Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sweet Mother of Saws!

So this weekend as we worked on cutting the quarter round molding for our guest room we encountered some smoothness issues. We wisely called up a neighbor to see if he had a better saw, and did he ever! Have you ever heard of a Japanese saw? Read on… (this is from

How Pull-Stroke Saws Work
Perhaps you have noticed the Japanese-style saws; if not, take some time to investigate. Unlike their Western counterparts (push-stroke saws), they work exactly opposite of what we learned growing up—they cut on the pull stroke. If you observe your own behavior, you’ll notice that a majority of your everyday gestures involve a pulling motion. If you don’t believe it, then think about the next time you open the door to your car or home, or better yet, when you slice a tomato or cut a steak. Do you believe me now? How about when you take a tissue out of the box? The idea of pulling—rather than pushing—a saw may be new to us, but the Japanese have successfully used this technique for hundreds of years.

Advantages of the Pull Stroke
The difference between the two saw techniques (pull vs. push) is rooted in the thinness of the blade metal which produces a narrower kerf (width of cut), thus the saw requires less effort to use. The blades are uniquely designed so each tooth has three cutting edges (except the rip tooth; it only has two). This allows the saw to cut straighter, faster, smoother, and cleaner and yet still be able to rip and crosscut. With this tooth design, it appears as though the teeth would clog with waste material during the cut. Not so! Every time you pull the saw to cut and return with a push-stroke, the blade cleans itself, and it really works. The two inside edges clean while the point does the actual cutting—not tearing, but slicing.

Now of course this has me thinking about how we could apply this concept to childbirth (forget the words tearing and slicing and think easy and efficient ;-) Let me think about this. In the meanwhile, we highly recommend the Japanese saw for any fine cutting you may ever need to do! -Monica

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