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.
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.