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Saws | Table, Miter, Circular & Japanese Blades

saws

If you think your only decision regarding saws is whether to buy handsaws or power tools, you’re wrong. Since Japanese handsaws entered the Western marketplace, an entirely new approach to cutting wood has become available. The best toolkit now includes some of each.

In Western woodworking trades, craftsmen favored bow saws for fine work and stiffer carpenter’s saws for larger stock. In this style of traditional handsaw, you’ll still find a surprising number of options. Many of today’s woodworkers enjoy hand woodworking, even though it’s slower and rarely proves practical in a commercial situation. Tool collectors collect new handsaws as well as old ones. Western handsaws nearly always cut on the push stroke, and the blade itself needs to be of thick enough steel to stay straight in skilled hands. Unskilled hands find them amazingly awkward.

The way a saw cuts depends on the rake or angle of the teeth, the set or deflection of the teeth, and the tooth style and tooth count. A saw made for fine crosscutting clogs if used to rip along the grain of the wood, and a coarse-toothed rip saw mangles a crosscut. Teeth have to be sharp and perfectly in line, alternating left and right at a slight angle to cut a path or kerf a little wider than the thickness of the saw steel. If that all happens in harmony, it’s a smooth and efficient operation. If a tooth gets knocked out of line, it’s like dragging an oar in the water.

Japanese handsaws take all that precise wizardry and turn it completely backwards to Western thought. Because Japanese saws were designed to cut on the pull stroke, the resistance of the cut keeps the blade taut and straight. That means you can cut efficiently with a thinner blade. Some paper-thin Japanese saws go even beyond simply thinning the blade and shave the steel slightly hollow ground. The difference in performance compared to a western handsaw is amazing — these saws actually will compete with power tools for some applications. Japanese saw teeth resemble rows of knives and require special files for sharpening. Because sharpening and setting a Japanese saw is such a daunting task, modern companies make these saws in the traditional patterns but with replaceable blades. You can still find the best of the old style, but an elite traditional Japanese handsaw might cost as much as an authentic samurai sword.

Carpenters might keep a few good handsaws around for the occasional unsolvable problem, but tradesmen today depend on machines. Power saws today offer features that increase accuracy and safety. Not many years ago a saw with a dust collector and a laser sight was just a doodle on an engineer’s sketch pad. Now it’s real.

Some of Our Favorite Saws

In so many situations, a table saw makes so much more practical sense than a portable circular saw that even if you have to sacrifice some table space, a portable machine like the Bosch Table Saw is too handy to leave at home.

A contractor friend once explained to me that it’s easier to work through a big hole and patch it later than to work through a small hole and screw things up. The Sawzall Reciprocating Saw from Milwaukee cuts those big holes.

The Shark Ryoba gives westerners a reasonable introduction to the world of Japanese handsaws, with a replaceable blade designed for finish carpentry and cutting edges for either ripping or crosscutting.

Read some of our saw reviews below:


Jamb Saw Roberts 10-46

Carbide Blade & Storage Case 120VAC 17076

Jamb Saw Roberts 10-46 | Carbide Blade & Storage Case 120VAC 17076

This mid-sized jamb saw from Roberts handles flush cuts up to 1-3/4-inch deep with full access, and up to 1/2-inch deep in corners. The Roberts 10-46 Jamb Saw also packs enough power for professional work into a light and easy to handle design.

The saw's 5.8 amp 120VAC motor gives 900W ...





Mini Circular Saw Makita Cordless 5090DW

Interchangeable Blades for Woodworking, Tile & Masonry

Mini Circular Saw Makita Cordless 5090DW | Interchangeable Blades for Woodworking, Tile & Masonry

With a blade 3 3/8 inches in diameter, the Makita 5090DW seems like a toy, but it's built with the professional quality you expect from Makita and well-designed for the most efficient cutting of thinner stock.

Cutting depth at a 90-degree setting reaches 55/64 inches, good enough for 3/4-inch plywood and ...





Fein MultiMaster Tool Review FMM 250Q

Woodworking Reciprocating Power Tools Kit & Sanding Pads

Fein MultiMaster Tool Review FMM 250Q | Woodworking Reciprocating Power Tools Kit & Sanding Pads

The Fein FMM 250Q is one of the few power tools that actually does those critical awkward jobs you'd otherwise need hand tools to accomplish. With the Fein, you can avoid the other carpenter's solution of busting things out and starting over.

The Fein MultiMaster drives an assortment of ...





Undercut Saw Crain Carpet Power Tool

Portable Circular Masonry Blade 825

Undercut Saw Crain Carpet Power Tool | Portable Circular Masonry Blade 825

Built for the professional, the Crain Carpet Saw flush cuts to preset heights along wall trim boards, door jambs, and toe spaces. Anyone who remodels or lays carpet needs either this saw or lots of free time.

