Japanese Woodworking Forums Forum Index Japanese Woodworking Forums
Presented by www.japanesetools.com
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Tell tale signs of a good saw
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Japanese Woodworking Forums Forum Index -> Nokogiri
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
ccsmith



Joined: 02 Aug 2005
Posts: 324
Location: downeast maine

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 10:47 am    Post subject: Tell tale signs of a good saw Reply with quote

So I'm getting ready to think about looking at purchasing a hand made saw. I don't know alot but know even less about saws. Are there any tell tale signs of a good saw? And does it really make a difference if the blank was cast or hand forged? Big Price difference there it seems.
One point that I was wondering about was to how the teeth were set. I see some saws are ste with a hammer? Does this mean the smith knocks everyother tiny tooth to one side or the other? Or are the crimped with the setting tool? I see on some more production made saws that you can see the knurled marks left on each tooth by that setting tool. Is this typical with all saws?There is more that I will like to address on the subject but maybe we could start there. Like color of steel after tempering, forge welds of tangs, tapering thickness of bodies,etc.... Thanks,trying to get a better grip before pulling one home,Correy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ccsmith



Joined: 02 Aug 2005
Posts: 324
Location: downeast maine

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter you out there?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
dburnard



Joined: 20 Apr 2002
Posts: 228
Location: Oregon (the wet part)

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2006 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nearly all blanks start out a some sort of sheet goods. The only saws that aren't would be tamahagane saws and you won't find many of those for sale.

Pretty safe to say that today no saws are being hand forged like you see in the toolmaking videos, other than for a demonstration or by special commision from a museum or temple restoration project. Some old school sawmakers (any left other than Yataiki?) may have blanks that were forged some time ago. The blank is cut from the sheet and (at least in the old days) several blanks stacked together and forged a bit to final thickness (leaving the tang end thicker). Most saw blanks will instead be rough ground to a thickness profile by machine. For a very high end sawmaker (say, Yataiki) all subsequent steps will be done by hand.

Thicknessing can be done by machine (flapwheels and buffers) or by hand with various types of sen. And if a saw was buffed or sanded at the final finishing step you can't easily tell if earlier steps were done with sen or not. If the saw was finished with a burnisher it will be unmistakeable - this finish and the tools necessary to produce it were developed by Yataiki's grandfather Miyano Tetsunosuke and was adopted by several other high end sawmakers. (That Heijiro saw on eBay has the burnished "Miyano" finish)

Teeth are in general set with a small hammer while the saw is held over a small setting anvil which has a small bevel on the edge. Saw-sets don't work very well on the very hard teeth that are seen in most handmade japanese saws. The knurled marks you often see on saw teeth are more likely from the "serrated" face of a saw setting hammer. Most saw setting hammers are serrated like this (the depth of the serrations varies a lot) because the serrations act to stretch the side of the tooth they strike causing the tooth to deflect (rather than simply being bent over an anvil).

Tempering colors happen pretty early in the process of finishing a saw, so that in fact they are not present anywhere on the body of a finished saw. There are "golden" saws out there, but this coloration happens after finishing as a decoration. The saw would have been originally tempered to a blue or hotter color.

The forge welded tang is usually a good sign, meaning that a soft iron tang was welded on to the saw blank. Since this is a time and labor intensive process it usually bodes well for the amount of time and effort put into making a saw. The tempering colors around the weld line are also added post finishing - when the saw neck/weld area are reheated to ensure the area is sufficiently tempered.

Mitsukawa san makes a high-end line of saws that I have read is hand scraped and may well be burnished (he has the tools) - but I don't know for a fact if that is so. I haven't seen one up close.

