Copperhead Killer

Bad Axe Tool Works 12" Hybrid Dovetail/Small Tenon Saw, $245
(Delivery: 6-10 weeks)

Build Your saw and populate our queue with a $100 down payment * to be applied against the total cost of your order
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* Please note that your down payment is non-refundable. It may, however, be transferred within the Bad Axe product line if you wish to amend your order or change your order to a different saw..

wyatt.jpgDon't like cutting dovetails and the occasional small tenon with a dinky little saw? Neither did Wyatt Earp rely on a dinky little gun; the legendary Tombstone lawman preferred a Colt .45 Buntline Special, with a 12" long barrel, citing, "fast is fine, but accuracy is everything." So let's extend that notion to the saw world, and see what happens.

buntlineBefore designing my 12" hybrid dovetail/small tenon saw, I asked Bad Axe customers who like my company's facebook page what they thought. Virtually everyone clamored for a longer plate, citing a desire for more accuracy and control when sawing 3/4 up to 6/4 stock, where shorter saws fall--well, short. My new Bad Axe 12" hybrid dovetail/small tenon saw is the happy result--the buntline special of the saw world.

This is a great beginner's choice that experts will still reach for as one of their primary 'go-to' saws, intended for furniture and cabinetry projects. The handle and overall design of the saw is patterned after saws fabricated by the prestigious Wheeler, Madden Clemson saw company from Middleton, NY in the mid 1870’s. This working replica uses state-of-the-art alloys and finishes to promote corrosion-resistance, and with proper care, last for generations. The thin, .02-gauge plate is made of the finest Swedish Spring steel and generally filed 14 points per inch to facilitate a smooth, yet rapidly-cutting action that will easily craft dovetail joints with the grain, and smoothly-finished crosscuts against the

This premium tool constitutes a perfect starter saw for newcomers to hand tools, and one which seasoned experts will still reach for as one of their primary ‘go-to’ saws in the unplugged workshop.


  • Traditional Disston-pattern open handle or Wheeler Madden Clemson-pattern closed handle, available in standard quartersawn hickory, or optional cherry, walnut, or fiddleback maple.
  • Traditional folded gunsmith hot-blued (black oxided) carbon or optional bright nickel-plated or copper-plated carbon steel backs.
  • Fasteners in standard brass or optional gunsmith-blued or stainless alloys. You may also choose the niter-blued or nickel-plated finishes for the carbon steel fasteners.
  • RC 50-52 .02-thin premium Swedish spring steel sawplate.
  • Filed 14 ppi rip or hybrid-cut, with moderate-to-aggressive rake, and slight fleam & gullet to reduce tearout.
  • Depth of plate under the back runs 2 1/2" at the heel, and cants to 2 3/8" at the toe.

sizesWhy do I want this saw? Because it will fit your hand regardless of whether you are a linebacker or a tiny dancer, and tracks the line like it's on rails. This saw will likely be THE go-to weapon in your woodshop arsenal, particularly when filed 14-ppi hybrid cut--serving a variety of roles as a robust dovetail saw, carcase saw, and small tenon saw. What's the best pitch and filing? I personally recommend you choose 14 pitch in either x-cut, rip or hybrid-filing for this saw, depending on your requirements. If you're new to hand tools, then you might check out the hybrid-filing. You won't regret it.


The furniture-maker's perfect brace of saws: a Bad Axe Stiletto DT Saw and Bayonet Precision Carcase Saw

Like Brass on your saws? Then you're really going to like our new Titanium Nitride-plated sawbacks.

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 a couple of years ago 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 platings for aethetic purposes.

