Japanese Hand Saw Variants...

Posted by hello@ ProTooling.com.au on

The terminology around all Japanese hand tools, and especially Japanese hand saws can be a little confusing when starting out, here are the most commonly used saw models and terms...

At the top level we have Nokogiri. Nokogiri simply translates to "saw" or "Japanese hand saw". This is basically just the word for all hand saws in Japan. Outside of Japan, these saws are usually called pull-saws (due to the saw cutting on the pull stroke of the sawing action) or occasionally razor saws (due to the thickness of the saw itself, they yield an extremely thin kerf), in the end, they all reference the same thing, a Japanese type hand saw.

The models of hand saw available...

Ryoba Saw - this is a doubled sided hand saw, with different teeth configurations on either side of the saw blade. If you don't buy one of our kits (which are great value by the way, cough, just saying), then a Ryoba saw is a great first buy. Double sided for wider applications, one of the better starting points into the world of Japanese hand tools.

Kataba Saw - this is general purpose saw, probably closest to that we see outside of Japan. Made for deep cutting applications, the 2 main types of Kataba saw are the Universal and the Cross-Cut. The cross-cut saw is made for cutting across the grain of timber, while the universal is used for cutting both with and across the grain. Universal saws are also know as Hybrid Saws, just to make it more complicated. We tend to recommend the universal variant of Kataba saw when starting out as this is the most flexible in application. 

Dozuki Saw - Technically a kataba saw also but often grouped individually, sometimes referred to as a Japanese Dovetail Saw in the west. Even though all Japanese saws are very precise, the dozuki saw is next level precision. If you need something for ultra fine joinery, start here. You cannot go as deep with these hand saws due to the wide spine, but this strengthening element of the saw makes it ultra precise, great for dovetail joints, tenons and the like.

Kugihiki Saw - These are flush cut saws with extremely flexible blades and appropriate teeth configurations to allow a cut flush against a surface. The saw can bend well past 90 degrees and cut against the face of an apposing surface

There are more saw variants available but these are the top 4 hand saws we see in use from Japan.

A few exceptions which we enjoy using ourselves, but do not see in use as much are the Kariwaku Saw. The Kariwaku pullsaw is a "carpenters saw" or "framing saw"... these are long, general purpose saws that are great for carpentry work, builders and gardening or landscaping applications. Lastly we really love the oddly shaped Azebiki saw, which is known as a barrel saw in the west. This hand saw is used for plunge cutting down into timber. Great for applications like cutting a sink into the middle of a bench or recessing into timber.

The main pullsaws styles also come in folding saw variants, great for onsite use as they store and travel well in your tool bag.


ProTooling Australia

Japanese Woodworking Tools, Whetstones and Kitchen Knives Australia

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