Best Japanese Saws – A Multipurpose Cutting Tool

by Joost | Updated on:  August 23, 2021
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The people who always desire for umpteen positive results in cutting sector with one serving tool, Japanese saw is the new allure for them.

For softwood and hardwood cutting, dovetail joint making the best Japanese saw is accurately compatible.

Whether you are an expert woodworker or not, the Japanese saw will enable you to do a wide range of cutting by hand.

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Japanese Saw buying guide

Are you looking for the best Japanese saw for your woodworking? Before choosing the saw you need to match with the qualities which are given below-

Weight:

Weight is an important issue in for saws to deal with. Like for small or clean work, light-weighted saws are much comfortable. On the contrary, heavy weighted saws may work for rough finished.

Blade length:

The blade size is one of the largest influencing factors in cutting capability. Basically, bigger teeth are typically used for soft materials, and smaller teeth are used for harder materials.

Bigger teeth of the saw cut faster. And coarser blades mean rough cuts. So, if you need a smooth finish, use a finer blade.

Two blades of different lengths by the same originator generally have the same number of teeth per inch, and the saw has replaceable blades.

Comfortable Grip:

In spite of most saws coming with an oval, rattan-wrapped handle, there are some others available there.

Since comfort and performance will be affected, it is good for you if you can handle a saw before committing to it.

Size:

There is a large difference in blade size between various saws. Different sized saws are needed for different cuts.

For dovetails and complex cuts, a smaller blade is much more suitable. If you plan on cutting deep, then you should choose the larger type blade.

Folding or Non-folding:

Folding feature of a Japanese saw is pretty rare to find out. Most of the saws do not have the folding option, but some of them have the folding advantage.

The soft plastic grips of the folded saws allow any kind of work in a comfortable manner.

Control:

Do not screw the blade if you use Japanese saws. Try to keep the saw perpendicular to your work.

If you are trying to make the saw straighter, smoother cuts will make the blade last longer, and it will help the blade remove the sawdust efficiently.

Always use as long as strokes as possible. Because they are easy to control.

Various Types of Japanese Saw

There are various types of Japanese saw based on the type of cutting that needs to be done. Some types are given below-

Kataba Saw:

The Kataba saw is single-edged Japanese hand saw. It has a set of teeth on one side of the blade. This saw has a thick blade and that is designed without aback.

Usually, it is used for normal wood cutting purposes. You can also use the saw for crosscutting and ripping.

Kugihiki Saw:

The Kugihiki Japanese hand saw is designed with a blade that is perfect than others for flush cutting.

This is great for wooden nails and chocks. Because it has a thin blade on its tip and it is very easy to bend. So, you can create dexterous cuts.

There is less chance of damaging the surface of your wood and its thick back allows the blade to be stable in your hand.

Ryoba Saw:

In Japanese ‘Ryoba’ means double-edged. This saw is designed with cutting teeth on both sides of its blade. One side of the blade allows for crosscutting and the other allows for rip cutting.

However, there has been come up with a new variation of the Ryoba saw where it can cut softwoods on one side and hardwoods on the other side.

Dozuki Saw:

The Dozuki Japanese hand saw is a Kataba-style saw but there is a slight difference in design. It has a stiff backbone that allows for legible cutting.

There is no limit on the depth of cut while using a Dozuki saw. So, it is recognized as the most useful Japanese saw thoroughly.

Best Japanese Saws reviewed

1. SUIZAN Japanese Pull Saw Hand Saw 9-1/2″ Ryoba:

The product is known as “Pull Saw.” The saws which cut materials via pulling are called “Pull Saws.” Japanese saws cut materials via pulling and thus these are called “Pull Saws,” by which this product is known as.

In comparison to push saws, pull saws require less power. Pull saws are lighter in weight, and the resulting edge is cleaner than the push saws.

It has double edges and it consists of high-quality Japanese steel. It accomplishes a smooth and perfect cut.

Moreover, this saw’s blade is thinner and sharper. Also, it has a huge number of teeth per inch in comparison with the saws of its size.

The saw has very narrow notches.  And the blades are very easy to remove and interchange.

After all, this saw will give you some new experience from using traditional western style saws and will let you make more verified woodworkings products.

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2. Gyokucho 372 Razor Saw Dotsuki Takebiki Saw:

The Dotsuki Takebiki saw is used for the subtlest tenon, cross, miter, and dovetail cuts. It is also suitable for cabinet and furniture work.

This saw includes a hard-coated blade to decrease corrosion and increase permanency. Also, the teeth of the saw are impulse hardened for extended wear.

The blades of the Dotsuki Takebiki saw are very thick and these include a tenacious spline of metal joint to the top part.

Also, the backbone of the blade works very well to stiffen the blade in order to impede ramble and wabble cuts.

