Japanese Saws
Beatrix Kiddo and her trusty Kataba

Welcome back on this blog! 

This article will not be like everyone else. 

I talk specifically about three tools that I have personally tested and which were provided to me by Dieter Schmid of www.utensiliprofessionali.com . 

Among other things, I can really recommend to make a visit on his website because there are fantastic products and TRUE professional quality , and on the internet are not so easy to find. 

It’s really worth spending a few money more to have tools of this quality. 

But back to the subject of the post. 

In my path of Apprentice Woodworker I couldn’t avoid Japanese Saws . 


I have already made brief reference in Read all about the wood cutting  , but today I will explain in detail how they behave when these tools are used in the laboratory.

Japanese saws
Ryoba, Dozuki and Kataba

Cutting wood
 with these saws is extremely pleasant and satisfying.

Firstly because the cut is clean and subtle .

In addition, the two-handed grip allows to calibrate well the pressure exerted and the speed as well as allowing the total control over the cut . 

Another very famous characteristic of Japanese Saws is that, in contrast to Western Saws ,  cutting takes place in traction phase and not during the thrust. 

This, coupled with all two-handed grip , gives the user a good management of the cut.
Mistakenly you may think that these tools are used only for extremely precise cuts and delicate.
This is true only partly. In fact, it depends on several factors:
– Thickness and length of the blade
– Size and design of the teeth
– Shape of the blade

In particular, the saws about i’m going to talk, having different characteristics, can be used for different objectives.

In this article you’ll find the “how to use it” video and i’ll talk about the technical characteristics of three types of Japanese Saws: Ryoba, Dozuki and Kataba. 

Let’s start!




The Ryoba is the best known and most purchased Japanese Saw

Probably due to its versatility and comfort. 
The one that I used in this particular case has a 250 mm blade length and 0.5 mm thickness. 
Versatile because, as you can see from the photo, is equipped with double cutting edge with 2 types of different teeth
On the one hand, clenched and close teeth for crosscuts and the other teeth slightly larger and spaced for rip cutting . 


Japanese saws
Blade Detail
This duality allows to have in effect two tools in one and, especially in the realization of joints , it is a good advantage.
For example, if you have to  cut a tenon , you can cut the vertical part with the cutting edge with larger teeth and, simply by turning the handle, remove the tenon’s shoulders using the opposite cutting edge.
A flaw of Ryoba is the freedom of movement of the blade (does not have a back-rib) which, combined with its very low thickness, makes it very delicate and subject to cracking.
For this you have to pay close attention during use and never force too much cutting.
However you can always replace the blade with a single simple movement and without using special tools.
One advice I want to give is to not use various sizes of blades on the same handle .
This is because each handle is made specifically for a particular type of blade.
For sale you will also find the protective cases .
The possibility of disassembling the blade quickly and simple is also very useful because, being a tool of fairly large size (total length 580 mm) is difficult to carry.
Therefore, by removing the blade, you can store it safely in your toolbox .
In the video below you can see the use of Ryoba in detail and how to dismantle and reassemble the blade:
The Dozuki is certainly the second more common Japanese Saw.  
It is famous for its extreme precision.
In fact, as you can see from the picture, it is a back-ribbed Saw.
What does it mean and why is this detail so important?
Back-ribbed Saw, as the name implies, means that the back of the blade is equipped with a reinforcement which stiffens as much as possible the blade reducing the bending of the same.
Since we speak of high precision saws – then the very thin blade (in this specific case 0.3 mm thickness for a length of 240 mm) – the back-rib prevents the breakage of the blade.
Another feature that makes it so valuable and high quality is the thin and thick teeth .
The use of Dozuki is therefore limited mainly to cases in which there is need for great precision both rip cut and crosscut.
Ideal for perfect Dovetails!
If you’ve never tried I suggest you sincerely to do so soon: this saw will change your way of seeing the work!
Also if you are a perfectionist who demands the ultimate from their equipment you can not help it.
The limit of Dozuki remains that of all the backstroke saws : the limited depth of cut (60 mm in this case).
Like I said, though, this is not a universal tool, but specific to certain operations.
Watch the video to find out how best to use the Dozuki :
At the beginning of Article i made a joke with the name of this Sword…er… Saw.
In fact both the name and the form of this tool bring to mind the famous Katana , the Japanese Samurai Sword that, among others, Uma Thurman in the Tarantino‘s Movie,  Kill Bill,  twirls with great skills by breaking down the enemies as if they were twigs.
And holding the Kataba the feeling you get is the same!
But don’t worry, you don’t need to wear a kimono or a yellow Bruce Lee suit to use it.
You only have take the precautions that I pointed you to the other saws.
Pay attention to the fragility of the blade which, although thicker than the other two (0.6 mm in this case) is still subject to cracking.
Handle it with two hands for precision and more control.
Always remember that the cut occurs in traction phase  (after some minutes it will seem quite natural).
The handle , however, is amazing because, in addition to its ergonomic shape , is covered with rubber .
Kataba is perfect for crosscut , but it goes very well also for rip cuts , provided that it is not required a so high precision.
Teeth are large and thick and this makes it very convenient on site or for slightly coarse cuts .
Another key feature is the portability : this Saw is foldable and once closed the teeth remain protected in a groove present on the handle.
Japanese saws
The Kataba closed
Close it is very simple, just press the black hook on the back at the top of the handle.
To reopen it you just have to take it and bring it back to the desired position by pressing and holding the same hook until the blade will not be blocked.
Really a big plus!


The differences in the cuts left by the three saws


This article ends here, in a little of sawdust and a lot of satisfaction for having learned new and very useful things.
I’m sure it was also useful for you.

I remind you that if you want to buy Japanese Saws  (and other tools) of very good quality so safe and comfortable , you can do so through the website www.utensiliprofessionali.com . 

It is a Germany  Company, but the website (very well done) is multilingual and they also speak very well Italian and English as well as being professional and kind.
If you notice inaccuracies or want to suggest ideas or changes I invite you to write it in the comments (I remind you that I am a  novice  and this  blog  also lives the advice of more experienced readers ).
Furthermore, I remind you to stay up to date on my articles and don’t miss the news you can  Subscribe to the newsletter  (top right) and follow my  Facebook page ,  my Instagram profile and my Pinterest board . 
Good luck and have fun.
See you next time!
The Wood Blogger


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