Jap saw users??

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Forum topic by curliejones posted 02-26-2015 05:22 PM 1186 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View curliejones's profile


183 posts in 2506 days

02-26-2015 05:22 PM

Topic tags/keywords: hand saws pull saws tenons dovetails japanese saws

After lots of reading, I’m trying to narrow my choice of dovetail/tenon saws. The field is narrow (two saws) and I’m trying this at the beginning of a hand tool “excursion”. I want to start with something decent and well-suited to the task just to give it a fair chance at success and therefore, my satisfaction.

I read one article professing that a 210mm saw was much preferred by the author compared to his original 240mm saw. He says the teeth are finer, but I say if the teeth are rated at # teeth/ inch that should be a non-factor. It seems the 240mm saws are much more common for dovetailing/tenon cutting and the current wisdom is that a saw filed for rip will do a better job.

I’ve narrowed the field to a 240mm saw by Gyokucho, a number 372, and an Eaks 210 mm saw by Nakaya. Cost is close and the description talks of how easy to use the the 210 is. That said, The blade thickness is about 50% greater on the 240mm saw and I am wondering if that would make controlling the saw easier – remember I’m a newbie to hand saws. Both saws are filed for rip. Both saws have glowing remarks made by the seller, who happens to sell both.

I guess my query is very specific when it comes to comparing a particular model, but I would appreciate any general experienced opinions on blade thickness as well as experience with these two saws in particular.

-- Like Guy Clark sez - "Sometimes I use my head, Sometimes I get a bigger hammer"

5 replies so far

View Mykos's profile


103 posts in 2034 days

#1 posted 02-26-2015 05:36 PM

How thick is the material you’ll be working with most of the time ? A dovetail in 1/4” stock and a 4” wide tenon cheek are both rip cuts, but you probably want a different saw pitch for each.

I looked up both the saws you mentioned and they are both fine pitch saws. The 210mm is 32tpi, which is incredibly fine. If you’re doing tiny jewellery boxes or dovetails in very thin stock then it may be what you want. The sawplate is also super thin, so you’ll need to be quite careful not to kink it.

If you’re doing furniture scale joinery work in 1/2” – 1” stock then I’d probably go with the 19tpi Gyokucho. It’ll cut more quickly and be less likely to kink or bind than the 210mm saw.

View Jerry's profile


2926 posts in 1888 days

#2 posted 02-26-2015 05:39 PM

I’ve used several different Japanese saws for dovetailing, but surprisingly, I got my best results with a new old stock Disston back saw. I was puzzled by this at first, but upon analysis, I discovered that because the Japanese saws were so thin, it was extremely difficult to get the type of interference fit you need to get a tight dovetail joint. Cutting on the waste side of the knifeline, the thicker saw blade gives that little extra wood fiber to make the joint extremely tight.

My next dovetail saw is going to be this one


In the rip tooth version.

I know this is not what you asked, but I thought I’d share my thoughts anyway.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View jmartel's profile


8280 posts in 2390 days

#3 posted 02-26-2015 05:44 PM

Jerry, you may want to rethink that Pax saw.

Send a message to ErikF on here and I’m sure he’d be able to make you a saw that’s better than the Pax for comparable money (more or less, not sure what his prices are at the moment).

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View curliejones's profile


183 posts in 2506 days

#4 posted 02-26-2015 09:30 PM

0.2mm saw plate, @0.26mm kerf width, 17tpi rip teeth, 210mm blade length. – These are the specs cited for the Nakaya saw and only 17 tpi is what I’ve found.

However, the thickness of the plate is probably more the issue with both kinking and losing teeth (again, I’m a beginner with these fine tools). – I will mostly be working in 1/2’ to 1” stock building furniture. I truly want to get good with hand tools and work quietly and without lots of set-up time. I long ago recognized that once set up, you might as well be making five of the same thing.

Thanks for the input!

-- Like Guy Clark sez - "Sometimes I use my head, Sometimes I get a bigger hammer"

View waho6o9's profile


8539 posts in 2817 days

#5 posted 02-26-2015 10:03 PM

+1 for ErikF saws and marking gauges.

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