Japanese Saws

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I read in the July issue of American Woodworker that Lee Valley's dozuki at $22 was a best buy.
One from the Japan Woodworker and another from Woodcraft Supply got "Editor's Choice" as did a $138 saw from Misugi Designs.
No other saws were mentioned in this article, however. Anyone out there have any secret sources of high quality, fairly priced japanese saws? From what I've heard they walk all over western style push-cuts.
JP
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I've got a couple of the Lee Valley ones. They're great. Definitely up there in the bang-for-buck category.
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Dave Balderstone wrote:

One thing I wish LV would carry is some rip-cut kataba (single blade) saws. Their katabas (power, plywood) are all cross-cut, if I remember correctly. (And poor Daniel lives in Canada, which makes ordering from US shops a wee bit of a hassle.)
They now carry a rip-cut JP dovetail saw, but that thing is expensive!
- Daniel
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Jay -
Heck, I've had GREAT luck with the Vaughn Bear Saw, for well under 20 bucks - Got mine at the Borg. The saw blade is thinner than a felon's excuse and sharper than a CPA's pencil. I've used them for years and I can't imagine how much better a hundred dollar Japanese saw could be. One side of the blade has crosscut teeth, the other side has rip teeth and I've been VERY happy with them for dovetails, flush cutting of pins and dowels, etc.
FWIW, Amazon *used* to stock the blades... here's a part number that may help you out elsewhere...
(Amazon.com product link shortened)92888656/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/102-5090998-9672133?v=glance&s=hi
HTH
John Moorhead

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I took a look at the link and then the maker's product page and the model number has changed. No longer 265RBM but now is BS250D. The amazon page says the thickness of the blade is 0.035" and no mention on Vaughan's page. But that 0.035" is the same as 0.889mm and I "bet" the current Stanley dovetail saws are thinner. I took a look at them in a true value store. (Serious metric converter, free: http://vaibhavweb.tripod.com/ )
Alex
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I bought mine in Japan. Paid the equivalent of $20. How much cheaper do you expect a saw to be? If you found one for $10, it would be made in China instead of Japan, and the teeth wouldn't be tempered correctly. It's not like you need a dozen of them. If I were you, I'd buy the one you found at Lee Valley and start making sawdust.
DonkeyHody "Every man is my superior in that I can learn from him." - Thomas Carlyle

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Jay Pique wrote:

I dunno about "secret sources", but some years ago I bought a Korean-made duzuki that was more than adequate (I think I got it from Japan Woodworkers). Paid about $20 for it. Also, Woodcraft used to carry a mini-dozuki "Z" panel-saw that cost maybe $25. I still use mine from time-to-time for cutting dovetails and fine crosscuts in thin stock (depth of cut is only a little more than 1").
Then there's the "Samurai" ryoba/dozuki combo I bought at Woodcraft a while back. Paid ~$40 for it, and I still use it for routine crosscuting and ripping.
I haven't tried the LV saw, but is that the one with a plastic handle? If so, that would be my only concern. The saws I mentioned above have wooden and wicker-wrapped handles respectively. I much prefer them to plastic.
As for pull vs. push saws -- I use both, and in general think that Japanese saws are a better value. They have thin kerfs and really shine for fine work. However, there are plenty of top-flight push saws out there. Unfortunately, they usually carry pretty high price-tags (the L-N, for example).
However, be warned that some folks just simply cannot adjust to the pull motion for sawing. Personally, I like it for doing fine work, but others don't care for it. (I suspect part of the problem may be that these folks are accustomed to overpowering their western saws, and the pull saws take a light touch.) For me, the only negatives are: You always have dust from the cut covering the line you are trying to saw to, and due to the handle-style, you have to be careful or the saws tend to wander off vertical. Also, beware that Japanese saws in general seem to be better suited for softwoods or soft hardwoods.
Chuck Vance
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Thanks Chuck, I needed to know all of that! Makes the most sense to all of my curiosities. Much appreciated.
Alex
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On Thu, 19 Aug 2004 07:20:04 -0500, Conan the Librarian

Has anyone tried the razor saw from The Japan Woodworker? It appears to be their $37.75 ryoba but is $25.95 postpaid. I love how the Veritas flush-cutter works.

A piece of tubing stops that. Put one end in y our mouth and one under the hand you're using to position the wood. Aim it at the cut and give it a puff when you can't see the cut-to line.

And unlike Western saws, they're nearly impossible to reposition. I've been starting cuts with a tubatwo next to the saw to check my angles.

Do they dull quickly and are not sharpenable?
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The Ryoba I bought several years ago works better than I do. Some place a mirror to show the back side to aid following the line when cutting. Blades are replaceable.
On Thu, 19 Aug 2004 08:36:39 -0700, Larry Jaques
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On Thu, 19 Aug 2004 08:36:39 -0700, Larry Jaques

Just remember to breath in through the nose, out through the mouth, in through the nose . . . :-)
David
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Larry Jaques wrote:

I've got a Crown flush-cut that I hardly ever use. I've found it's just as easy to sneak up on things by using a fine dozuki to get close and a chisel to opare down to the surface.
As for the razor saw -- I wonder if that's like the one I got from Garrett Wade a while back. I paid about $40 for it, and it's got very fine teeth and a tiny kerf. Unfortunately, it cuts so slow that I have problems with it drifting off vertical (it's my fault, but the slower a saw cuts the more chance for you to let it wander).

I've just gotten into the habit of exhaling between cuts and blowing the dust off that way. No big deal, but something to be aware of.

I used to have all kinds of little jigs to help me saw straight, but I finally just figured I needed to learn how to do it on my own. Now I just start the saw across the corner and watch until I cut all the way across the far edge. Once that's done, it's fairly easy to let the starting cut keep you going straight and you can just concentrate on the line on top of the piece. Another thing I do is to cut just outside the line (like maybe 1/32") and then plane to the line. As long as you have a visible line (or scribe mark) to plane to, it's easy to get a close-to-perfect edge.

