Japanese hand saws VS American saws

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Forum topic by Michigander posted 04-10-2015 04:37 PM 2000 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Michigander's profile


220 posts in 2624 days

04-10-2015 04:37 PM

Topic tags/keywords: japanese vs american hand saws

I am lucky to have a Lie Nielsen Dovetail saw which is one of the most beautiful and functional tools I have ever bought. I also have a quality Gyokucho Japanese dovetail saw. The LN has a .013” blade and the Gyokucho has a .010” thick blade. Both cut extremely well but I seem to gravitate to the Japanese saw because it cuts on the pull stroke instead of the push stroke. It is also easier to start a cut accurately with the Japanese saw. It seems that saws that cut on the push stroke would be easier to bend as the blade bends when pinched, whereas saws that cut on the pull stroke are in tension when and if they are in a bind and are less likely to bend. I love the look and feel of the American saws but I like the way the Japanese saw cuts on the pull stroke. Does it make sense to have a an American style saw (large ergonomic handle like the Lie Nielsen saw) but with the teeth reversed so it cuts on the pull stroke? It would seem that larger rip saws and crosscut saws would benefit most from the anti- binding saw blade that cuts on the pull stroke. Half the old hand saws I see have a buckle in the blade where binding during a cut caused the blade to bend. What are your thoughts?

6 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17766 posts in 3211 days

#1 posted 04-10-2015 05:16 PM

Seems feasible to me. Ive never worked with a pull stroke saw so Im guessing a bit here, but if using a larger handsaw, not a backsaw or dovetail saw, there is a bit of downward force that needs to be applied to cut and I would assume that it would be more difficult to put downward pressure on a saw that cuts on the pull stroke.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View dawsonbob's profile


3103 posts in 1960 days

#2 posted 04-10-2015 05:32 PM

I would have to agree with chrisstef about the larger saws, but for joinery japanese pull saws are — for me — far superior. I’ve been using them for a few years now, and there’s no going back.

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View madts's profile


1874 posts in 2545 days

#3 posted 04-10-2015 06:41 PM

Just about all saw configurations are in the pull saw style. The old saws used to fell trees were pull-pull saws
Same for dimensioning lumber. Pull saw are my chosen saw tools.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View exelectrician's profile


2328 posts in 2632 days

#4 posted 04-10-2015 08:51 PM

I know all about the bias toward HF but this saw is simply amazing. I always have at least two in my shop, they are disposable when they get slightly dull.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Woodknack's profile


12431 posts in 2585 days

#5 posted 04-10-2015 10:05 PM

I know all about the bias toward HF but this saw is simply amazing. I always have at least two in my shop, they are disposable when they get slightly dull.

- exelectrician

They are great saws and can easily be resharpened since they are plain ol’ carbon steel.

-- Rick M,

View shipwright's profile


8166 posts in 3003 days

#6 posted 04-11-2015 03:42 PM

+1 on the last two posts.
I love that cheap little saw.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

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