12" Stiletto Dovetail Saw


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Current lead time: about 3 weeks

Introducing the Bad Axe 12" Stiletto Dovetail Saw, a game-changer for serious dovetailing requirements. This exceptional tool is meticulously designed to deliver unmatched precision, making it likely the last dovetail saw you'll ever need to own.

With an additional two inches of throw, the Stiletto offers enhanced reach and flexibility. Its lightweight construction and exquisite balance provide optimal control, ensuring accuracy with every cut. The results-oriented action of this saw guarantees precise and clean results that will exceed your expectations.

Prepare to be amazed by the benefits of a longer toothline combined with a lighter and longer saw. This powerful combination results in superior accuracy, minimizing the chances of veering off course. Experience the unique biofeedback that accompanies the Stiletto's horsefly buzz, a tactile sensation that reverberates up your arm as the hammer-set toothline effortlessly bites into the wood, akin to a serrated razor.

The Stiletto's versatility is second to none. It enables you to effortlessly gang-cut dovetails up to 8/4 combined thickness, craft sliding dovetails, and achieve precise cuts with just 3-4 strokes on 3/4 stock. It can even handle ripping smaller tenon cheeks in thin stock. This highly efficient tool promotes both accuracy and efficiency, streamlining your woodworking process.

Bottom line up front: We designed an open-handled, thin (.018) plate dovetail saw 12" long with just enough real estate below the back to facilitate longer, more precise dovetail cuts with fewer strokes to promote accuracy and efficiency with long rifle precision.

The symbolic fighting knife for Special Operations Forces worldwide is the Stiletto —such as the WWII-era V-42 below, adopted by the joint US/Canadian 1st Special Service Force, aka 'The Devils Brigade.' The V-42 was the quintessential combat knife designed for thrusting, its length and stiffness capable of penetrating even the toughest of barriers, yet light to wield with confidence and very comfortable to hold, melting into the palm of your hand with surety and purpose.

  • 15 ppi (Pitch per Inch)
  • Recommended Filing: Rip
  • Plate Thickness .018"
  • Kerf of .027"
  • Depth of cut - 1 7/8"
  • Perfect for furniture and cabinetry 
  • Great for cutting dovetails in 1/4" to 8/4" stock.

Plate & Filing: We're told often that our saws cut like they’re on rails—you have our dedication to the hammer-set method of setting teeth to thank for that—but think about it: this design presents less metal under the hood in depth but makes up the heat-sink differential by adding two more inches to the toothline in length. The result? An incredibly rigid plate with extra throw that won’t quail before thicknesses more than a paltry half-inch. Have us file it at 15 ppi rip for the .018-gauge plate and you’ll wonder why anyone ever made a dovetail saw less than 10 inches. Ever. You’ll get the same action with the .015-gauge plate filed 16 ppi, only with an even thinner kerf.

Back: Traditional folded sawback finished in black-oxide carbon steel, or titanium nitride carbon steel. Read more about this critical component for any backsaw, and why Bad Axe promotes the enduring traditional folded sawback over commonplace static-backed saws that disallow retensioning the toothline with heavy use.

Have you purchased enough brass-backed saws already to know that they just don't age that well? It's a great look, but it doesn't take long for tarnish to set in, and over time a brass-backed saw deforms with hard use, wreaking havoc on your toothline. But it's traditional, right? And conveys a traditional, warm look we all like to see. But form only goes so far before substance sets in. You very seldom see brass-backed saws longer than 12" or 14", because brass just isn't a strong enough an alloy for larger saws. Steel on the other hand presents superior strength and durability. So-we at Bad Axe made the hard choice to phase brass out of our product line, since it's difficult to work with (it has a 'springy' quality to it), doesn't form well, tarnishes, and at the end of the day, just doesn't measure up to carbon steel, which can take a variety of plating’s for aesthetic purposes.

Long a favored finish for high-end firearms, titanium nitride presents stellar corrosion and wear-resistance, Titanium-Nitride hits the sweet spot when it comes to form following function. The tone falls between the look you get between brass and bronze, so it certainly scratches that aesthetic itch you desire. And the cool thing about it? We can apply Titanium Nitride on our largest sawbacks, where the strength and durability of a steel-backed saw is paramount. So, what are you getting for the $75 upcharge? It's obviously not cheap-because it's not a cheap plating process for us to apply. But what you get is corrosion and wear resistance, along with that deep, brass/bronze look that retains its golden luster over time. Give it a shot--this is a drop-dead gorgeous plating that will retain its deep, rich look for the generations to come.