Although there are some specialty hand saws that do this tricky work, ...





Power Chisel by Arbortech

Wood Carving Tool Gouge Blade

Power Chisel by Arbortech | Wood Carving Tool Gouge Blade

Arbortech's Power Chisel uses either a 20 mm flat chisel blade or a 20 mm No. 7 Sweep gouge blade to quickly shape sculptures, wooden carved signs and timber framing joints. Get the look of hand-chiseled techniques with the speed and power of a truly modern woodworking machine.

The Arbortech ...





Mini Circular Saw & Angle Grinder Kit

Arbortech Carver Chainsaw Gouge for Hitachi, Makita & Ryobi

Mini Circular Saw & Angle Grinder Kit | Arbortech Carver Chainsaw Gouge for Hitachi, Makita & Ryobi

At last, real power tools for the woodcarver and sculptor. Arbortech's Mini Grinder Carving Kit converts most 4- or 4-1/2-inch angle grinders into the machine equivalent of a carving gouge.

Until now the only carving options other than hand tools were chainsaws and grinding machines, and even though it's amazing ...





SaberCut Saw by Ultimate Survival

Manual Chainsaw, Emergency Chain Compact Tool

SaberCut Saw by Ultimate Survival | Manual Chainsaw, Emergency Chain Compact Tool

There may be times when you're far from town and nothing but a saw will accomplish the work at hand. The Ultimate Survival Technologies SaberCut Saw works. Use it with common sense and it won't break, but it's a chainsaw without the motor. You'll miss that motor.

At 5-1/2 ounces ...





Commando Wire Bone Saw

Survival Blade Metal Cutter

Commando Wire Bone Saw | Survival Blade Metal Cutter

The Commando Wire Saw claims the ability to cut through a variety of materials including wood, plastic, bamboo, and bone. A Special Forces sergeant introduced me to the wire saw in jungle survival training in 1970 and said he always kept one in his pocket in case he needed to ...





Makita Electric Chainsaw, Automatic Oil

Commercial Pro 16 UC4030A

Makita Electric Chainsaw, Automatic Oil | Commercial Pro 16 UC4030A

The Makita UC4030A commercial-grade electric chain saw offers convenient fast cutting of branches and small trees and is even rugged enough for sustained use. Make sure the work site is within a hundred feet of an ordinary 120V outdoor electrical outlet or generator -- that's the maximum length of ...





Poulan Electric Chainsaw, Tree Cutting

Arborist Gardening Pro 400E 18

Poulan Electric Chainsaw, Tree Cutting | Arborist Gardening Pro 400E 18

For occasional tree trimming close to home, an electric chain saw like the Poulan Pro 400E is versatile, efficient, and quiet -- but in this economical saw, you won't get the rugged construction of a good gasoline-powered machine. For jobs within its limits, the Poulan Pro works well. With ...





Black & Decker Electric Hand Saw, Metal & Wood Cutting

Reciprocating PHS550B

Black & Decker Electric Hand Saw, Metal & Wood Cutting | Reciprocating PHS550B

In spite of some issues with the interchangeable blade system for the Black & Decker PHS550B electric handsaw, this machine fills an important gap between chainsaw and handsaw and many people find it indispensable. The short stroke of the reciprocating handsaw style blade cuts through even 4x4 stock ...





Milwaukee Circular Saw Worm Drive 6477-20

Power Tools for Professional Contractors

Milwaukee Circular Saw Worm Drive 6477-20 | Power Tools for Professional Contractors

Milwaukee's 6477-20 Worm Drive 7-1/4-inch Circular Saw offers contractor grade performance and the power to plow through tough jobs without stalling. Fifteen amps drive the 4400 rpm motor, and the oil-bathed hardened steel worm gear delivers that power efficiently. This saw won't grind to a halt like a lesser machine. ...





Bosch Variable Speed Jig Saw 1590EVSK

Fine Homebuilding, Woodworker’s Journal Tools

Bosch Variable Speed Jig Saw 1590EVSK | Fine Homebuilding, Woodworker’s Journal Tools

The very popular Bosch 1590EVSK Jigsaw earns high marks from both professional users and homeowners. Variable speed control, easy blade changing without tools, and constant torque solid state circuitry add to the machine's convenience and accuracy.

Instead of one detail that's better, the Bosch provides several innovations over the ...





