Flutterby™! : Pull saws

Next unread comment / Catchup all unread comments User Account Info | Logout | XML/Pilot/etc versions | Long version (with comments) | Weblog archives | Site Map | | Browse Topics

Pull saws

2008-12-08 15:07:54.286412+00 by Dan Lyke 9 comments

Woodcraft sent us a $10 coupon for December. On Saturday, among other things, we went up to Woodcraft to get some more Dominos, and while we were there we decided to save some money (can't use the coupon on Festool stuff). I'd heard great things about Japanese pull saws, so we got a Takumi Ryoba and a flexible flush-cut saw. Most western saws cut on the push-stroke, so you've got to have either a rigid back, or a fairly thick blade and a handle that lets the user compensate for potential flex with their wrists. Pull saws, obviously, cut on the pull stroke, so the blade kerf can be much thinner, since there's not a skill component to keeping the blade from buckling you can use those muscles for blade guidance and...

They've had this technology that's clearly superior to ours, and it's lasted for hundreds of years. How in the hell did they lose WWII? This is just the right way to build a saw. Period.

[ related topics: Woodworking ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2008-12-08 15:17:11.50958+00 by: meuon

We are better at killing people. In fact, historically I think we have proven to be the best. Not quite genocidal maniacs, but close enough for government work.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-12-08 17:34:32.398549+00 by: petronius

If aircraft carriers were made of wood, they might have beaten us.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-12-08 17:45:40.523592+00 by: dexev

Uh...Atomic Bombs?

#Comment Re: made: 2008-12-08 19:14:14.200588+00 by: m

Petronius, some WWII aircraft carrier decks were made of wood.

Pull saws are great. One of the best features is that unlike western saws, they come with their teeth set and sharpened for use. Western push saws on the other hand come unsharpened and unset. They require some skill and preferably a jig to ready for use.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-12-08 19:50:33.408447+00 by: Dan Lyke

dexev, while I don't think Truman made the wrong decision, I think that by the time the atomic bombs got dropped the Japanese were fighting a war of attrition. And perhaps this is simply a reminder that as much as we'd like it to be otherwise, politics trumps technology.

M, part of my enthusiasm could also be that I've never used a really good western saw, but I also love the graduated tooth rip saw. I think those are made in push versions, but that makes tons and tons o' sense, along with coming sharpened and set.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-12-08 20:07:06.335372+00 by: petronius

Actually I stumbled on a mail-order catalog a few years ago for Japanese woodworking tools, including pull saws. They are gorgeous. The also sold "sword grade" sharpening stones and myriad chisles for the intricate dovetailing used in their cabinetry. In this catalog they also feature an inkline, the Japanese answer to the chalkdust snapline used by American carpenters. It uses a light, washable ink instead of chalk, and the reel is a litle work of art in itself.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-12-08 22:14:06.268254+00 by: Dan Lyke

I've been over to Japan Woodworker in Alameda, the source of that catalog. The urge to say "one of those, and one of those, and..." was only barely restrained. Awesome store.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-12-09 15:49:19.845627+00 by: other_todd

The real question is that given the superiority of pull saws - even American-made pull saws are a substantial improvement over push ones for most of what I work with - why aren't more of us using them, why haven't they dominated that ecological niche by now?

I have one expensive Japanese one for very fine cuts and two larger, coarser American ones and I have not looked back at my push handsaw since then.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-12-09 15:56:50.423222+00 by: Dan Lyke

I see one advantage to push saws: They can cut faster, because you naturally put more downward force on the teeth during the push stroke. Perhaps that's the difference, pull saws only offer an advantage to those for whom accuracy is the deciding factor, otherwise it's speed and who cares if you're 1/16" off?