Modified Japanese saw

I posted earlier about my modifications to a Japanese pull type saw (see "hand saw technique" thread) and have some follow-up information.
Just a summary for you folks that didn't follow that thread: I modified a Japanese saw blade by putting an American styled handle on the wrong end and making it a push type saw. This has worked well for me for the past several years - it has become my favorite saw. You have to learn how to push the saw without bending the blade and disrupting the alignment of the teeth - but that exercise is well rewarded.
Well, the original blade (and the first replacement) was 250mm long. It was getting time to replace it (getting dull). When I was in Woodcraft, I saw the 300mm replacement blade and thought 50mm more would be a good thing. When I got it home, I noticed that the 300mm blade was a little thicker (.030" vs .020") and a little wider. I used my dremel tool to cut the replacement blade to the same profile as the previous one (where it entered the handle) and opened the slot in the handle a little. I thought the extra dimensions would add some stiffness to the blade (not necessary but would be nice). I failed to notice that the 300mm blade had courser teeth and that is the primary reason for this follow-up post.
The new blade is good, but now that I have seen and used both of them, I would prefer the 250mm blade. The 250mm blade was $8.50 and the 300mm blade was $12.00.
I would like to have a rip saw of this configuration, but didn't see fine tooth Japanese rip blades. I did see some Frame saw blades, but I think they would be more like the American styled tooth shape.
This is an economical experiment and I encourage everyone to give it a try. I like mine and I have four American styled saws that now only collect dust (I'm not counting coping saws or keyhole type saws). If you are looking for a fine cut, go with the 250mm - hell for the price, get both and make your own comparison. We all like to make things and most of us like to save a buck or two when conditions are right. Here is an opportunity to make a superior tool that you can't purchase anywhere. Read my original post for tips on working the metal.
Bruce
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Interesting. Did you happen to catch the latest issue of FWW? They compare Western saws with Japanese saws. Maybe you should write them a letter explaining your experiment. I don't know how you keep from bending the saw on the push stroke but you must be damn good! With the saw so thin one bend is liable to ruin it or break some teeth...but at 8 and a half bucks a pop you can afford it.
Layne
On Thu, 11 Sep 2003 04:17:22 GMT, "Bruce C."

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
No, I didn't read FWW, I'll have to look for it.
The history behind the experiment was that I had trouble controlling the saw on the pull stroke. I am too frugal to just pitch it. My original thought was that it might work ok with a miter box or as a small tennon saw. It did, and it cut so well that I started using it for everything.
I bent the first blade a few times, but I quickly learned that there is no need to "force the saw into the cut" and to be careful about aligning the force of the stroke with the blade. With these new skills (or refined skills), I could control the saw much better and the very sharp teeth cut a clean kerf. I can cut closer to the line and clean-up the joint with a few strokes of 220 girt paper and it is ready for glue. When you bend the blade, straighten it the best you can, cuss at yourself for abusing the tool and make a solemn oath to try and prevent it from happening again. After about the third bend, you've developed the necessary skill and it may be time to get a new blade - but it is ok, this is an experiment, continue using the blade until it is dull enough to be replaced. Those bends in the blade that you were not able to completely straighten will serve as reminders to take your time and concentrate on what you are doing. By the time the first blade is dull, your enhanced sawing skills are automatic and you don't need that twisted, snaggle-tooth-blade any more.
The amazing part of this is the effectiveness of the cheap blades. I've read about expensive Japanese blades and how much better they are. I think I would like to try one of the mid-range blades and see if I can tell the difference. I think I would have a hard time convincing myself to butcher a $200 blade this way - maybe I could work with a $80 to $100 blade "in the interest of science".
I would have to make me a "special handle" just to make sure that the tool commands the respect it deserves. Let's see... make the body out of ambonia burl with some pink ivory and ebony inlays, all carved up like a Viking warship and french polished to perfection. The grip would have to be carved to fit my hand perfectly like an Olympic free-style pistol. We would have to have an environmentally controlled storage/display box for a saw of this class maybe made out of snakewood with some goldleaf and bristlecone-pine accents. POP!!! back to reality (don't you hate it when that happens). ;-)
Give it a try and post your results. (Maybe it only works well here because... after all, this is Texas.)
Bruce
<Layne> wrote in message

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
That article is actually in current issue of Popular Woodworking.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.