How to use a Japanese or pull saw?

How to use a Japanese or pull saw

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Before you begin

Use your thumb as a guide

Use your thumb as a guide

Some people like to place their thumb to the side of the line they want to cut, and turn it so the saw blade rests against their thumbnail.

This helps to guide the saw during the first few cuts, but great care must be taken when doing so.

Tired man

Should you push or pull?

As the name suggests, pull saws cut on the pull stroke, which means you should only apply downward pressure to the blade as you pull it back through the material.

On the push stroke, simply allow the blade to move through the cut; don’t apply force.

Starting your cut

Starting your cut, resting blade at a 10 degree angle Once your material is in place and you have marked the area you want to saw, you can make your first cut.

Step 1 – Rest blade against material

Rest the heel of the blade against the corner of the material, keeping it very low to the surface.

Pulling saw towards you

Step 2 – Pull saw towards you

When you’re ready, pull the saw back towards you in a downward motion, applying very little pressure in one long smooth stroke.

Pull saws have very thin and delicate blades Pull saws have very thin and delicate blades, so you should refrain from being too forceful with them. The first cut can be difficult and the blade may jump around if you apply too much pressure.
Practice cuts If you’re not an experienced hand saw user, getting a feel for the amount of force needed can take a bit of practise, but don’t be put off.

Test out your sawing technique on some scrap material to get an idea of how much pressure to apply and the speed at which you feel comfortable. If you mess up a cut, don’t throw a tantrum – Try, try, try again!