What is the Best Veneer Saw in 2020?
The Veneer saw is used to cut veneers, thin sheets of wood from about 0.4 to 0.6 mm, that were cut or peeled off a log by a veneer cutting machine. They are mostly glued to a stable backing material, lumber-cored plywood, ply, particle board, MDF-board or other types of manufactured wood products. Veneer saws are not set! To cut, the veneer is placed on a flat table top made of some wood material and on the cutting line, a ruler, (can be a strip of wood) is attached with clamps. Then the veneer saw is pulled along the ruler, pushing the blade with your left hand against the ruler, and pulling the saw with your right hand.
Its narrow curved blade facilitates precision work, and its elevated offset handle makes it possible to cut flush with a surface. The blade is usually 3 or 4 inches long and it has 13 tpi (teeth per inch). Some new models now go up to 20 tpi.
Long story short, a Veneer Saw is a very particular type of saw with a very limited purpose. In this review, we will mostly focus on how to use it. Even though the saw might have only one purpose, the technic to actually perform proper veneer cutting is not as easy to master as you may imagine. You will also be presented with a selection of good Veneer Saw available in the market. Veneer Saw might not be the most complex tool you’ll find, there are still many different qualities available and finding the right one can sometimes be a bit complicated.
A good alternative to a regular Veneer Saw is the French flush-cut saw (which looks very much the same and serves the same purpose).
Note that for some reasons, Veneer Saw are not entirely « ready to use » when you buy it. No worries, it’s no big deal, the blade usually just needs some additional sharpening before getting into action. It’s actually kind of strange to see this, but through the dozens of saw we have tested, we have noticed this problem almost systematically. Therefore, don’t be surprise if your saw does not provide the best cutting at first, it’s normal and easy to fix!
How to Use a Veneer Saw
The first step in starting your cut is resting the blade against the board material you want to cut. Using a guide block, hold the flat side of the blade against the block while making sure that the teeth of the veneer saw are resting lightly on the board or material you’re cutting. Be sure to get a large and flat guide for the saw blade to butt perfectly against it.
Secondly, apply little pressure on the saw and pull it toward you in long but slow strokes. Ultimately, a slow stroke is all you need to split the veneer sheets, given that they are very thin. And exerting extra force on the saw may break the blade or destroy the material or even leave kerf in the cut. However, whether you push or pull the saw depends on the teeth. Some blades have teeth that do not point in any particular direction, while others come in two sets of teeth. This implies that the saw works on both the pull and push strokes. Or simply, you need to alternate between cutting by tilting the saw.
Other insights about Veneer Saw
I know what you’re thinking… We are talking about a saw that can perform only one specific task and that has a strange design, so how does it compare with other saw and how is it so special?
Is a Veneer Saw Better than a utility knife?
Cutting veneers is not the most complicated task to perform and some people tend to do it with a utility knife. A utility may small and portable but it has a thickness to it. And cutting through a veneer with a relatively thick blade will leave behind a small angle on the edge of the material. On the other hand, a veneer saw is sure to give a 90-degree angle to create a better joint between two pieces of veneer. Additionally, a utility knife works on smooth veneers, whereas a veneer saw cuts through brittle and thicker veneers. But in the end, if the Veneer Saw was invented, there a reason for that. First, the cutting is much more comfortable with the Veneer Saw (due to the pivotal head, we will get back to that later). Second, it’s also much cleaner and faster (this is even more true if you use a blade with teeth positioned as a « ramps grind » rather than « montain grind » – See after).
How about the other saws then?
A veneer saw is different from other saws, such as coping saws and fretsaws, and has a unique handle and strange teeth. The handle is on the angle to suit how it should be held when sawing. The handle on an angle helps you cut right-angled shapes so when you butt two-piece of veneer, you get a better joint.
But why does the blade has two sets of teeth on both sides of the blade? Teeth on both sides allow you to remove, flip, and reposition the blade for flawless cutting. Put simply, when one side of the blade gets dull, change the blade to continue working.
Note that a veneer saw blade is curved. This is to enable you to have constant contact and exert equal pressure when cutting through the veneer. The curved saw blade goes from a flexed to an extended position without much effort.
What are other ways to cut veneer if you don’t have a veneer saw? As stated above, a utility knife may come handy when cutting veneers, especially when you don’t have access to a handheld veneer saw. But remember that knife may not leave behind smooth cut edges. Also, consider using other types of saws, such as bow saws, if need be.
The Best Veneer Saw to buy
Now that you know how to saw through your veneers, you may be torn in between choosing the best veneer saw in the market. In essence, there is a range of veneer saw models you can choose from, including but not limited to the western style veneer saw, the French veneer saw, and the traditional Japanese veneer saw. Here is a selection of 2 saw you might consider. They all expose the same key features (see below)
- Long lasting and easy maintenance blade
- Pivotal head that do not get loose over time
- Comfortable handle for long works
- 16+ TPI bringing a narrow kerf (0.020″)
- Blade lenght is 3″ to 4″
Our latest articles