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Wood Snob
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I'm no expert but I have three I use regularly. My advise to you is to shy away from the non Japanese pull saws. They are a pour copy. I have a combination rip crosscut I use a lot. Sorry to say I can't give you a source because I picked up the saw about 10 years ago.

Al

Friends don't let friends use stamped metal tools sold at clothing stores.
 

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You'll probably get better quality from an actual Japanese made saw, but I've been quite happy with my Shark brand ryoba. The one real downside I've seen to it is that the teeth are hardened, which means they can't be resharpened. If you're willing to accept that, they run about $20-25. I wrote a review of it here.
 

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recently retired
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I've used a lot of Japanese pull saws over the years, Japanese saws are much harder to learn to use correctly than western saws. Here is what has been my experience,

The two main suppliers are the ones mentioned, Japan woodworker and Hida Tools. Hida Tools are a much high quality saw but the price is much higher as well. The cheap saws do not cut to a line. If you are really good you can make them work to a degree, if you are just starting you are asking for a good deal of frustration.

The machine made saws at around $90 or so are hardened at the teeth only and while these saws dull more quickly than handmade they are a good starter saw for someone serious about saws. The reason being is that with a handmade saw which is fully tempered if you kink the saw on the push stroke the saw will snap. Until you become proficient with the saw do not buy fully handmade, I know I've snapped over $1000 worth of saws over the years.

Why buy a handmade saw? Until you have cut with a handmade saw, Around $275-$300, you do not know how well, fast or accurate a saw can cut. These are saws to work up to- takes 3 to 5 years depending on frequency of use.
 

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I just want to put in a counterpoint to Keith. My saw cost $20, probably three or four years ago. This past weekend I used it to rip 1/2" oak with no problem. A few weeks ago I used it to rip 2" thick pine; again, no problem. I routinely use it for cutting accurate lines in construction materials; it cuts to the line just fine. It is starting to dull, and I can feel that when I cut, but it's still usable.

Keith says that "if you're really good you can make it work"... I'm not that good. In all honesty, I find it easier to cut straight with the Shark pullsaw than with almost anything else I've used. Yes, I'm sure that if I tried a $300 handmade saw the difference would be striking, but, well... the cheap ones DO work, at least some of them.
 

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Wood Snob
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I've used Japanese saws for better than 25 years. I'm betting 99.9% of us don't have to spend over $100 dollars on a saw to be happy with it. I'm one of the biggest wood snobs around but some things do have a limit.

Can we all take a step back and remember when we were young. (not so experienced)

Al

Friends don't let friends use stamped metal tools sold at clothing stores.
 

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John
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Like most tools, it depends on what you are wanting to do with it. For a good pull saw, your $40 budget is going to be a challenge.
I mainly use mine just to flush trim dowels so I am perfectly happy with the $15 Marples from Home Depot. If I were doing hand cut dovetails, I would likely be far less happy.
 

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Wood Snob
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jschaben said:
Like most tools, it depends on what you are wanting to do with it. For a good pull saw, your $40 budget is going to be a challenge.
I mainly use mine just to flush trim dowels so I am perfectly happy with the $15 Marples from Home Depot. If I were doing hand cut dovetails, I would likely be far less happy.
Your probably right about the $40 price. Best off if he spends a little more and start with a ryoba.

Al

Friends don't let friends use stamped metal tools sold at clothing stores.
 

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In in the course of daily work I do a fair amount of handwork and while I can understand that for many it may not make sense to purchase a handmade saw I can say that for me the difference is noticeable. It is not so noticeable at first but after about 6 months to a year it is. I have encountered some cheap saws which simply would not cut to a line, some are better than others.

Here are a couple of pics of jobs currently under production-
 

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Wood Snob
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Keith Mathewson said:
In in the course of daily work I do a fair amount of handwork and while I can understand that for many it may not make sense to purchase a handmade saw I can say that for me the difference is noticeable. It is not so noticeable at first but after about 6 months to a year it is. I have encountered some cheap saws which simply would not cut to a line, some are better than others.

Here are a couple of pics of jobs currently under production-
Well Keith just what's wrong with the saws that don't cut to a line? What's different about the saws?

Al

Friends don't let friends use stamped metal tools sold at clothing stores.
 

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Wood Snob
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amckenzie4 said:
Al -- I used one saw that constantly curved to the right. It turned out the teeth were set badly, and it was almost impossible to cut straight with the saw. Once the teeth were straightened a little on one side, it worked fine. The problem is that with the pull saws, the teeth may snap before you can reset them.
I see. Well way back when I bought my first pull saw. There weren't any made by non Japan companies that I knew of. I saw the first Stanley version and it was the worse copy I had seen. The blade was too thick and the teeth looked like western saw teeth. I cracked my first saw but not until I had used it for years and it was relegated to rough crap work. Dull and abused it was the best branch saw. Great for the Christmas tree stump.

Al

Friends don't let friends use stamped metal tools sold at clothing stores.
 
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