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Pull saw with western handle, excellent value

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Review by wch posted 1549 days ago 3971 views 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Pull saw with western handle, excellent value Pull saw with western handle, excellent value No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

This is a Japanese-style pull saw, but with a nontraditional design: it has a western-style handle, and a plastic reinforcing spine. It’s precise, has a very fine kerf (0.017”) and tracks straight, thanks to the spine. I find that it’s easier to cut straight with this saw, compared to other Japanese saws that I’ve used which don’t have a spine.

I first found out about this saw from a post on the Popular Woodworking blog. This saw is quite inexpensive (about $20), and has a replaceable blade. Oddly, Irwin doesn’t actually sell any replacement blades, but this saw appears almost identical to the Sharksaw Finecut saw, and those blades should fit, though they’re only a couple dollars less than a complete saw with handle. For the price, I don’t think you can beat this saw, if you’re looking for a precision backsaw.

I prefer this design to the Japanese dozuki (backsaw) with a straight handle, because it’s a bit more comfortable for the way I use the saw—the traditional Japanese way of sawing places the wood much lower than we do here in the west, and the straight handle seems to be designed for that. It’s also easier for me to control the vertical tracking of the saw with this kind of handle.

One thing that was a little annoying was that the blade rattled a little bit against the spine because it wasn’t a tight fit along the whole length of the spine. I fixed this by putting a little masking tape along the back of the blade—it can be seen sticking out a little bit in the photo above.

The picture should give you an idea of what the cuts look like. Bear in mind that the wood is douglas fir, which is a bit splintery, and that I’m not particularly skilled at sawing. You can see in the photo above that my cuts aren’t spaced quite right and that they aren’t quite parallel, but they are straight.




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wch

45 posts in 1583 days



14 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112008 posts in 2202 days


#1 posted 1549 days ago

Thanks for the review

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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TopamaxSurvivor

14721 posts in 2301 days


#2 posted 1549 days ago

Thanks for the tip

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4522 posts in 1699 days


#3 posted 1548 days ago

Good review. This is a good idea. I have a typical Japanese saw and the straight handle does not feel right to me.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1396 posts in 2089 days


#4 posted 1548 days ago

thanks for the review. I have their ryoba knock off and, while it works well, is more for rough work. I was curious about this one for more precise joinery. thanks for the masking tape trick.

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2273 days


#5 posted 1548 days ago

good review.

FYI AaronK: ryoba is designed for rip cuts whereas the saw in this review is designed for cross cuts – and has a finer tooth count. actually this one is designed mostly for joinery – hence the back support to keep it true.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View wch's profile

wch

45 posts in 1583 days


#6 posted 1548 days ago

AaronK: I also have the Irwin/Marples ryoba. This backsaw has only a marginally smaller tooth pitch than the crosscut side of the ryoba (19 vs. 17 teeth per inch), but I do find it noticeably easier to control, vertically, and in terms of keeping in a straight line. Of course, it’s also harder to steer back if you go off the target line.

PurpLev: Ryobas generally have both rip and crosscut side. Actually, I think the only way to get an inexpensive rip saw in the US is to buy a ryoba!

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AaronK

1396 posts in 2089 days


#7 posted 1548 days ago

Even the 17 tpi on the ryoba cuts really smoothly – but it IS tough to control, so it can be messy anyway. I think this’ll be my next hand tool purchase.

i’d like to see some more photos of work you’ve done with this – tenons or dovetails, for example.

View wch's profile

wch

45 posts in 1583 days


#8 posted 1548 days ago

AaronK: Sorry, I haven’t really done any joinery with it yet—I’ve mostly been using it for straight cuts. If you do get one and use it for that kind of work, let us know how it goes.

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AaronK

1396 posts in 2089 days


#9 posted 1548 days ago

no prob… but dont hold your breath – just cuz I said “next” doesnt mean “soon” :-)

View JohnnyW's profile

JohnnyW

83 posts in 1655 days


#10 posted 1548 days ago

I have the slightly longer version without the spline and a coarser tooth pitch and was having some troubles getting doing shoulder cuts on tenons. The cuts were leaving a fine finish (even in cheap pine) but weren’t straight near the start; my technique at fault, not the saw, but it looks like this would help with that.

Thanks for the review, I’ve found it very useful.

-- John

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TopamaxSurvivor

14721 posts in 2301 days


#11 posted 1547 days ago

Thanks for the report

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View velo_tom's profile

velo_tom

118 posts in 1641 days


#12 posted 1546 days ago

I’ve tried cutting joints with this saw and could not get it to track a line very well. The plastic spine did not hold the blade stiff enough. I then bought a Dozuki. The Dozuki’s straight handle took a bit of getting use to. I checked out some people using them to cut joints on YouTube and changed how I was holding the saw a bit and that seems to solve the problem. After using it a few times it starts feeling natural in the hands like any other hand tool.

-- There's no such thing as mistakes, just design changes.

View mmh's profile

mmh

3381 posts in 2347 days


#13 posted 1546 days ago

I have this saw and the teeth are incredibly sharp. They angle in 3 directions and make very quick work of 8” or smaller limbs. It’s easy to use and very reasonably priced too.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Dakkar's profile

Dakkar

297 posts in 552 days


#14 posted 548 days ago

Nice review. I’ve got a dovetail Sharksaw that I find myself using for practically everything small needing a handsaw. It looks like the Irwin versions of these tools are bit easier on the wallet. I also like the reinforcement on the back of the blade this one has. I may just pick one up soon.

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