Knew Concepts Fret Saw
This saw is incredibly lightweight, easy to use and precise when it comes to removing waste when dovetailing. The blade is extremely thin and unlike coping saws, can fit into a saw cut very easily without binding. People are often put off by this saw due to the belief that the blade is thinner, therefore will break easier. This is not the case. Blades tend to break due to de-tensioning and binding when cutting. With this saw, the thin blade paired with the rigid truss frame prevents de-tensioning, binding, and therefore gets you longer life out of your blades. In the 3 years I have owned this saw, I've gone through 3 or 4 blades.
There are many versions of this saw available. I have the basic version with a 5″ depth of cut and is the one I would recommend. If you want to spend a bit more, you can get the lever tensioning version which allows for quicker and easier blade change. Although as stated before you rarely break blades on this thing so blade change is rarely an issue. You can also get a swivel blade version if you're cutting wider carcasses and need the frame to stay clear of the cut. This is great, although you can easily void the need for a swivel frame saw by simply bending the blade into position with some pliers. This was a little trick taught to me by Chris Schwarz and it works brilliantly. You may need to replace the blade afterwards. But I would rather replace an inexpensive blade as opposed to purchasing the swivel blade Knew Concepts saw any day.
Go for the basic 5″ screw tensioning version. You won't regret it!
Faithfull Engineers Squares
Having a full set of engineers squares is so useful when your work varies in size. These are way more precise than traditional try squares and do not break the bank either. They also come in a wooden box which is a nice touch to prevent damage to the squares.
In most cases, the people who purchase these squares after my recommendation love them. However occasionally there will be one bad review saying the squares are not square. As these are budget tools, every now and then an inaccurate one will slip through quality control. If you end up with an inaccurate square, send it back. Don't settle for anything less.
But I will reiterate that this is only a minor amount of people of experience this. The majority now have a versatile and comprehensive set of accurate squares for all scales of work.
Veritas Marking Gauge
This marking gauge is probably my most used tool of all. It can cut with the grain, across the grain, it leaves a very clean and precise line to work to, and lasts forever! I've had the cutting wheel attached to mine for 5 years now and haven't changed it once.
There are a few versions of this gauge available. You can purchase a standard version which is great to get you going. However I own a micro adjust version which is only slightly more expensive and can be useful every now and then. I also opted to get metric graduations printed on the shaft which is helpful when following working drawings during a project. These graduations are also available in imperial may I add!
Come on. I wasn't going to have a list of my favourite tools without putting one of my own on there?!
But in all seriousness, I have been using a marking knife similar to this for years and I love it. The blade is rigid, sharp, and best of all replaceable! In addition, you can fit various shapes of blade into this handle to suit your style of work.
Furthermore, the wooden handle and metal ferrule of this knife are fully customisable meaning you can also get a tool to suit your aesthetic tastes too!
The handles can be purchased from my store. Although if you would prefer to wait until the next batch in order to get the exact combination of materials you want, you can sign up to email notifications here.
Japanese Dozuki Saw
If you have never used a Japanese Saw before, do yourself a favour. Get up, go to a nearby woodworking store, and try one out. If you have always struggled with sawing, specifically when it comes to starting the cut. This is the solution you have been seeking.
It also works incredibly well with the Katz-Moses Dovetail guide!