They can be, requires a special file sort of like this <>, called (IIRC) a
feather file. Personally, I wouldn't bother.
I have dozukis that I have had for close to 50 years, never a problem with
dullness, broken teeth, yes. I just continue using them, a few broken teeth
don't affect them much.
I have a "dummy" question. Do Japanese back-cutting saws work as well
cutting dovetails as a $200+ Eng-style brass-backed dovetail saws? Are there even
any true dovetail saws from Japan? IOW, do the Japanese even utilize
I love pull saws, even the el cheapos they sell at HF.
I use them all the time in place of power saws. On one job where I had
to replace a cracked oak handrail volute, I had an owner/client who
considered himself a fellow woodworker (yeah, I know... why is *he* not
doing this) who was hovering over me the entire job, second guessing me
and asking "why don't you just do this" or "that?"
When it came time to make a critical cut in the existing handrail
volute, I reached for my pull saw and he got a scoffing look on his face
and started up with "Wait, why don't you just used a jig saw, sawzall,
circ saw, etc saw, etc saw, etc saw?" "How is that flimsy thing going
to be strong enough to cut through oak?" I ignored him, lined up my cut
and as I started he said, "Well that's going to take a while."
About 20 seconds into my cut, seeing the fine sawdust pile on the floor,
he changed his tune. I quickly and accurately cut a clean line
precisely on the pencil mark on the masking tape and in about 45 seconds
had finished the cut with an almost sanded edge. All of a sudden he had
a different attitude. "I've never seen anyone pull a saw before." "Man
is that thing sharp." "What's that called, again." "Where do you get
Then I explained to him how prefer the control I have over a manual saw
when cutting so close to other finished work like the curved sections of
the handrail that were mere inches from the cut.
His hovering didn't stop for the rest of the job, however.
I will be ignoring any future calls from him. :-)
"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
There are numerous types of Japanese saws for varying purposes. The one
most commonly used by guys like me is the dozuki. Its a back saw, foot +
long blade with a varying taper. Comes in various tooth counts. There is
also a considerably smaller saw meant for dovetails, don't recall the name.
The saws cut very well. You can make precise cuts and the surface will be
smooth. Want to shave off 1/16" (or less) from the end of something? No
The ease of putting any level of skill to use is markedly improved by
the quality of the sharpening job on the saw--the prime advantage of
"the high-priced spread" is that they come tuned up _much_ better than
the Stanley off the Ace hardware hook...
Agree 1000% - which is the reason my favorite crosscut saw
is approaching it's 100th birthday (and why I have a saw vise
But I don't think switching from a Japanese pull saw to a
western style saw, or vice versa, is going to suddenly make
your dovetails much better or worse.
Unless the switch is from the Stanley-class to a _good_ Dozuki, of
But, they do have advantages as outlined
If they are blackened, they are probably electronically hardened.
In that case, you might be able to hone the teeth with a stone, but I
doubt a file will work them.
If the nail dulled them , maybe they are not hardened.
as per .. Inst link at
Sharpening Japanese Saws
Since they are so hard, Japanese saws rarely need to be sharpened. In
Japan, the finest saws were traditionally returned to their maker for
sharpening. It remains economically sound to replace a Japanese blade
rather than trying to hone it yourself - especially if you are a
For sharpening enthusiasts, however, it is possible to tackle a
Japanese saw, provided you use a feather-edge file to accommodate its
fine, long teeth. For ryoba, azebiki, anahiki and pruning saws, a
100mm (4") feather-edge file is required. For the regular dozuki and
the very fine teeth in the professional dozuki, a 75mm (3")
feather-edge is best. Until you are accustomed to sharpening Japanese
saws, we recommend that you use a file with one safe side for filing
secondary bevels and that you stone the edge of the file so that an
inadvertent nick is not put in an adjacent tooth. Ordinary Western
saw-sets are not suitable for sharpening Japanese saws since they do
not accommodate their unique tooth patterns.
depends on the saw material used
depends on the material of the sharpener
also depends on the nail
is the saw visibly damaged
i reuse old wood often and i have found that old nails are hardly
noticed by my skilsaw
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