Sharpening is of course key - there are a lot of nice looking saws out there that were not sharpened very well. You can turn a pretty good saw into a much nicer performing one with a really good sharpening. Yataiki transformed several of my mid-range Nakaya saws this way, unfortunately others he simply shook his head at. Wink

There's a few things to think about... I have some Chuyemon ryoba saws I'm pretty happy with, and a few of Yataiki's saws. Shindo was well recommended but I don't have any experience with his ryobas. I have an Izeamon rip dozuki I like a lot. I have several other ryobas from long retired makers, but that doesn't help much. Sawmakers are few and far between these days, Mitsukawa is about the only young sawmaker I know of really trying to make a high end product.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Peter Cowick



Joined: 15 Jul 2004
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:47 pm    Post subject: Tell tale signs of a good saw Reply with quote

I have been considering this saw question for a good friend who by now no doubt thinks I am dead or deaf. As I get older sometimes I think before I speak.

Please remember there are a lot of really useable commercial grade commercially produced hand saws still made, especially in Japan. Even in Japan there are a limited number of users willing to pay $1600.00 each for top quality hand made saws. The average price for really good accessable saws is in the $500.00 each catagory. The good everyday professional hand made saws like Mitsukawa are in the $350.00 range, but even he makes and sells machine produced saws in the $70.00-$100.00 catagory. Factory made saws there range from $15.00 to $45.00 and most tend to be about in the middle.

What some folks call hand made saws may not be as good as some commercially produced models. Consider a saw tooth that has been induction hardened will last several times as long as a hand tempered tooth.

First thing you need to know about hand made saws is the saw maker did not make the steel for any of the saws. Even tamahagane saws are made from steel or ingots or chips produced by others. They then take those chips and forge them together to make a saw blank. No saw is produced like a sword with layers of different steel. Not all tamahagane saws are better steel than the cookbook modern steels. Most really old (say before Mieji, 1860's or so,) were made from iron and had a tamahagane strip forged on the edge where the teeth were cut. It looked like the HSS steel saw pictured in the Lee Valley catalog. As the teeth wore out, a new strip of steel was forged on the edge. Almost all modern saws of any price are made from strip steel purchased from others. That goes for the Miyano Tetsunosuke's, all Yataiki saws, all Mitsukawa saws all, Yoshiwakamaru saws, and all others like Nakaya. What each maker does with the steel determines the quality of the saw. All the hand work to mark a saw from a templet, cut it by hand with a large cutter like a paper cutter, cut the tang, forge weld it on the saw body, hand forge sandwiches of 6-8 saw blanks in a forge and hammer them, repeat the forging and hammering 8-9 times, heat treat the forged blanks, flatten the blanks that look like wrinkled paper, heat treated saw blanks, flatten and tension the blanks, punch the rough teeth, hand sharpen the teeth, set the teeth, scrape the blade to thickness with a sen, final tension the blank, oil it and sell it . To do every step to the makers satisfaction, not some factory efficiency experts idea of what is enough takes labor and judgement. When machinery is introduced into any of these steps it becomes quicker and cheaper. Sometimes, but seldom the quality is similar. Skipping a step, like stamping a saw body and tang from a single piece of steel, is not recommended, but is done often.

Once you start to really depend on hand saws you fine out there just like planes. One saw will never do everything. The more things you do the more specialized saws you will need. The teeth for hard wood rip and soft wood rip are totally different. While you can in a pinch make either do the task of the other, it is not the most efficient thing going and will never do for any long perid of time. It is not a practicle idea to try a drawer dovetail with a softwood rip tooth good for softwood timberframing. As Dave should be able to tell you, Yataiki has many different tooth patterns he uses for specific purposes. He can even hand taylor the saw to perform just knowing the way you work or the wood you work.

My first advice is when you can use a factory made saw with great skill, try a hand made saw. Until then, you will only get yourself into trouble. I would say, saws under 270 mm that are hand made saws are more sensitive, have less set, seem more alive and quick to snap or bend than factory made saws. Unless you have some training they can be expensive to get sharpened.

