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Japanese v English Pattern Saws

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The Restorer

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Hi folks,

Sure this one has been asked before but, has anyone out there used both Japanese saws and english pattern saws and found a definite preference? I don't mean just for one specific thing i.e. dovetailing but in general (although if you're convinced that the Japanese saws far out class the others for dovetailing i'd like to hear that too).

Just wondered what people thought. I suppose it probably depends if your matching a top quality saw like the Lie-nielsens against a quality japanese saw.

All comments/opinions welcomed.
 

chiba

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I use Japanese pattern saws basically because I don't have a choice - no English style ones here! It's been a long time (10 years?) since I used an English one, but from what I remember I prefer Japanese. To me it seems more natural to pull a thin piece of metal rather than push. No flexing, narrower kerf, etc. One thing to remember if you try them is that you've probably already invested a lot of time and brain cells in English style - you need approximately 1000 repetitions, preferably 2000, before an action become second nature.

As to matching top quality Japanese/English saws? Never done it. Japanese ones are hand made, cost a fortune and need regular fettling by an expert. Disposable blades are the way to go - they cut like the proverbial hot knife through butter and here they're very very cheap. There's an article in one of David Charlesworth's "Furniture Making" books that might interest you.
 

Frank D.

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I have both styles and much prefer...both. Without getting into a complicated explanation of what style of saw I use when, let's just say that somtimes I'm a pull guy, and other times I feel more pushy. The nice thing about Japanese saws is that the cheaper models with disposable blades (pulse-hardened) work very well, and you never have to worry about sharpening. You don't need to buy an expensive western saw to have one that cuts well, but you will eventually have to learn how to sharpen it.
Frank
 

Alf

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Western style for me. I like a tool I can sharpen myself - and buy cheap... :wink: Having said which I've never tried a Japanese saw that's actually meant for use on hardwoods, which puts them at a disadvantage.

Cheers, Alf
 

dedee

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My own somewhat brief experience of Jap saws is that they work better when the wood is held vertically, ie cutting DTs, then when the wood is held horizontally, ie when cutting a large sheet, as the sawdust produced is pulled towards you the cut line is too easily obscured.

Andy
 

Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

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I have and use both Japanese and Western backsaws. Because I build in hardwoods predominantly, I have been working on my skills with Western backsaws (LN Independence, Disston, John Cotterill, Stanley, and Crown). They are very capable of outperforming me, and I have some very good results with them. But every time I need to make a cut on which the future of civilization hangs, I grab a Japanese saw (mainly Z-saws, with a recent LV rip dovetail saw as the newby on the block).

I agree, pulling the saw towards one is a more natural action and less inclined to error. Plus the finish one gets from a Japanese saw is close to a finished surface. On the other hand, the Western saws last longer, and I would rather use one of my Disston or Spears&Jackson panel saws when cutting Jarrah and the like.

I guess that the two worlds will coexist for some time yet.

Regards from Perth

Derek
 
A

Anonymous

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I use both

For dovetails I use English pattern with rip teeth

For teneon cheeks I use english pattern with cross cut teeth

for everything else, I use japanese saws
 

jasonB

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For site I use Stanley Jetcuts in 7 & 11 tpi for carcasing, cutting boards etc and I also carry a Topman modern handled japanese saw with a good and not so good blade, use for any fine work but they will fly through 4x2 and are also good for plastic waste pipe.

On the bench I have another Topman, dozuki, mini dozuki and a japanese flush cut saw, use these for any fine handwork.

Jason
 

MikeW

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Both here as well...except I nearly always grab the western saws. I tend to twist the straight handled saws (Japanese or Gent's type) unless I am really careful.

I do have two LN saws, but they are not always the ones I reach for.

As for dovetails when I do cut them by hand (not often) they are typically very small. That's what I use the Japanese saw for the most.
 

The Restorer

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Thanks for the replies.

I've used jap saws for a number of years. Sun Child Dozuki and Restorers Saw for dovetails, i've also got a Ryoba from Bear/Vaughan.
I was asking because i've twisted the blade on the Sun Child (through age/wear) and was looking at going down the english route with LN's.
I work mainly in hard woods and find the sun child very capable.
 

devonwoody

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You can purchase Jap. throw away saws for around £12 and I have no complaints regarding there cutting action.

You can purchase Western saws for nearly £50 but no one wants to sharpen them professionally these days.

So for me the Japs win on this occasion.
 
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