What are the different types of
Japanese or pull saws?

 
     
     
 Shop for Japanese Saws 
     
     
   

There are several different designs of Japanese saws. The most common are:

 
     
   

Dozuki

 
 Dozuki saw 

The dozuki style has a large curved blade and a straight or pistol grip handle.

 

Some have a stiff spine running along the back of the blade like that of a tenon or dovetail saw. This helps to keep the very thin blade straight as it moves through the material.

 
     
   

Ryoba or ‘double-sided’

 
 The Ryoba saw 

The ryoba design has a spade-shaped blade with cutting teeth on both sides, hence the saw’s name, which in Japanese means ‘both’.

 
     
 teeth used for cross cutting wood across or against the grain. 

One set of teeth are used for crosscutting wood across or against the grain.

 
     
 rip cutting along or with the grain 

The other set are used for rip cutting along or with the grain. 

 

To tell the difference between the two sets, see our section Cross cut teeth vs. rip cut teeth.

 
     
   

Dozuki characteristics

  
 Dozuki style blade lengths 

Blade length

The dozuki style is available in a variety of different blade lengths, ranging from 170 - 380mm (6.6-14.9" approx.).

 
     
 Pull stroke with Japanese saw 

Cutting stroke

Unlike most other types of saw, which are designed to cut on the push stroke, pull saws, as the name suggests, cut on the pull stroke, so you should only apply pressure when pulling the saw through the material.

 

For more information, see our section: Push stroke saws vs. pull stroke saws

 
     
 Dozuki saw 

Teeth Per Inch (TPI)

The dozuki design will usually have between 13 and 20 teeth per inch. The more teeth per inch, the neater the finish will be, but the longer the cutting process will take.

 
     
 Dozuki saw closed pistol grip handle 

Handle

A dozuki saw will either have a closed pistol grip handle, designed for use with only one hand. 

 
     
 A straight handle 

Or a straight handle, which is designed to be held in both hands, allowing the user more control over each stroke of the saw.

 
     
   

Ryoba characteristics

 

 Ryoba pull saw 

Blade length

The ryoba/double sided style is available in a variety of different blade lengths, ranging from 120 - 240mm (4.7-9.4" approx.) in length.

 
     
 Ryoba flush cutting 

Flush cutting

Because of its thin and very flexible blade, the ryoba saw is often used for cutting material to create a flush or even surface.

 

This would be hard to do with a dozuki, as the blade is usually larger and stiffer.

 
     
 Pull stroke 

Cutting stroke

Unlike most other types of saw, which are designed to cut on the push stroke, pull saws, as the name suggests, cut on the pull stroke.

 

For more information, see our section: Push stroke saws vs. pull stroke saws

 
     
 Ryoba teeth 

Teeth Per Inch (TPI)

The ryoba has two sets of teeth on either side of the blade.

 

One side will usually have around 7 teeth per inch, and the other side will usually have around 20.

 
     
 
more tpi is for slower more precise cutting
 

The side with more teeth per inch is for slower more precise cutting to achieve a neater finish.

 

The side with fewer teeth per inch will be for faster, more aggressive cutting, but will probably produce a rougher finish.

 
     
 Ryoba saw with raised edges on either end of the blade. 

Design

Some designs of ryoba saw have raised edges on either end of the blade.

 

Manufacturers claim that these non-cutting edges limit the length of the cutting stroke, as these types of saws are designed for more accurate and delicate cutting, using shorter more gentle strokes.

 
     
 A Ryoba straight handle 

Handle

A ryoba saw will usually have a straight handle, which is designed to be gripped by two hands, allowing the user more control over each stroke of the saw.

 
     
   Wonkee Donkee says "On some models of Japanese/Pull saws, you can remove the blade from the handle. Therefore when the saw’s teeth become blunt, you can replace the blade, rather than buy a new saw" 
     
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