Toolsday: Ryoba Pullsaw

Here's a slightly more interesting tool, one that might even be unusual for some of you, a Japanese "ryoba" pull saw.


Ryoba Saw

This is a cheap but serviceable ryoba I bought at the Home Despot for about $25. You can spend a lot more on a nicer pullsaw, but this is a sturdy useful saw from a good brand, Marples (now owned by Irwin).

The first thing you'll notice is that the saw has a straight handle. Most Western saws have "pistol" grips that keep your grip perpendicular to the line of movement, and only have room for one hand on the grip. This saw lines up the hand, arm, and saw, and has plenty of room for a two-handed grip when doing heavy cutting.

If you ever get to use one of these, you'll notice right off that it cuts on the pull stroke instead of the push stroke. This means that the blade is under tension while its cutting, which results in less bending of the saw and straighter cuts. If you have ever had a hard time using a Western saw without bending the blade, this style of saw might be for you.

That's not to say that the you can't bend the saw. The blade is actully much thinner than a Western saw, which enables you to cut curves when you want to, and hold part of the saw flush with the surface fo the wood while bending the handle up and away.

Not all Japanese saws are shaped like this with two cutting edges, but that's what makes this one a ryoba. The edge with the larger teeth is intended for rip cutting. The edge with the smaller teeth is intended to cross-cutting and detail cutting. So, no more need to buy and pack two saws when one has all the teeth you need.

The blade is removable. This means its replaceable, but also that it can be packed ina much smaller bag. The blade is about a foot long, and so is the handle, so a Western saw this long would need a two foot toolbox. This one can be pulled apart and carried in a much smaller space.

Especially if you're buying your first saw ever, I recommend buying a quality ryoba.

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2010.05.18 at 12:00am EDT