Sunday, February 22, 2009
Hello everyone, as promised Japanese woodworking tools. Let us begin with the basic tool: the saw. The Japanese saw differs from western saws. Western saws are either a thin blade under tension and cut on the pull stroke or they're a large, single sided blade that cuts on the push stroke. Well, the Japanese saws are double sided and are not in tension but cut on the pull stroke. The one side of the blade is a shorter toothed cross cut blade, and the other a long toothed rip blade. The saw is thin allowing for a small kerf and surprisingly accurate.
These are the saws that I used as a boy because my grandfather and father used them. I don't know if the fact that I grew up using these saws influence my decision, but I prefer these compared to the other western saws that I have used. They're just more comfortable and more effective in cutting as far as I'm concerned. It seems that I'm not alone in this thought. Recently, I have seen these saws used by many western woodworkers and they are even available at local supply stores. Many years ago, you could only find these saws in Asian supply stores.
This saw's ability to make accurate, small cuts make them very useful in fine woodworking, but they can make rather large cut as well with the same accuracy. These are somewhat reminiscent of dovetail saws and in fact that is one of the uses of this saw.
I highly recommend that you try this saw out; they have become very popular and if you try them for yourself, I'm sure you like them as well. There is even one with a depth stop.
My father is a very picky man, and when he bought a saw like this many years ago, he was very impressed by the craftsmanship of the saw. It was made in Japan, and as my father says: "Those Japanese sure know how to make good tools!" It seems like this is a thought that is shared by many that I know.
Next time, even more tools and the history behind the craftsmanship of Japanese tools.