Bad Axe 12" Stiletto Dovetail Saw


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Extra Small
Extra Large
  • 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 often hear that our saws glide effortlessly through wood, akin to riding on rails. This seamless experience owes much to our unwavering commitment to the hammer-set method for tooth setting. Consider this: while our design may feature less metal depth under the hood, it compensates by extending the toothline by an additional two inches, effectively mitigating heat build-up. The outcome? A remarkably sturdy plate with ample reach, capable of tackling materials exceeding a mere half-inch thickness without hesitation. Opt for our 15 ppi rip filing on the .018-gauge plate, and you'll find yourself questioning why dovetail saws shorter than 10 inches even exist. Furthermore, employing the Half-Blind Dovetail with a .015-gauge plate filed at 16 ppi offers the same performance, albeit with a finer kerf, enhancing precision even further.

Filing Types: Hybrid filing is a term that refers to a filing pattern used to achieve a balance between two primary cutting techniques: rip cuts and crosscuts.

To achieve clean crosscuts, a specific filing pattern is used on the teeth of the saw. This pattern is designed to slice cleanly through the wood fibers, minimizing tearout.

The crosscut pattern is optimized for cutting across the grain and is adept at reducing tearout. However, it may not be the most efficient for ripping cuts along the grain. On the other hand, the rip cut pattern is optimized for ripping along the grain, making it faster for such cuts but not as effective for crosscuts.

Hybrid filing seeks to combine the benefits of both patterns. It's a compromise between the aggressiveness of rip cuts and the cleanliness of crosscuts. The hybrid pattern is designed to provide a good balance, allowing for relatively fast rip cuts while still maintaining cleaner crosscuts compared to pure rip filing.

Folded Sawback: Delve into the craftsmanship behind our traditional folded sawbacks, a hallmark of excellence that sets Bad Axe's saws apart from the rest. Unlike milled static backs commonly found in mainstream offerings, our folded backs embody a heritage of meticulous artistry and functional superiority.

Crafted through time-honored techniques, our folded backs undergo a precise process, resulting in a seamless, robust construction. This method not only enhances the structural integrity of the saw but also allows for dynamic adjustments and retensioning of the toothline, crucial for maintaining optimal cutting performance over time.

In contrast, milled static backs lack the versatility and resilience of our traditional folded backs. Their uniformity limits the ability to adjust tension, rendering them prone to premature wear and diminishing cutting efficiency, especially under rigorous use.

At Bad Axe, we stand by the enduring tradition of folded sawbacks for their unparalleled durability, versatility, and craftsmanship. Each saw embodies a legacy of excellence, meticulously crafted to deliver precision and reliability for generations to come. Experience the difference that traditional folded backs make in the world of woodworking – where precision meets heritage, and craftsmanship knows no compromise.

Handle: Inspired by the timeless design of the 1876 Disston-pattern open handle, each Bad Axe handle is meticulously crafted from full-heart quartersawn stock in a selection of premium hardwoods including Cherry, White Oak, Hard Maple, and Walnut.

Why choose quartersawn wood? Despite being the priciest option, quartersawn stock offers unparalleled stability, minimizing the effects of seasonal wood movement that can compromise the accuracy of the saw plate alignment. At Bad Axe, we prioritize the use of quartersawn wood to ensure the longevity and reliability of our handles. All handles are dipped in natural Watco Danish oil with the exception of Walnut, which is dipped in black walnut Watco, followed by Tripoli and finish buffed with carnuba wax.

Furthermore, we are committed to sustainability and environmental responsibility. All our handle stock is sourced from a trusted family-owned business known for their sustainable lumber harvesting practices. This partnership, established from the inception of Bad Axe, underscores our dedication to supporting North American hardwoods and promoting eco-conscious manufacturing processes.

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