Makita Circular Saw, Cordless

Lithium Ion Battery 18V BSS611Z

Makita Circular Saw, Cordless | Lithium Ion Battery 18V BSS611Z

Makita's cordless BSS611Z circular saw operates on a compact lithium ion battery pack which recharges in only 30 minutes. This 6-1/2-inch diameter saw cuts to 2-1/4 inches deep at a 90-degree setting -- only an eighth of an inch less than a 7-1/2-inch American brand. At 45 degrees, this compact ...





Shark Carpentry Hand Saw

Japanese Woodworking 12 Inch 10-2312

Shark Carpentry Hand Saw | Japanese Woodworking 12 Inch 10-2312

Being able to cut a 2x4 at a perfect right angle with a handsaw is always one of the marks of a skilled carpenter -- with the European style of saw most of us know, accurate cuts take years of practice. With Shark's 12-inch carpentry saw, an improved version of ...





Shark Woodworking Hand Saw Ryoba

Fine Pull Cut & Rip 10-2440

Shark Woodworking Hand Saw Ryoba | Fine Pull Cut & Rip 10-2440

Shark's flexible Fine Cut Saw gives us the traditional Ryoba joiner's saw with a modern improvement -- push-button blade replacement. This double-edged saw style has been standard in Japan for centuries but is relatively new to Western woodworkers. One side bears shark-tooth shaped teeth for crosscutting and the opposite ...





Shark Carving Dovetail Rip Saw

Dowel Detail 10-2204

Shark Carving Dovetail Rip Saw | Dowel Detail 10-2204

The Shark Dowel/Dovetail/Detail Saw cuts one of the thinnest kerfs possible, but even though it's a great crosscut saw for tenons and tricky detail work it isn't the only saw you'll need for dovetailing.

The Shark Detail Saw is so thin and flexible that it's a little tricky to use. ...





Bosch Table Saw w/ Stand

Rip Fence Worksite X 4100-09

Bosch Table Saw w/ Stand | Rip Fence Worksite X 4100-09

There's no question that a table saw outperforms any portable circular saw, except in portability. If you work on site instead of in the shop, a machine like the Bosch Worksite Table Saw can save labor and increase profit. Portable table saws do compromise on important features, and the ...





Shark Ryoba Hand Saw, Spring Steel

Trim & Detail Double Edge 10-2205

Shark Ryoba Hand Saw, Spring Steel | Trim & Detail Double Edge 10-2205

Shark's Trim/Detail Ryoba combines a thin double edged spring steel blade with an old handle design that's not so great. The 19 tpi ripping edge and the 24 tpi crosscut edge otherwise would be a perfect combination for dovetailing and other tricky feats of joinery.

With a finer tpi ...





Hitachi Table Miter Saw, Compound C10FSH

Marking Laser Guide

Hitachi Table Miter Saw, Compound C10FSH | Marking Laser Guide

The Hitachi C10FSH Compound Miter Saw is a great machine for the workshop and the work site with extra capacity in a size small enough for portability. The features packed into this accurate machine actually work well and aren't just sales points.

The Hitachi's soft-start system uses a poly-V-belt, not a ...





Sawzall Reciprocating Saw, Variable Speed

Milwaukee 11 Amp 650922

Sawzall Reciprocating Saw, Variable Speed | Milwaukee 11 Amp 650922

Sawzalls are supposed to do anything -- cut through pipe, wood, and sheet metal; rip chunks from interior walls without regard for nails that hide in the way; and even to some extent do the fine work of a jig saw. But to do any of that well, you need a ...





Makita Cordless Reciprocating Saw

Electric Variable Bare-Tool BJR182Z

Makita Cordless Reciprocating Saw | Electric Variable Bare-Tool BJR182Z

The lithium-ion battery powered Bare-Tool Makita BJR182Z reciprocating saw has more cutting capacity than many corded versions of the Sawzall. With the longest available woodcutting blade -- twelve inches -- the Makita BJR182Z can cut to its maximum depth of ten inches. For heavier work like cutting pipe, the limit ...





Makita Cordless Jig Saw, Electric Orbital

Variable Speed Bare-Tool BJV180Z

Makita Cordless Jig Saw, Electric Orbital | Variable Speed Bare-Tool BJV180Z

Makita's 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Jig Saw matches the performance of some of the best corded electric jig saws. Keep some extra battery packs handy and you'll even use this DC-powered saw within reach of a wall socket.

The many advantages of the Makita Bare-Tool Jig Saw include less noise, less ...





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Havalon Baracuta Bone Saw Blaze Orange Knife 3 Replacement Blades Processing Havalon Baracuta Bone Saw Blaze Orange Knife 3 Replacement Blades Processing
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Schrade USA Old Timer Big Stockman Saw Carbon Steel Pocket Folding Knife 890T Schrade USA Old Timer Big Stockman Saw Carbon Steel Pocket Folding Knife 890T
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