The process of hand cutting dovetails and tenons requires many skills. Central among them is the ability to accurately make rip cuts with a handsaw. Your ability to precisely cut to the exacting lines of your layout are key to your success. In some ways, it all seems like a dark art, but with clear guidance, the mysteries can be unraveled.
Whether you are a beginner or have years of experience behind you, I think you’ll enjoy this quick video tutorial on the fine points of using a rip cut hand saw. Master cabinetmaker Craig Vandall Stevens demonstrates some of the secrets to cutting straight and accurate dovetails and tenons, including how to align and start the saw. Craig is not only a master craftsman, he’s also a master teacher who shares some of the tips and tricks to make a handsaw sing. Watch this short video and you’ll be rip cutting like the pros. (4.5 Minute Woodworking Video).
NOTE: With the exception of the saw tooth direction, these techniques apply to both western style backsaws and japanese dozuki saws.