Enter Titanium Nitride (TiN). 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 aethetic itch you get when wishing you had a little more brass love in the Bad Axe world. And the really 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 $45 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 lustre 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.


dropThe story behind our new shock-resistant handles. About once or twice a month, one of my customers will call in seeking a replacement handle after having accidentally swept their Bad Axe from benchtop to floor. We have now fielded shock-resistant handles in response to that scenario for those who use their tools hard, but don't want to compromise the natural beauty of a solid hardwood handle. Our new laminate handles fuse a top-quality 13-ply hardwood laminate with a genuine hardwood outer sheath. The 3/4" thick, 13-ply laminate is formed in perpendicular layers, resulting in a VERY tough and stable inner core with an attractive edge. We sheath the core with hardwood to enhance visual appeal. As for its durability? Frankly, a resin or plastic handle is tougher--but who wants a synthetic handle? Our laminate handle will dent slightly when dropped horns-first onto a concrete floor from a height of six feet, but that's about it. The horns sure as heck won't snap off, and the body won't check. Click onto my YouTube video on the left to see how this handle reacts to a 6' drop onto my workshop floor, and judge for yourself.

Hand Measurement
Sizing Handles: Here's my hand: it measures about 3 3/4" across. That's what I'm calling regular, and it will work with a range from 3 5/8" and start getting tight at 3 7/8." Bigger hands just under 4" up to 4 1/8" spans will require the size Large handle, and 4 1/4 to 4 3/8 will want an Extra Large. Going the opposite direction, if the span of your hand measures in the 3 ¼ up to 3 1/2" range, then we're looking at a size small handle. Really tiny hands from 2 ¾ up to 3 1/8 should warrant an XS handle.
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"Where can I buy my own mesquite--or for that matter, a unique species I'd prefer to supply myself for the handle?"

Finding a reputable lumber dealer can be challenging, particularly when you're looking for a well-figured species that won't let you down. The good people listed below will never steer you wrong--these are companies that Bad Axe has used over the past eight years with consistently reliable results when it comes to sourcing high-quality stock you'll be happy with.

Mesquite Valley Woodcrafts Nave's Sawmill & Woodworks Horizon Wood
(Mesquite & other TX hardwoods) (Mesquite & other TX hardwoods) Any North American Hardwood)

Dimensions Required for shipment of customer-supplied wood to Bad Axe:

  • Length: 8.5" Long with the grain.
  • Width: 6.25" wide.
  • Thickness: can range between 4/4 and 5/4 thick. Do not fall below a full 4/4, given that we mill to a finished thickness of 7/8".
  • Type Cut: Quartersawn stock (mitigates wood movement with seasonal change. Do NOT send flatsawn stock. The only exception to this is mesquite, which has interlocking fibers and naturally resists warping despite type of cut.
  • Condition & Moisture Content: at or about 8% moisture content. No cracks, splits or defects in the blank.
  • Quantity, best to send two blanks, in case the first one has an unseen defect. This very seldom happens, but best to be prepared for it. We will return the unused blank or save it for future milling on your behalf.
  • How to ship: Have the supplier label each wood blank by taping your name & contact information (billing address, cell & email--your purchase receipt will also suffice), and drop-ship your blanks to our workshop at: Bad Axe Tool Works, 1500 Green Bay St., Suite #508, La Crosse, WI 54601. Please alert us when this is put into motion, so we may track your package’s arrival.


All Bad Axe Tool Works Saws are highly customizable, and Feature the Following:

  • Custom filing available at same price per request
  • Bad Axe saw sharpening rates $15 nominal fee
  • Highly-figured 19th-century patterned hickory handles, also available in cherry, walnut, maple & mesquite.
  • Five handle sizes available: XS, S, R, L, XL
  • Flush-face slotted sawbolts/nuts in three alloys and four finishes with a 13/16" deep-dish decorative medallion
  • Firearms-quality hot-blued finish on traditionally-folded steel back
  • Optional black nickel carbon steel, brass, copper-plated and bronze saw backs
  • Premium-grade Swedish Spring Steel, RC50-52
  • Traditional hammer-set toothline (if you want your saw to track like it's on rails)
  • Lifetime guarantee against all material defects

Learn more about my material choices and saw design rationale.

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