The saw always leaves a glass-smooth finish on all kind of hardwoods. This Gyokucho Dozuki saw is the finest cutting interchangeable blade saw among other saws.

Moreover, it is very important to note that this is an ideal saw to use with magnetic dovetail guides or dovetail markers.

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3. SUIZAN Japanese Hand Saw 6 inch Dozuki (Dovetail) Pull Saw:

All SUIZAN Japanese saws consist of top quality Japanese steel which makes the cuts to be edgy.

The blades of the saw do not bind while cutting anything. It keeps sharpness for a long time.

The SUIZAN Dozuki pull saw gives nice and clean cuts. And it would be great for the beginners who want to hone their hand-cut, miters, dovetails, etc. by relying on long or double-edged heavier plywood, the shorter blade, and rigidness from the slotted back, and flush-cut saw like this.

This saw cuts the bigger pieces just as smoothly. Also, it results in very fast cross-cuts.

This hand saw’s ‘set’ which is the degree to which the teeth are spread apart to another side works well to remove the waste material out of the cut. Moreover, it is thick enough that it doesn’t negatively affect the kerf.

This is also called the dovetail Saw or dovetail pull saw

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4. Gyokucho 770-3600 Razor Ryoba Saw with Blade:

Gyokucho is the latest variation of the traditional Japanese pull-stroke saw. There is a combination of two types in this saw.

The thick blade of the double edge Ryoba saw is eliminable and replaceable. And this gives a nice kerf.

A very unique feature of the Gyokucho Razor Ryoba Saws is the handle that can be entitled in relation to the blade. And it allows access into the areas. On the contrary, it is very impossible to reach.

The handles of the saws are wrapped with a cane for a safe pantile. Carpenters, boat builders, and restoration workers will like the feature particularly.

Always try to use subtler side for the crosscut work. And turn over the saw to use for tearing.

The Gyokucho Razor saw is perfect for crosscutting or ripping of smaller stock. Actually, it has been designed to easily fit into any small work bag or toolbox.

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5. Gyokucho 770-3500 Razor Dozuki Saw with Blade:

The Gyokucho 770-3500 Razor Dozuki Saw with Blade is a kind of Japanese-style dovetail and joint saw. It can perfectly cut a variety of joints.

The blade of this saw has toughened back for greater control. This saw cuts very fast and makes dovetail cuts so nicely.

The total length of the saw includes a fantastic, comfortable, contoured plastic clutch. The quality, balance, and design of the saw result in inaccurate cuts and small kerfs.

If you need to cut a hole in the middle portion of any material or cut in tight strokes, the rounded point with teeth will work well to complete the task.

Moreover, one of the important features is that the blade can easily be changed out for another blade. Also, the blades are locked into the handle in a secure and stable way.

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Application of Japanese Saw for Dovetail

The application of Japanese saw for dovetail is here-

While using pull stroke Japanese saw, you should start your cut on the near side of the wood.  Then you must angle the saw so it is nearly equivalent to the layout line of the workpiece.

When the finished grain kerf is recognized, then jump to the sloped layout line. And then use your marginal vision to be conscious of the saw’s upright orientation.

On both faces of the wood, the saw cut must not be moving at the baseline. Some woodworkers select to complete the marked layout line at the baseline as it is a signal to end the saw cut.

Finally, think through the salient issue of body mechanics for accurate sawing. The core muscles must be knowingly engaged without being wooden.

Actually, these are mainly used for joint-making (dovetail joints ) where two pieces of wood must fit together precisely.

The Specialty of Japanese Saw

Japanese saw is a type of tool that offers multiplex cutting opportunities like-

Japanese saw cuts in the materials on the basis of the pull stroke method. Thus, it consumes low power and strength.

Japanese saw cuts materials more quickly than the western saws. There are several aggressive teeth for making the rip cut and on the opposite side, the finer teeth are for doing crosscuts.

It creates small cuts and smooth kerfs. And It is powered by human effort, not by electrical power.

The Japanese saw is lighter than others. Also, this is less expensive to buy.

Parts of Japanese Saw

There are several parts of the Japanese saw:

Saw handle:

The handle portion of the saw is gripped by the operator. In order to cut wood, this is used to move the saw back and forth through the material.

Saw blade:

Generally, the blade is made from steel and has a number of sharp teeth running along its bottom edge.

The teeth are the part that goes in the material first when cutting. All frame saws have blades that are removable.

Saw frame:

Sometimes, saws have a frame which spreads out of the handle and attaches to the other point of the blade.

Front and Back of the saw:

Watching from the side, the bottom edge is called the front part, and the opposite edge is called the back part. Basically, the front of the blade contains saw’s teeth. Often, the back parts also contain teeth.

Heel & toe:

The end part of the blade which is the closest to the handle is called the heel, and the opposite end is called the toe.

How to use a Japanese Saw

Here are some points on how to use a Japanese saw.

