How to Use a Japanese Style Pull Saw




Introduction: How to Use a Japanese Style Pull Saw

About: I love woodworking and tinkering and make new videos about it every week! Come join me on my YouTube channel!

I wanted to have a quick chat about pull-saws.

They are really different than western saws, and I've become a big fan.
There are two sides to this type of saw, one for cuts along the grain and one for across the grain. The fine-toothed one is for cross cuts and it is what I'll use.

I highly recommend these types of saws, and if you want one you can get them for pretty cheap here.

This is a fantastic book on Japanese Joinery, if you're interested in learning more about how these masters work.

Japanese woodworking is a pretty broad subject. This is one of my favorite books by Toshio Odate, which explains what to use when, and why.

If you're serious about doing joinery, you should also have a "Kataba" saw, which has only one edge and a rib that steadies the back of the blade (similar to what you'd see in a dovetail saw).

Step 1: Making a Perfectly Square Cut Across the Grain

I wanted to show you how I make quick work of a cut and make it
perfectly square.

We're going to make a cut here on the end of the scrap of wood. I start by using my square to mark where I want the cut to be. Next I'm going to follow this line down onto the perpendicular faces. This will give me a guide for when I'm cutting to ensure that I'm cutting 90degrees to my line.

Step 2: Now I'm Ready to Make My Cut!

I use a small block of wood to clamp against my work-piece. If I don't, the clamps will leave a mark.

I start my cut on the corner, and pull down towards me.

I'll make a shallow pass on the top line, and then work my way down the perpendicular line. Using my finger to steady the saw helps me guide it.

Step 3: Easy Does It at the End

Be gentle at the end and hold the off cut so that the last bit of wood doesn't splinter off.

And there you go, nice 90deg cuts with a Japanese pull saw.

Thanks for reading!

If you're interested in more woodworking tutorials like this, come join me in my YouTube Woodworking channel, Click Clack Clunk!

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    5 Discussions


    2 months ago

    The instructions photos miss out a very important point with Japanese saws . The rule is "Only cut the surfaces you can see ". So for a thick piece of wood make a shallow kerf cut at the far end, and then cut down on the side nearest you. The far side only keeps the shallow kerf till you have cut down to a 45 degree angle. Then turn the wood around and cut down the other side to 45 degrees. Then finish off the internal section . Do not trust the far end of the blade to cut straight on it`s own . The teeth near the handle can control the direction of the cut . This is the Japanese way to cut accurately .


    1 year ago

    Absolutely love these saws.


    Tip 1 year ago

    Sears Craftsman hand saws have a triple grounded blade with perpendicular teeth, and cut in both directions (push and pull). I have used my saw to cut up a palm tree after Hurricane Maria knocked the palm tree down, and we were without power. It took effort but the cut was smooth. I suggest anyone who prefer hand tools to visit the local Sears store to see and feel the modern Craftsman hand saws.