How To Use a Japanese-Style Pull Saw - Fine Homebuilding

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Building Skills

Building Skills


How To Use a Japanese-Style Pull Saw

comments (5) November 7th, 2011 in Blogs

Video Length: 4:23


You probably won’t need a pull saw every day, but it’s a great tool to have when the need arises. Unlike Western-style saws, which cut on the push stroke, Japanese-style saws cut on the pull. Pulling on the blade takes advantage of steel’s higher tensile strength compared to its compressive strength. As a result, the extrathin blade on a Japanese saw cuts straighter and with greater accuracy than the blade on a Western saw. Watch as timber-framer Will Beemer shows exactly how to use a pull saw in this episode of Building Skills.



posted in: Blogs, handsaws

Comments (5)

FHBdotcom FHBdotcom writes: Yutmori,
Thank you for sharing your insight into the use of a Japanese saw in this nontraditional way, and for sharing the link with the wonderful photos of how they are typically used Japan (http://vicdiy.com/tool_select/001/001.html). I'm glad you found our adaptation interesting enough to mention it on your own website.
- Rob Wotzak, web producer

Posted: 2:55 pm on December 7th

yutmori yutmori writes: A comment from Japanese. As Julimor mentioned, normally we use Japanese saws in a standing/crouching position holding a lumber tightly with foot(-->http://vicdiy.com/tool_select/001/001.html).
And our motto is "Practice makes perfect" or "Practice makes god hand", so professional carpenters don't cut in your way.

But I think your way of cutting causes no back pain and needs no particular skills. So it's a better way to cut lumber precisely for diyers. I'd like to introduce your way in my blog (-->http://gwald.com/blog1/2011/11/post_428.html). Thanks.
Posted: 9:56 pm on November 9th

WillBeemer WillBeemer writes: Thanks for the comments, folks. I'm unfamiliar with the physics that would make the design of the saw dependent on the lower position, and would welcome further explanation, or for that matter, why a push saw requires the piece be elevated. As a timber framer, one "rule" (if there are any) is to handle the pieces as little as possible, and bring the tool to the piece, rather than vice-versa which might be preferable with lighter pieces as in Japanese work. Since earlier layout and later joinery tools (such as a mortiser) on a timber might require the piece be at waist height for comfort, that may "rule". Thanks again for the insight.
Posted: 6:05 pm on November 7th

WoodWolf WoodWolf writes: I was wondering as I watched the video why he doesn't put the work piece near to the ground as these Japanese saws were developed to work this way most effectively as the previous comment states?
Posted: 9:22 am on November 7th

Julimor Julimor writes: Japanese hand saws were designed for the sawyer to stand above the piece he or she is sawing. Typically, the sawyer stands on the piece, and thereby stabilize it, and then makes the cut.

When using pull saws, we have to forget the rules for cutting with a push saw, such as placing the wood on saw horses. In this instance, the saw horses impaired the sawyer's ability to quickly and effectively make the cut.
Posted: 8:17 am on November 7th

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