Japanese Saws

All about Japanese Saws

Japanese saws are excellent woodworking saws that are precise and economical. At first it can seem confusing deciding what saw to get and use for a project. They have different names and there is such a wide variety of them. Often people coming into our store stare at the display of Japanese saws and don’t know where to start. We will try to demystify that and break the saws down into their three main categories: Double edged saws, Single Edge Saws with rigid backs, and Single Edged saws with non-rigid backs. Once you understand these general categories, then you only need to pick out the saw for the type of work you are doing.

There are several fundamental differences between Japanese style saws and Western style saws. The biggest difference is that Japanese saws cut on the pull stroke instead of the push stroke with teeth that are reversed from the Western saws. Another is they have straight long handles as opposed to the pistol grips of Western saws. This better facilitates the pulling of blade.

Japanese saws come in two general configurations. One (Kataba) is a single edged. The second saw type you will see is the (Ryoba) is double edged. The double edged saws have Rip teeth on one side and Crosscut on the other – very convenient for working on joinery.

Being used on the pull stroke gives these saws some interesting characteristics. By using the pull stroke you can more easily use your body weight to pull the saw. Traditionally the Japanese carpenter worked sitting down or squatting so pulling was much more natural. But the pull stroke can be equally effective on traditional workbenches. Because of the pull stroke you are much less likely to bind or kink the blade. This allows the use of a much thinner blade and much harder more brittle steel (keeping it sharper longer). It also allows these saws to have replaceable or interchangeable blades.

Types of Saws Craftsman Studio Carries:


This Double Edged saw has crosscut on one side and rip on the other. The blades are narrower at the heel than at the end. This saw is good for general purpose woodworking and cabinet making. We carry two different versions of this saw:

· Double Edge Saw- 8 ¼ inch blade, Crosscut 17 tpi, Rip 8 tpi (Part number J19.605.0)

· Double Edged Saw for Hardwoods- 9 ½ inch blade, Crosscut 22 tpi, 9 tpi (part number J19.650.0)

Dozuki Saw

This is a crosscut saw with an extremely fine blade with a rigid back. The Dozuki saw is used for precision joinery work such as dovetails and Tenon work.

· Dozuki Saw for Joinery work – 9 ½ inch blade with 21 tpi (Part number J19.372.0)

· Dozuki Dovetail saw – 9 ½ inch blade with 18 tpi (J19.303.0)

· Dozuki Mortise saw – 9 1/2 inch blade 18 tpi (Part number J19.300.0)

· Dozuki Fine Cut Trim Saw – 7” 28 tpi (Part number J19.292.0)


This saw has teeth along one edge and can be either rip or crosscut. As opposed to the Dozuki, this one does not have rigid back. This allow you to cut long deep grooves with upper teeth of the Ryoba-Noko or the ridge of the Dozuki saw.

· Kataba Saw for Hardwoods – 10” blade with 22 tpi crosscut teeth (Part number J19.105.0)

· Z Saw for hardwoods and softwoods – 10” blade 10tpi RIP (Part Number JW-156725)


Kugihiki means “to cut nails”. This flexible crosscut saw is for trimming wood or wooden nails. It is thinner at the base and wider at the end. The teeth have no set allowing it to cut a very smooth surface.

Flush Cutting Saw – blade length 6 ¼” 24 tpi (Part number J15.811.5)