A person, who I'm assuming is a Lie-Nielsen Rep., comes in and hands Frank a Lie-Nielsen Saw. Frank slides is eye glasses up and starts to take a keen interest in the teeth of the blade. At this point I knew they must be wanting Frank to try our the new progressive pitch saw. After a few seconds gazing at the blade he turns around, almost frantically, trying to find a piece of wood. He puts the wood in the vise and saws a few kerfs. He looks at the wood and the saw and muttered something that sounded like "very nice" in a thick hungarian accent. He then took it for a another test run. During the class Frank talked about the saw and used it to cut part of a blind mitered dovetail. I instantly started feeling better about my purchase now that it had Frank's seal of approval.

Some of you may be asking, "whats all this progressive pitch nonsense?" That simply means that on the toe of the saw it has fine teeth and and ask you go down the saw the teeth get more and more coarse. The Lie-Nielsen saw starts off with 16 ppi on the toe and goes down to 9 ppi on the heel. It gives you the best of both worlds, starts easy and cuts fast.

Since the conference I have been using the saw exclusively. I really do like the saw but it does take a little getting used to. It can really feel like a saw with a turbo. If your not careful you will over shoot your line. I'm sure all of us have the habit of sawing fairly rapidly until we get near the marking gauge line and then take a few short controlled strokes to bing us on down to the line. With this saw you have to modify your habits. If you take a couple light strokes on the heel of the saw you may drop 1/4". You really need to takes those last couple strokes on the toe.

Even though the saw is new, I find it very easy to start. The heel of the saw is still pretty catchy. I'm sure this saw will only get better with time. Like all Lie-Nielsen tools the fit and finish of the saw is impeccable. While this saw won't make you better at cutting dovetails it sure does make the experience more enjoyable. Just to use such a high quality tool give you a inspiration. Having faith in your tools gives you the confidence you need to push yourself to the next level. I would certainly recommend this saw to anyone.

I hear that Lie-Nielsen will be releasing a progressive pitch large tenon saw. I don't need this type of temtation in my life!


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