Handle: Modeled after traditional 1876 Disston-pattern open handle. All Bad Axe handles are milled from full-heart quartersawn stock in Cherry, White Oak, Hard Maple and Walnut. Why quartersawn? Though it's the most expensive cut of wood, quartersawn stock mitigates wood movement with seasonal change, which can throw the plate out of true.

Bad Axe sources all handle stock from a family-owned business practicing sustainable lumber harvesting practices, and with whom we've done business from the very beginning. North American hardwoods: beautiful, sustainable, environmentally responsible.

Check out our hand size chart and measuring graphic in order to get the best fit on your new saw.

Handle Size Length
Extra Small Less than 3 1/8"
Small 3 1/4" - 3 1/2"
Regular 3 5/8" - 3 7/8"
Large 4" - 4 1/4"
Extra Large More than 4-3/8"
  • "This saw cut with ease, accuracy, and speed. Bad Axe will size the handle and suit the appearance to your preferences. This saw is my top choice, with the highest marks from most reviewers. One called its performance in both cherry and oak 'amazing overall.' Another said, 'This saw cuts like you imagine a dovetail saw should cut'." -Chris Gochnour, Professional Woodworker and FWW Contributing Editor, The Joiners Bench Blog

  • "This is not a tool—it's a woodworking weapon . . . one that cuts down the line on auto-pilot." Woodworker and F-35 fighter pilot Ian Knight, CA

  • “In many side-by-side tests with my other saws, I have gotten the most consistent accuracy and feel the most confident with the Bad Axe. It is now the saw I reach for. The stiletto saw is a tool with a soul, but in this case, it is a characteristically American one. This is born of the personal commitment of its maker, Mark Harrell, a man who has spent much of his life serving America. He understands saw making history, listens to the input of many woodworkers (disclosure: including me), and is passionate about innovation, refinement, and excellence in producing a saw that you will not mistake for any other. Further, they allow for a range of your choices in saw plate, filing, handle size, and materials. Yes, the soul of the tool is meaningful, and I sense it when I bring the Bad Axe saw to the wood.” - Professional Woodworker and Writer Rob Porcaro, Medfield, MA, Heartwood Blog

  • “I'm delighted by the looks, but even more so by the glove-like handle fit and especially how it cuts. This is my first premium - brand new saw, so up to now I was only able to compare vintage, sharpened self-taught, to Japanese Mass produced . . . and I'm blown away how it performs. Packing btw was in pristine condition, not a hint of overseas travel. The only regret I have with the purchase is that I didn't buy a carcase and a tenon. . .” - Goerge Jonuschat, Germany

  • “This is hands down the best working dovetail saw I’ve ever used. What immediately and honestly sets these two saws apart is that Mark Harrell didn’t look at what everyone else was doing on the dovetail saw market nor did he open a history book and copy something from a dead wood worker. No sir, low and behold Mark asked people like you and I what we wanted in a dovetail saw and then got down to business and made it. Then he made it again and again until he perfected it. Seriously, I can’t find a thing I’d change about them, and let’s face it, I can be picky about good design and hand tools. For balls on accuracy, speed, and performance, with two sizes available, these are an investment in quality.” -Tom Fidgen, Toronto, Canada, The Unplugged Woodshop

  • “The saw arrived yesterday and, after I finally could take my eyes off it, we went for a drive through some hard oak. What can I say? Indeed, every bit as functional as it is beautiful, cuts perfectly. I simply love the walnut and brass combination. Of course, a problem immediately occurred in that now I have three or four premium saws from other companies up for sale so that I can invest in a couple more Bad Axes. Outstanding, you make us proud of American craftsmanship. I shall do my best to up the craftsmanship in wood that this saw will allow.” -Ted Miller, McDonald, TN

  • “. . . I started on some 4/4 cherry, and eventually went to some 5/4 white oak. Again, I put the saw through all the paces I could come up with including crosscutting with the rip-filed teeth. The experience was totally different than all my other experiences with a high ppi saw. I started working with it biased to dislike it and in no time, it won me over. No tool can replace good working technique or the hands and eye of a craftsman, and if you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I do not break down and gush over a tool often, if ever. These are the first tools I have ever come across that I would have to call highly recommended by the Oldwolf Workshop. Bad Axe has created a pair of saws that I’m sure will compete with your favorite dovetail saw and will probably win that competition hands down.” -Derek Olson, La Crosse, Wisonsin, The Oldwolf Workshop Studio

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