Firstly, you are going to make sure that you have marked the cut area. You may use a marking knife or any sort of similar things.

Then put your index finger to stabilize the material in the base. To have a straight line put your arm in the line to the saw.

Different blades of different Japanese saws cut various types of slices. Actually, the teeth literally slice through the wood.

Moreover, if you want a straight cut then you need to bend the saw at turning its angle while cutting at the front edge. And then bend at the other side while you are cutting at the final edge.

The instructions of using Japanese saw are below-

  1. As Japanese saws cut on the pull stroke, start the cut with the back end. Do not cut with the top of the blade, otherwise, you have nothing to pull.
  2. Use your thumb to guide the saw and when you will be used to, angle the blade a little towards the stock.
  3. Grip the saw with a little back of the handle. In time, you will understand by yourself what the best grip is for you.
  4. Do not try to saw quickly at the beginning with too much pressure, or the saw will go for sure. Just gently pull the saw and always give a little pressure.
  5. Keep your hands as far apart from each other as possible for sawing larger stock.
  6. If you are sawing very deep, be careful not to exert pressure. Try to use a wedge at the beginning of the cut to keep the sides apart. Because this brings the risk of jamming the blade.
  7. Also, avoid bending the blade over. Because it will not cut perfectly straight any more if a saw once gets a bend in it.
  8. The saw is not stainless. So, do not store in damp places. Try to put in in dry areas.
  9. Lastly, if the saw is not to be used for a long time, oil the blade.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions):

Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers.

Are Japanese Saws Good?

Japanese saw teeth on a whole are far more sophisticated than ours, and require extreme skill to sharpen. They’ve very delicate and the metal hard. In a weird way, such well-developed teeth are surprisingly well suited to today’s throw away nature.

Why Are Japanese Saws Better?

Turning Japanese

Some claim that nokogiri are so comfortable and precise that they become an extension of the woodworker’s arm – enabling them to achieve unbridled accuracy when cutting. And by cutting on the pull stroke, they facilitate a much thinner blade, giving the user a better field of vision.

What Are Japanese Saws Used For?

The Japanese saw or nokogiri (鋸) is a type of saw used in woodworking and Japanese carpentry that cuts on the pull stroke, unlike most European saws that cut on the push stroke. Japanese saws are the best known pull saws, but they are also used in China, Iran, Iraq, Korea, Nepal and Turkey.

Can You Sharpen Japanese Saws?

Some Japanese saws have impulse-hardened teeth, where a high-frequency heating technique hardens the teeth but not the rest of the blade. … If your saw was not factory hardened, you can sharpen it using a specialty tool called a feather file. Feather files come in several sizes for different tooth counts.

What Is the Best Dovetail Saw?

If you’re looking for a tool that can take your woodworking to the next level, then the Suizan Dovetail Handsaw is a good option. It is designed as a pull saw, so the teeth are structured to create a precise cut when you retract the saw.

What Is a Kataba Saw?

The Kataba is a single-sided saw without a back. Its blade (approx. 0.5 mm) is thicker than that of a Dozuki saw (approx. 0.3 mm). … Kataba saws are available with teeth for crosscutting or for ripping.

How Old Is the Saw?

In archeological reality, saws date back to prehistory and most probably evolved from Neolithic stone or bone tools. “[T]he identities of the axe, adz, chisel, and saw were clearly established more than 4,000 years ago.”

How Do You Use a Japanese Pull Saw?

How Do You Store Japanese Saws?

Saws should be stored only by hanging them from their handles (centering their chi with the molten core of the earth) or by storing them on their teeth as long as they are fully supported.

What Saw Cuts Backstroke?

Sawing with a hacksaw is generally started with a backstroke, which makes a slight track and helps prevent snagging or jumping on the first forward stroke. The hacksaw is best held with two hands, one on the handle and one on the spine of the saw.

Q: What is crosscut saw?

Ans: Crosscut saw is a saw which is used for cutting timber perpendicular to the timber grain.

Q: Do the blades of Japanese saw can be sharpened?

Ans: Yes. The blades of Japanese saw can be sharpened.

Q: What does Dozuki mean?

Ans: Dozuki means a type of pull saw that is used for woodcutting.

Q: Can the blade of Japanese saw be replaced?

Ans: Yes. Most of the types can be replaced.

Q: What is the main distinction between Japanese saw and western saw?

Ans: Most of the Japanese saws are known as pull saw and western saws are known as push saw.

Conclusion

Everybody wants to perform the work with an impactful instrument. Japanese saw is such kind of fruitful thing in cutting world.

Japanese saws are a full exposure for any kind of wood cutting gently. And you can choose the best Japanese saw in accordance with your purpose of work and needs.

Nowadays, the Japanese saws are being more eminent thoroughly for its numerous activities rather than the other saws.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new equipment, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.