Japanese Dozuki or English Dovetail saw?

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Forum topic by Joekwon80 posted 03-22-2012 01:45 AM 11701 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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87 posts in 2464 days

03-22-2012 01:45 AM

Which do you prefer and why?

I’ve talked to and watched several videos of people singing the praises of the Japanese Dozuki and at sometimes half the price of dovetail saws I want to know what everyone else thinks before I purchase my first handsaw.

-- Joe Kwon

16 replies so far

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Jorge G.

1537 posts in 2676 days

#1 posted 03-22-2012 01:49 AM

I found the japanese saws keep a better line, in other words it is easier to cut straight with them than with the traditional hand saw. I use both kinds, the japanese saws for on site work and the traditional saws at the shop, since they are more expensive. Once you get used to the saws it really does not matter which kind you use. If I had to vote for a first hand saw I would vote for the japanese saw.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

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10477 posts in 3849 days

#2 posted 03-22-2012 02:02 AM

Bowsaw for ripping joints and dovetails. Dozuki for
tenon shoulders, small lap joint cuts (shoji screen type
stuff) and small dovetails. The dozuki cuts straight
but is not a rip saw and ripping with it is tiring but

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2613 posts in 3198 days

#3 posted 03-22-2012 02:06 AM

I bought a used Japanese saw about a year ago, I am wondering WHY I never had one before. This cuts easier and straighter. Thinner cut as well. Took awhile for the PULL rather than Push action !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

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8523 posts in 2778 days

#4 posted 03-22-2012 03:31 AM

Japanese saw no doubt. That saw cuts quick and accurate with a small kerf to boot.

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302 posts in 2531 days

#5 posted 03-22-2012 04:31 AM

I just bought a $9.99 japanese type saw from Harbour freight just to try it out. one edge is for crosscut, the other for ripping. Even for a cheap saw that probably wont stay sharp very long, I was surprised at how fast it cuts and how easy it is to use. I am definitely investing in a few better quality saws of this type. I am relatively new to hand tool work also, and I’ve cut a few tenons and other things with it. It is now my go to saw for cuts that I don’t want to set the table saw up for

-- Welcome to downtown Coolsville, Population: US! --Hogarth Hughes

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693 posts in 2519 days

#6 posted 03-22-2012 04:50 AM

I have one of those $10 HF saws too. I reallly like it. I usually drag a regular saw backwards to start the cut anyway. These saws make more sense. They are easier to control, and rather than using muscle to push through the cut, gravity and your fat ass pull it through the cut. You just lean back and drag it across. Pushing a saw causes it to bend and climb out of the cut. Pulling it is much easier, and the saw stays straight and down in the cut. I wish I would have tried one years ago. If this one gets too dull, I’ll go spend ten more dollars.

-- I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. I'm sorry,thanks.

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302 posts in 2531 days

#7 posted 03-22-2012 04:57 AM

They really are a huge difference to western saws. They may have drawbacks… maybe… but I haven’t found any or even read about any. Western traditional saws, While I’d love to eventually learn more with them, really seem to take much more skill to get as fine a cut

-- Welcome to downtown Coolsville, Population: US! --Hogarth Hughes

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10477 posts in 3849 days

#8 posted 03-22-2012 05:05 AM

Those HF saws have teeth that are ground different from
Japanese pullsaws. The HF saws do cut on the pull,
but the one I have is inferior to a Japan saw. I use it on
PVC and for hacking cuts in dirty wood. The starter
saw I recommend for finer work and carpentry is
the rattan-handled Gyokucho ryoba. The Gyokucho
has a stiffer blade than the commonly found
inexpensive plastic handled pullsaws.

The real dozukis and ryobas have the crosscut teeth ground
with 3 facets per tooth. Its a very specific way of filing
saw teeth that makes the cut so fast and smooth.

