Veritas Dovetail Saw
Neither a review or an opinion really; just some pics and comparison with the Lie-Nielsen saw in the hopes it might prove useful to prospective purchasers trying to choose.
So let's get the tricky bit over with first... I've been exposed to the Veritas for long enough that I'm not moved to scream "My eyes! My beautiful eyes!" but it'd be difficult to claim the LN isn't the prettier... It also looks a lot more delicate; the Veritas's dark looks and lack of showy brass gives a slightly brooding, bouncer-ish presence. It's a blokey tool, somehow.
As far as specifications are concerned, the Veritas has 14 teeth per inch and the LN 15 points per inch. i.e. They're the same. Both filed rip. The set on each is 0.003" each side.
Usable blade length is 9" in both cases and 1 5/8" deep. Actually the shape of the Veritas's back slightly reduces that to 1 1/2" at the heel, but in practical terms it makes no odds.
So far, so what's the difference. Materials; more specifically the material used for the spine. Veritas haven't just broken the mould - they've also used one to make a stainless steel/glass/polymer composite spine. What does that mean in practical terms? The Veritas seems a tad lighter than the heavy brass of the LN, but to my hand perhaps a smidgeon more balanced and less heavy towards the toe than the traditional design. Unusual to look at, oh yes, but very effective.
It's also resulted in a completely different fixing for the handle; more like a plane tote than a saw handle. One bolt (stainless steel and, of course, brass!) holds the bubinga handle in place. Now that results in a much more secure handle, but also no easily-damaged saw nuts and no kerf through the handle for the blade. Reader, this saw is the most replacement handle-friendly back saw I've ever seen - and indeed the include diagrams of the critical dimensions so you can make your own custom replacement if you so desire. I feel a step-by-step coming on...
Looking at the handles you might be forgiven for thinking the reason Veritas inform you how to replace it is because it's uncomfortable. It isn't at all; in fact it feels just fine. Not as pretty perhaps, but it didn't give me a moment's irritation. I think it may have marginally more width for the larger hand than the more traditional style of grip, but comfort is such a subjective thing. Hey, who are you telling? ;-)
Thanks to some Photoshop (sorry, no - he says I mustn't say Photoshop 'cos it wasn't. If I said Gimpery would you have understood it though...? Anyway.) After some editing jiggery-pokery by BugBear you can see just how little difference there is. The blue line is the LN and the red the Veritas. Thanks to BB for letting me use the image.
With a relaxed grip, the saws exhibit a virtually identical "hang".
The proof, of course, is in the cutting. I marked up a lot of lines at my preferred 1:7 dovetail angle and set to. The first sawing I've done in months and these cuts were literally the first ones I did, so make some allowances, kids...
I used the Veritas right out of the box, although the words of wisdom included (see link above) suggest you might want to stone off the burrs left over from sharpening. It was a little grabby at first - but then so was the LN when brand new. After a sharpening, all saws tend to need a little use before they hit a sweet point.
When push comes to shove, I was hard pushed to spot a difference. I'm considerably more familiar with the LN, so the fact I was able to switch between the two saws with no marked difficulty is very impressive. Loathe as I am to bring in the subject of money, the price is impressive too - listed at 65 USD (and £36.19 in the UK) as I write. In the end if you find yourself in the pleasant position of choosing between these two, it's going to come down to looks and/or cost; there's no means of separating them on performance that I can find. I'm impressed.

Tool Reviews