The Best Dovetail Saw Reviews & Guide

Last Updated: by Peter Lynn

Painters have their thin brushes, stonemasons have their chisels, and when it comes to carpenters, the perfect option for fine cuts is the dovetail saw. Although primarily known for its use in designing dovetail joints, a dovetail saw is a great option when targeting fine and tidy finishes.

Dovetail saws on the market come in many sizes and shapes, each tailored for a specific segment of the woodworking industry. While this diversity is good because it provides you with more options to select from, it also implies that picking the perfect piece for your workshop can be a serious challenge.

To help you identify the best dovetail saw for your workshop, we selected and reviewed the top options on the market. Check the reviews closely and pick the right piece for you — no need for guesswork!

Our favorite is the GYOKUCHO Ryoba Saw. With its balanced construction, impulse-hardened teeth, and double-sided blade, it will be a great addition to your workshop.

Our Top Dovetail Saws Are…

ProductDetails
1. GYOKUCHO Ryoba Double Edge Razor Saw

  • Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Dimensions: 13 x 4 x 0.1 inches
  • Blade material and size: Steel, 9.4 inch
  • Teeth configuration: 1.7mm teeth pitch
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2. Suizan Japanese Pull Saw

  • Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Dimensions: 24.7 x 1.3 x 4.5 inches
  • Blade material: Japanese steel
  • Blade size: 9.5 inches
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3. IRWIN 213104 Dovetail Saw

  • Weight: 3.84 ounces
  • Dimensions: 14.5 x 2.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Blade length: 7.25 inches
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4. Zona 35-380

  • Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Dimensions: 13 x 4 x 1 inches
  • Blade length: 8 inch
  • Teeth configuration: 18 teeth per inch (TPI)
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1. GYOKUCHO Ryoba Double Edge Razor Saw — First Choice

This Ryoba Double Edge Razor Saw from Gyokucho is our first choice. The saw’s design borrows from the traditional Japanese dovetail models but comes with modern enhancements that make it more efficient and easy to use.

This saw comes with impulse-hardened teeth carefully designed to reduce wearing and tearing. Furthermore, the blade is thick and long so that you can make more accurate cuts with less effort.

Another remarkable thing about this blade is that it is two-sided. We liked this because it provides you with more cutting options: you can use one side for ripping and the other for cross-cutting.

To make sawing with this dovetail saw easier, its handle is long so that you can use both hands when necessary. We found this crucial, especially when cutting tough materials or requiring greater control for precision.

Specs

  • Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Dimensions: 13 x 4 x 0.1 inches
  • Blade material and size: Steel, 9.4 inch
  • Teeth configuration: 7mm teeth pitch

Pros

  • Cuts using the pull stroke which requires less effort
  • Can be used to cut a wide variety of joints
  • Teeth are impact hardened and durable
  • Blade is replaceable
  • Easy and fun to use

Cons

  • Expensive

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2. Suizan Japanese Pull Saw

Coming in the second position is this Suizan Japanese Ryoba Saw, which is designed with high-quality Japanese steel. Because it cuts with the pull stroke, we established that it requires less power compared to others that use forward stroke, even when cutting tough materials.

The saw’s blade is thin, sharp, and rugged for faster sawing. Since it is made of steel, you can expect it to last over a long time. But you know what? When you feel that the blade is no longer effective, you can replace it. Simply get a new blade, remove the screw on the handle, insert the new blade, and the saw will become as good as new.

When Suizan designs its products, they use one trick that works wonders — making them super light. Weighing only 5.6 ounces, this dovetail saw is very light and you can work with it without getting tired easily.

Specs

  • Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Dimensions: 24.7 x 1.3 x 4.5 inches
  • Blade material: Japanese steel
  • Blade size: 9.5 inches

Pros

  • Requires less effort to make clean cuts
  • Easy to use
  • You can use both hands when cutting
  • Constructed to last
  • The blade is replaceable

Cons

  • The thin blade tends to bend when sawing fast

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3. IRWIN 213104 Dovetail Saw

Today, the leading dovetail saws on the market are the Japanese models, so Irwin sought to break this trend with this IRWIN Tools 213104. They borrowed heavily from the Japanese models when designing this saw, which has become a darling of many carpenters.