View Ben's profile


302 posts in 2531 days

#9 posted 03-22-2012 05:25 AM

I know HF is no match for a true japanese saw. They are however a very small investment and a good way to get an idea of how well they work over other saws, especially being new to woodworking as I am. At least as far as finer work, I’ve done construction and remodel work for years but shop work is an entirely different thing. If you can afford real Japn saws, more power to you but for just trying it out to see if you like that style, HF is definitely worth 10 bucks

-- Welcome to downtown Coolsville, Population: US! --Hogarth Hughes

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12431 posts in 2581 days

#10 posted 03-22-2012 07:01 AM

Bow saw.

-- Rick M,

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439 posts in 2781 days

#11 posted 03-22-2012 01:16 PM

Sorry to hijack the thread, but . . .


I see two 9.5” Gyokucho ryobas at Japan Woodworker (also available through Amazon, from Japan Woodworker):

“Gyokucho 9-1/2 Double Edge (Ryoba) RazorSaw

“9-1/2 Double Edge (Ryoba) RazorSaw for Hardwoods

Since I work with a lot of hardwood, I’m guessing I’d want the latter – with a thinner blade?

Can you also recommend a comparable dozuki?

My wife gave me an Amazon gift card, so maybe I should replace the bent and twisted Shark I’m currently struggling with . . .


-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View alohafromberkeley's profile


257 posts in 2605 days

#12 posted 03-24-2012 03:15 AM

Japanese style saws are pretty much all I’ve used for the last 15 yrs.-exceptions are my fret & coping saws and even they cut on the pull stroke! I even have a Western style tenon saw that has Japanese cross cut teeth and works on the push stroke. The Gyokucho brand are factory made w/ impulse hardened teeth, which makes them near impossible to resharpen. But the prices are so low that I always have a couple replacement blades on hand. After 15 yrs the only reason I replaced my handle and blade is because someone stole it! When and if the Gyokucho dulls, it can be cut up to make card scrapers and profiled beading blades…I can’t recommend them enough!!! If at a later point you want to upgrade, there are quite a few hand-made pull saws from Japan ( $120 to $300+)...check out Hida Tools, Japan Woodworker (Woodline), and Tools From Japan. Joe, I think you’re in for quite a treat! My suggestion is to buy a dozuki.

-- "After a year of doing general farmwork, it was quite clear to me that chickens and I were not compatible"-George Nakashima

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10477 posts in 3849 days

#13 posted 03-24-2012 03:27 AM

Well Jim, I have the older one for softwoods and I’ll bet they
cut a wider kerf because they are traditional carpenter saws
from Japan. The saws for hardwoods are aimed probably at
Western buyers.

I will say that the ryoba is not a precision saw for furniture
cuts; it lacks a back and so while it will cut fairly straight it
won’t cut as straight and fine as a dozuki. The wider set
for softwoods is not to make the saw cheaper or less
refined, it’s to compensate for the softness of the wood
pushing back when cut…. kind of hard to explain but when
you crosscut oak and pine on a table saw you see the oak
has less deflection of the fibers within the softer growth

The newer generation of Japan saws exported to the USA
include saws designed with finer tooth patterns for cuts
in hardwoods.

I say buy the Gyokochu ryoba for soft woods but that’s
what I know and use. It’s a versatile saw and the teeth
are not easily broken (which is an issue with dozukis).

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439 posts in 2781 days

#14 posted 03-24-2012 12:05 PM


Thanks so much. I’m glad I asked, since I would have gotten the hardwood version.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

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36 posts in 2299 days

#15 posted 08-30-2012 10:37 PM

I sold stuff on eBay in order to get my two Japanese saws. One is a single edged saw (kataha) with a 10” blade and a very short stiffener that helps hold the blade in the handle. I’ve used this saw for cutting table legs and other parts. The other is a small detail saw with a full length stiffener that’ll cut 3/4” max. My next saw will be the double edged (ryoba) saw for cuts making larger. I get better results than from my junk table saw!

-- 'The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.' - Chaucer

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