I’ve noticed that a lot of pros have taken to using cordless power tools and power tool accessories for nearly everything, including some operations that could or should be done by hand.
A lot of DIYers do the same, although DIYers and hobbyists working out of a workshop often have greater access and larger tool collections than pros who take limited kits to the field.
I used an Irwin dovetail and detail pull saw today, a smallish saw with 7-1/4″ blade length, and have been debating whether I should describe it as a tool box must-have.
I like some of Irwin’s saws, and this one is no different. To be fair, there’s not a lot that’s special about this particular saw, aside from the Irwin being both relatively inexpensive and readily available.
It’s a pull-saw, in contrast to “western-style” saws that cut on the push stroke. The thin blade is flexible, which is good for flush-cutting tasks, and also has a small kerf for little waste.
It’s very well-reviewed, with the only negatives I’ve seen focusing on the scarcity of replacement blades. Frankly, it’s inexpensive enough that it’s not a big deal to simply replace the entire saw when needed, or at least that’s probably Irwin’s reasoning.
I’m not going to tell you that pull-style saws are better than western-style hand saws, or that everyone MUST have one of these in their toolbox. The fact of that matter is that it is quite useful, and also a pleasure to use, but is it a necessity?
There are multiple ways to cut dowels flush with a wood surface, and you can also even cut them proud and sand them down. There are also multiple ways to cut dovetails, trim and other smaller pieces of wood, or perform other types of detail cutting. Still, saws like this one are great for such work.
Sometimes I use an oscillating multi-tool for cutting dowels or other small pieces of wood, and other times jig saws. Heck, I’ve even used wire cutters on smaller dowel sizes. But detail hand saws often provide better results, and even when they don’t work any better or worse, they’re more fun to use – at least in my opinion.
Why Irwin? To start, it has a great price point – $12 to $13 via Amazon, up to ~$16 elsewhere, and it’s easy to find. It’s also a name that you know.
I have recommended Vaughan pull saws before, and my recommendation for that brand hasn’t changed at all, and the same goes for Shark. The problem is that those brands’ saws aren’t as easy to find anymore, and sometimes the pricing is a bit higher than I would consider as introductory.
If you know you want a pull-style saw, whether for cutting details or smaller pieces of wood, there are a wide range of options. But this Irwin pull saw, I think it’s a better introductory option given its price point and availability. The lack of replacement blades and its basic handle style are downsides, but can be overlooked given the price point.
Should you try an Irwin pull-style detail saw? If you ask me, YES – everyone should be open-minded when it comes to trying new tools. If you cut smaller pieces of wood, I think this saw will get used, maybe even becoming a much-loved addition to your toolbox.
Is it the best? No. But it’s a solid performer and great value.
Price: $12-13 via Amazon
Why haven’t you tried pull-style saws before? Or, if you did, would you agree with my opinion that this is a good introductory saw for detail work?
(I believe this saw was a personal purchase, but I have also tested several Irwin saws as review samples in the past. This isn’t my only pull-style detail saw – I own a couple – but I do see it as the best introductory option.)