Best from Britain

Needing to equip seven student toolboxes with dovetail saws, Peter Sefton and his latest crop of budding furniture makers test eight of the best saws from Britain and beyond, with surprising results.

In a recent article for Popular Woodworking, one of their testers was encouraging beginners to buy any old saw to cut their first dovetails, and only once they are able to spot the difference and need the finesse of a quality tool should they worry too much about a dedicated dovetail saw. This makes sense, but Peter Sefton’s students are on a crash course in fine furniture making, and don’t have the time to waste on inferior tools. Hence they tested eight dovetail saws, to find one that suits their pockets and their toolboxes.

We did whisper to them that all things being equal, being made in Britain might be seen as a positive quality in a saw, seeing as we want to encourage our native toolmaking industry. We were quite surprised how much they took this to heart, with the Pax 1776 proving to be easily the most popular model. “I would buy the Pax 1776,” said Peter Sefton afterwards. “It has a hand-made bent and polished back, which means the saw can be re-tensioned if things go wrong. It has a very easy start and the least amount of rip-out on the back face of all the saws tested. For me this was the best to use. The Veritas is great, but I am not convinced that the handle will stand the test of time.”

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