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I have a lot of 10x10mm wood to cut and I tried cutting it with the saw pictured below but it took a long time to make it through the first cut, IMHO it's not worth a darn. I got it with a basic tool kit and I believe it's a razor saw of unknown quality. I know it's hard to say without having used it but is this specific model just poor or is a razor saw (or whatever this is) just not what I want? The instructions say the 10x10 wood is balsa but it's the toughest balsa I've ever seen. If a quality razor saw is significantly better than what I'm using that might work or possibly a different type of saw, I'm looking for ideas. Every review says the saw cuts great so real word experience is needed.


Have anyone tried the Japanese hand saws, they look like they would fit the bill but never having used one I'm hesitant to spend the money without knowing if they're really better.


I need a hand saw, with my workspace situation power tools just won't work. Any ideas or recommendations to cut through this wood would be greatly appreciated, I probably have around 100 cuts to make. I don't need a super clean cut as these pieces will be hidden once the model is finished, but I'm working in a fairly small space so smaller would be better. 



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I have a pair of the small pull type Japanese saws. They are a bit expensive but I really like them. They have very thin stainless blades, sharp teeth and no set to the teeth so they cut very smoothly. Since they're pulled through the kerf they tend to cut straighter and the lack of set allows cutting very near to if not against finish surfaces.




Highly recommended.



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I am ham handed enough that I can (and have) destroy(ed) almost any hand tool.  Here’s my take on the Japanese saws.  They require careful use!  If you are used to conventional saws and try to push these you can buckle the blade.  Personal experience!  This is not necessarily a reason not to buy one, you just have to master the technique.


You don’t say what kind of cuts that you are trying to make but other choices might be a coping Saw, or a Zona razor saw. Both of these can be used with blades with different tooth counts.  



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My current favorite for crosscutting is


Japanese Curved-edge Mini Saw

Item # 3612


from StewMac .  As with other Japanese saws, it cuts on the pull stroke.  This works better for me than the Western push cut blades.  The curve makes it easier for me to place it where I want it.  Was not an intuitive aspect for me - a pleasant surprise was that.


The unfortunate part is that StewMac is out of stock - too many luthiers love it? 

I also have the saw that Jim presents.  Broke it at the handle - bought another one - will just be more careful with it.

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I had my eye on the Japanese two sided saw that CPDDET said he uses so I went ahead and ordered one. One day later I have it and have been able to do some cutting with it and the difference is huge. It seems like it cuts at least ten times faster than the hobby razor saw I was using. Took a little patience to learn to use it but the results are impressive. I hadn't needed a saw much before this but I recommend this to anyone who needs something to cut wood cleanly and quickly. 


Thanks for all the great information everyone. I had no idea of the world of hand tools that is out there. A rabbit hole I'll have to be careful not to get too deep into as working with hand tools is one of my favorite parts of the building process.

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1 hour ago, Smile-n-Nod said:

The ZONA fine razor saw comes in 42 teeth per inch (and fewer).


Some woodworkers use them for cutting dovetails.


They're inexpensive ($10 to $15) and work well.


These are great saws and I use them as my go to saw. Now here’s the thing - you can spend a fortune on some other types but then you have to sharpen them. I can’t be bothered to do that so I get these and when they are blunt I get a new one. Great saws at a reasonable price. 

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Posted (edited)


My first post here...I was a hand tool woodworker for many years till injury prevented me from doing heavy work...hence stepping into wooden ships.

Anyway, I started with the usual European style dovetail saw for joinery and then moved to a Japanese style saws and joinery techniques a little later on.


As it was first explained to me to understand the difference between the two styles as someone mentioned above is the pulling towards you.


I was told to think of a blade of grass held between two fingers with just a little pressure from your fingers, try pushing the blade of grass through and it will bunch up and you will be unable to do it.


Now with a Japanese style reverse this process and pull towards you.


The blade of grass will actually straighten out and tension itself as you pull towards you.


This allows for much thinner blades to be used and finer joinery such as done with shoji screen.

Japanese woodworking is a very contemplative and unique way of working with wood, but thats another story.


Most common Japanese joinery saws have two sides, one for ripping and the other for cross cutting.

There are many woodworking supply stores that sell them and you need not spend a ton of money.


Another nice feature is some of the better ones you are able to buy replacement blades that unscrew from the handle instead of the hassle of sharpening a saw but Japanese steel is notorious for holding their cutting abilities especially in softer woods...they look different, they work different and with practice you will make very very fine cuts as they are especially useful in soft materials.

Hope this helps,


Edited by Mike the Maxx
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8 hours ago, Mike the Maxx said:


My first post here..

Thank you, Mike, for that useful and colourful description. It makes perfect sense.

Welcome to the forum, sounds like you have the skills many of us wish for. Why not post an introduction in the 'new members' section?





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Mike's right on the money with his post.  I still have a number of Japanese pull-saws left over from an earlier carpentry career.  Some of them are 20+ years old, but time hasn't dulled them at all.  (The teeth are so brittle that they break off rather than dulling.)  I never had a problem using them on hardwoods either. (besides the teeth snapping off when I accidentally "hooked" an edge.) I still use the Zona (disposable?) type saws, for single pieces of smaller modeling stock, but the more expensive Japanese pull-saws are highly recommended.  If you're going to buy one, pick up a good quality (That website that Andreas mentioned looks good.) short single-edge model with a fine TPI count.  There's also a nice Suizan 7 inch - 30 TPI flush -cut Suizan on Amazon for $34.60US. 


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