Three Saws

I just posted a product review over at LumberJocks on my new Japanese ryoba handsaw. Here is what I said:

I just got my very first Japanese handsaw the other day, and have really enjoyed breaking it in. I thought I’d just give you this review via some bullet points. Just know that my handsaw experience to date is a cheap Stanley crosscut saw (like any guy would own) and a Crown gent’s saw.

Pros:

  • Because the saw cuts on the pull stroke, I found it extremely easy to start a cut with zero downward pressure.
  • The saw cuts fast and does not require a lot of elbow grease to keep it going.
  • The blade can be adjusted to be at a slight angle to the handle, which will allow for working at the occasional awkward angle.
  • The double edge lets me rip and do cross cuts just as easily. I found it kind of tiring ripping and resawing with my little gent’s saw.
  • The saw cuts clean. I mean clean. The picture above (click it for an even bigger view) shows a comparison of how my three saws cut. If you can cut straight, you probably wouldn’t even need to plane it.
  • It looks freakin’ cool, man. And if we ever have an intruder in the house, I’m going right past the kitchen knives and heading for this puppy.

Cons:

  • Since the saw is double-edged, it bends fairly easily. This requires greater concentration when sawing in order to keep the blade moving in a perfectly straight line.
  • Because the blade gets wider as it moves away from the handle, you cannot use the back of the blade as a crude level. You need to more closely monitor how far down you’re cutting on the other side (dovetails, for example).
  • The teeth are more fragile, since only the tips are treated. From what I’ve heard, this makes the saw stay sharp longer, but also means that the teeth are more succeptible to breaking. No personal experience on that yet, but it’s made me extra gentle with it.
  • While you can sharpen it, most people advise against it, so you would have to buy a replacement blade. They only cost about $20, so no big deal I guess. A possible plus is if other Japanese blades (with different TPI for example) fit into my handle, which I haven’t checked on.

I got mine from The Japan Woodworker (via Amazon – I had a gift card) for about $35.

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