I haven't noticed mine dulling particularly quickly, but they are prone to breaking a tooth if you force the action or get careless. Some can be re-sharpened (they make feather-edge files specifically for this), but there's no way I'm up to that task. :-) Usually you just replace the blade.
FWIW, I've had my ryoba/dozuki for almost 7 years now, and it's lost two teeth on the dozuki side (from carelessness on my part). It's still sharp enough that I use it for ripping thin pieces and general crosscutting. I figured it had to be getting dull, so I bought another one (this time from Highland Hardware), but I still prefer using the old one. The new one seems too aggressive and doesn't leave as clean a cut.
Chuck Vance
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On Fri, 20 Aug 2004 07:07:24 -0500, Conan the Librarian

You aupair the surface? I was thinking about getting the LV folding dozuki until I saw two at the Animalheim wood show. I might have bought one if only one looked shabby, but since both did, I passed.

They don't say what the tooth pattern is in the ad, but the only twin-edged razor saw they show in the catalog has 9-1/2 tpi crosscut and 6-1/2 tpi rip teeth, so it should be fairly quick. I think I need the discipline of learning a Japanese saw. (Whip me, beat me, make me saw with a ryoba.)

Bueno. With the pull saw, do you start the cut on the far corner and work toward you, the opposite of Western saws? I'm thinking that I probably need to avoid the "starting cut backstroke" I use with Western saws, too.

Yeah, you simply can't force a 0.021" blade much, can you?

"Ryoba/dozuki" and "dozuki side"?

Maybe it will once you dull it a bit with use, eh?
Yeah, I think I'll get on the phone in an hour or so and order that saw. I'm in a definitively Japanese mood.
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calmly ranted:

I don't know if you need to avoid it, it's just that it won't have the same effect. :-) Now that you've got me thinking about it, I do make a very slight push stroke first with my dozuki. But it goes immediately into a pullstroke. It basically just scores the corner before my pullstroke begins.
And yes, you start the cut on the far corner and work backwards.

Especially a blade with no re-enforced back on it.

OK, maybe I used the terms incorrectly. I was meaning to distinguish between the rip side of a ryoba and the crosscut side. My bad.

That's exactly what I was thinking after I wrote that. I guess I need to use it more just to see. It does appear to have a bit of burr on the sides of the teeth, so I could probably knock that off with use.

Do you really think so?
Chuck Vance Just say (tmPL) The Cramps?
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On 23 Aug 2004 05:02:30 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@txstate.edu (Conan The Librarian) calmly ranted:

The teeth look considerably more fragile so I thought I'd ask. Don't they also taper to finer at the handle end to coarser at the far end, for starting purposes, or is that just in the $80 models?

Like pushing a rope.

...but I am not turning Japanese, I am not turning Japanese, I really think so. (BTW, I had the same tune pop into my head as I wrote the original line. Weird minds think alike.)
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Larry Jaques wrote:

The rip blades are definitely finer near the handle. I can't say I notice any difference with the crosscut blades.
And the teeth aren't necessarily fragile as much as they are a bit brittle.

I was thinking we were on the same wavelength there.
Though I'm not sure that's a compliment to either of us. :-}
Chuck Vance
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On Tue, 24 Aug 2004 07:05:52 -0500, Conan the Librarian

Isn't brittleness also fragility? They're definitely more fragile than Western teeth.

Embrace your wilder and weirder self, sir. (Throws people off.)
I just got off the phone with TJW and expect the saur in a few days. If I like it, I may grab an azibiki next, for the smaller, out-of-the-way cuts and veneer. (Real veneer, not that paper- thin stuff they sell nowadays.)
The saw in the ad is a Gyokucho Ryoba Noko Giri. Blade length is 9-1/2", overall length 23", 14-TPI crosscut side, 7tpi rip. The saw has a notch cut in the secured end so it will fit in 3 different positions; slight angles up or down. Cool.
I think that working with this saw will help me build patience, my weakest point.
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Larry Jaques wrote:

I dunno if brittleness and fragility equate when talking about saw-steel. I'm sure one of the wreck.metallurgists can chime in on that issue. I assume that being "impulse-hardened" also has some bearing on things.
And if you think about it, they are quite a bit thinner and narrower than Western teeth, so that could be another reason they are prone to breakage.

BTDT, got the reputation that goes with it. :-)

Ay, Japanese pullsaws will definitely do that. They also teach you to use a lighter touch when sawing and to let the blade work for you.
Looking at the saw on their website, it looks just like the saw I bought from Highland Hardware a while back to replace my old ryoba. You'll have to let me know what you think of the aggressiveness of the cut and the finish left.
Chuck Vance
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On Tue, 24 Aug 2004 13:03:25 -0500, Conan the Librarian

You messy, you breaky. Same same.

True.
I learned that both with the Veritas/Japanese flushcut saw and with freshly sharpened saws a few years ago. It was a very nice lesson, and one I won't ever forget. When I work up a real sweat with a saw, it means I'm working way, way too hard. A damp brow alerts me to that now and again and the pace drops while the work proceeds normally.

Will do.
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Larry Jaques wrote:

I don't really have that luxury down here in Texas, as many days I can work up a sweat just by walking out into the shop. :-}
But your point is taken.

FWIW, I checked on the saw I got from Highland. It's not the same as yours afterall. IIRC, it's an Ikedame (sp?) ryoba. I gave it a spin ripping some 1-1/2" thick stock, and it did OK.
BTW, I was sweating when I was done.
Of course it was about 95 degrees and 95% humidity.
Chuck Vance
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