The saw comes with a short blade of 7.25 inches that makes it a great option for precision cutting. Besides, its induction-hardened teeth allow you to easily rip even the tough materials. We also found the blade flexible, which makes it a good option for interior trim work, detailed work on furniture, and flush cutting on dowels.

Another likable attribute of this dovetail saw is its polymer handle. It is firm and comfortable to use even when cutting tough materials over long sessions. Also, the handle works with the release button so that you can toss safely without worrying about damage to the surrounding materials.

Specs

  • Weight: 3.84 ounces
  • Dimensions: 14.5 x 2.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Blade length: 7.25 inches

Pros

  • Light and easy to use by both experts and newbies
  • Comes with induction hardened teeth
  • Its polymer handle is firm and comfortable

Cons

  • The dovetail saw blade is not replaceable
  • It is not suitable for rip cuts

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4. Zona 35-380

This Zona 35-380 is uniquely designed for high-performance. With its thick blade, the saw makes cutting otherwise difficult channels easy. This is why amateurs and pro carpenters who try this saw end up finding it an irreplaceable tool for their toolboxes.

When designing this saw, Zona wanted to get a unique model that carpenters could use for making deep and fine cuts. They did not disappoint. The saw comes with a long blade of 12.5 inches that can make cuts of up to 1.75 inches.

To make using the saw easy and fast, it has a firm wooden handle that allows you to control the tool with just one hand. This means that the other hand is free so that you can grab the workpiece for extra firmness when cutting. But for greater precision, we recommend that you firmly clamp the workpiece before making your cuts.

Specs

  • Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Dimensions: 13 x 4 x 1 inches
  • Blade length: 8 inch
  • Teeth configuration: 18 teeth per inch (TPI)

Pros

  • Comes with a steel blade that makes it durable
  • Light and easy to use
  • Can be used for making deep cuts
  • The blade is easy to replace

Cons

  • The saw requires extra pressure to make deep cuts

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Buying Guide

Before purchasing a dovetail saw, especially for new carpenters, there are thousands of questions that keep ringing in mind. Which model is the best for me? How much should I pay? Will the saw last?

Now, there is no need to depress yourself; simply follow this guide to know the key things to consider.

The Blade

This is perhaps the most important attribute to help you identify the perfect dovetail saw for your workshop. The blade helps you to get the targeted precision cuts for perfect joinery works.

Therefore, go for the blade made from hardened material such as steel so that it will not bend easily. Tough materials also ensure that the blade can maintain the sharpness for longer.

Still, on the blade, you should try to find out whether it is replaceable. The advantage of a replaceable blade is that when it wears out, you can replace it as opposed to buying a new saw.

The Handle Size

The handle of any dovetail saw determines how comfortably you can work with it. It should be firm and big enough for your grip.

If you will be cutting a lot of tough materials, consider going for the model with longer handles that can be used with both hands.

Price

When it comes to price, we must say it can be tricky. While the argument that the most expensive models are the best still holds, it is not always true when it comes to dovetails.

The stiff competition in the market has forced manufacturers to push the price of their dovetails down.

But you are lucky today because no matter your budget, our best dovetail saw reviews cover top models with a wide price range.

Manufacturer

A dovetail saw is as good as its manufacturer. So, you better stick with brands that have been in the market for years and the quality of their tools proven by users. Some of the top brands when it comes to manufacturing dovetail saws include Suizan, Gyokucho, and Irwin.

Final Thoughts

As a carpenter, if you target rocking very fine finishing with super-accurate cuts, then you should select the best dovetail saw.

Our dovetail saw reviews have captured the best that the market has to offer; the pieces have hardened blades, comfortable handles, and are easy to work with. In addition, they have a wide price range, so you are sure of getting a perfect pick for your workshop.

While the four dovetail saws we have reviewed sparkle in every sense (we really, really loved them), the Gyokucho Ryoba Saw is the best of them all. Its modern take on the traditional tool will make it an excellent addition to your toolbox.

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