When Woodworkers Question Whether Japanese Hand Saws are Suitable for Hardwoods?
The biggest concerns about using Japanese saws with hardwoods are the possibility of tearing teeth from the blade, bending the teeth or otherwise damaging the saw and the fear is quite real. Because the saws plate is much thinner, it is easy to understand that it will probably not be as strong as a Western type saw simply because there is less material.
There is no question that Japanese saws are more fragile and more susceptible to damage than the equivalent Western saws. But the properties that make them so fragile such as the taller tooth shape, the thinner, much harder and brittle steel and more acute angles at the cutting tips of each tooth also reduce the load applied to each tooth. The final result is a saw that appears to be at first glance a very fragile design into something that makes sense.
Provided you are careful with a Japanese saw, it should be more than capable of dealing with hardwoods. As long as you make sure your work is adequately secured, you choose a saw appropriate to the task and you allow the saw to work at its own speed and do not force it, a Japanese saw will serve you well, and it should remain sharp for a lot longer into the bargain.
The above applies to traditional design Japanese saws, and if you are fortunate enough to be able to purchase one, then it would be a wise choice choose a hardwood specific saw. Hardwood saws have teeth where the edges are shaped with less acute cutting tips, sacrificing some of the sharpness to gain durability.
Replaceable blade Japanese saws let you get the advantages of Japanese saws along with a softer, more robust plate, harder and longer lasting working edges and a much cheaper price. If you accidentally hurt one, it’s less of a burden to simply replace the blade rather than replace or repair the entire saw. The difference is that replaceable blade saws do not cut as cleanly as a hand made saw will.
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