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How and When to Use a Japanese Pull Saw

Ask This Old House carpenter Nathan Gilbert explains when and how to use a Japanese pull saw


  1. Unlike traditional Western hand saws, the Japanese pull saw’s teeth are angled in the opposite direction, meaning that the cutting action happens when you pull the saw toward you instead of pushing away from you.
  2. Japanese pull saws are also usually more flexible than traditional saws, so they're great for flush cuts, like cutting trim along a floor or a bung on a flat surface.
  3. There are basic Japanese pull saws that have teeth on both ends, which allows for both cross cuts and rip cuts. Higher-end saws come with interchangeable blades and usually last a lot longer, but are more expensive.

A standard Japanese pull saw can be found at almost any home center. The one that Nathan demonstrated with the interchangeable blades is the Japan Pull Set, which is manufactured by Tajima.

Expert assistance with this segment was provided by Nathan Gilbert Carpentry.