Saturday, January 28, 2017

Japanese Saws....Western Saws

Unlike Ralph over at Accidental Woodworker, I'm not much of a woodworking animal. On days I go to the day job about the most I can hope for is an hour or two farting around in the shop sharpening tools, cleaning, or sometimes making practicing/warm up saw cuts or just shavings with the planes. Not much gets done on work days.

The last week has held to standard, I worked with an Initial Crew all week and a few days the week before. BTW what a great flight crew, both young, both sharp with great flying skills and very good SOPs and CRM. The time spent was a joy but as with all Initial training at the end of each day I'm ragged out as will be the flight crew.

There is a lot to pack into eight days of Simulator time. Many times the pilots will have never flown the aircraft and maybe have never seen this make and model close up. In just over a week of Sim training in addition to a couple of weeks of Ground School we may take a pilot who has never seen the aircraft to their legally sitting in the left front seat with a "green" First Officer and a butt strapped to every seat in back for his/her first takeoff in the real aircraft. Bottom line there is a hell of a lot to master in 32 hours of Simulator time. No matter how good the crew, everybody is drained out by the end.

Damn Bubba that was a long ways around to: The last couple of days I've been playing with some of my saws. With Western saws I have a tendency to drift right if I do not pay attention and have not sawn for awhile. Knowing that I will usually take a couple of practice cuts before doing any sawing where I want a first class cut if I haven't worked for awhile. I also know that I have a couple of saws in the till that will always drift right no matter how much attention or how current I am sawing. With my short attention span this last week I figured I could do a couple of things, sort out the "bad actors" and see if I could tune 'em up so the right drift isn't from the saw and get some practice in as it has been several weeks since I've sawed on a project. BTW I did get the drifting saws straightened out.

While farting around with the Western saws I remembered I had a new Japanese saw that had never been used. I thought "self, this would be a good time to give it a go". I've never really been comfortable using Japanese saws but I keep a couple around for the occasional time they are needed.

That may be changing.

This new "Z" saw cuts very straight, fast, and clean. I'm impressed. At this time I will not say I'm changing to using Japanese saws, I've spent too many years learning to use and maintain Western saws to change but....I expect I will add more and more use of Japanese saws to the mix.

Here is a photo of a mixture of saw kerfs, both Japanese and Western.

 I know....Really exciting. Here is a photo of the back side.

Click 'em to big 'em.

In the photo you can tell which kerf was from a Western saw and which was made by a Japanese saw. All the Western saw kerfs are "fuzzy", the Japanese kerfs are clean.

I've the weekend off, if I can keep out of MsBubba's line of sight I may make something even if it is just a cutting board or small box.

See you guys on down the road,



  1. Good luck staying under the radar :-)

    Bob, with Rudy on his lap

  2. I am where you are. The thing that makes me reluctant to switch is all the old western saws I have bought and restored and a desire to keep with tradition. I can vividly recall my grandfather, who was a carpenter, whistling while he used his sharp Disston. If I were to choose strictly on merit, I think I would choose Japanese saws.

  3. Bob,

    She found me first thing this AM. Not much shop time followed :-).


  4. Andy,

    Like you, all the time spent learning to saw, sharpen, and repair western saws plus having a bad jones for saws. I have not counted the number hanging, in the till, or other hiding places lately but there must be close to 100 saws hidden in the shop.

    We spend our time fussing over sharpening chisels and plane irons, wowing ourselves and others with paper thin shaven shooting straight out of our planes but the truth of woodworking is sawing is the most important skill to learn. If you can saw, everything else is easy.


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