When you get ready for the plunge be prepared to specify whether you want a saw for soft or hard woods and define a narrow field of expectations for the scale of the work you will do with the saw. A respected member of this group once said the bigger the rip tooth the better. That advice is great for softwood framing, but it is no good for small drawer dovetails in furniture. Hardwood teeth have less set and need smaller gullets since less waste product is produced per stroke. That is for both crosscut and rip teeth.

By the time you have become a saw snob, and ahve a serious investment in saws, you may like me decide single edge (kataba ) saws are more practicle, even though they require you to buy two saws for each hard or soft wood or in each size.

As a final word of caution, dozuki were a relatively modern Japanese invention. All the most beautiful buildings and intricate shoji, cabinet work etc. had already been done befor they were invented. They are supersensite and should be the last saw you need or buy. If the Japanese could do without them for most of the 2000 years, you can too.

Peter
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Peter Cowick



Joined: 15 Jul 2004
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 5:24 pm    Post subject: Tell tale signs of a good saw Reply with quote

There are several small things i missed in running through my last post. Correy, no saw blank is cast. All start as roll stock. the term cast steel is from old marketing stuff used for western tools made of small batch run steel called cast steel.

Machine made saws are machine sharpened and set by machine, but they are not crimped in the same sence as a western saw blade. The steel is too hard.

Hurray for Dave. Well written responce. The machine used to machine thickness saw blanks in the Tetsunosuke factory (in Miki befor the Osaka earthquake) was a surface grinder utilizing a ceramic sheel that came down on a flat bed that looked like a woodworkers jointer. It could make the center thinner than the outside edges, just like scraping with a sen. It is that monster on which Yataiki was holding a saw blank too long feeding and caught his little finger. I will live forever with the guilt that he was making several inexpensive saws together in a larger order for me when he did it.

I have to take issue with the remark that sharpening is the key (presumably) to a good saw. It is the flattening and tensioning that make the saw body sing and become alive. It is the hand scraping and burnishing that minimize friction so set (and drag) can be minimized. Tooth set is cardinal to the teeth tracking properly. Sharpening makes the tooth cut well, but not necessarily straight.

Like all things Japanese, nothing is quite as simple as it seems.

Peter
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
dburnard



Joined: 20 Apr 2002
Posts: 228
Location: Oregon (the wet part)

PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great to hear from you Peter, with a few more posts like these there will be enough information here for someone reading this to start making japanese saws. Well, they'd have to be a little nuts, but this is America. Wink Anyway a few comments and additional information Peter's post reminded me of...

Quote:
Most really old saws, pre Meiji, were made from iron had a tamahagane strip forged on the edge where the teeth were cut

Historically, this was true for the large oga type saws, other timber sized saws, and (much earlier the Meiji) woodworking saws - the body of the saw is/was often not hardened even when made from steel. I don't think Peter meant to imply all tamahagane saws are/were made this way, but just so it's clear: woodworking saws in the shapes we recognize (ryobas, katabas, azebikis, etc.) were/are not typically made that way. They are all tamahagane, although you would sensibly arrange the small pieces making up the billet so that the best pieces were on the outside edges. I have discussed this with Yataiki, who said that an iron bodied (or otherwise unhardened/unhardenable bodied) saw of "modern" dimensions (especially thickness) would be a waste of materials (which is probably not the same as saying it wasn't done).

Quote:
(Made from sheet steel) That goes for the Miyano Tetsunosuke's, all Yataiki saws, etc.

That's correct, shortly after the Meiji government opened the doors to imported steel, even the greatest masters capable of working with tamahagane, switched to making 99% of their saws (or planes, chisels, etc.) from imported sheet or flatbar steel. Before long Japan was producing it's own modern steels. That must have been an interesting time, imagine the changes - the reduced raw material costs, the reduced labor involved, the reduced skill level required, and so the cost of making a saw (or any steel edged tool) dropped considerably. Not to say toolmaking went from hard to easy, but many aspects did become a lot less difficult.

What about that missing 1% though?
It's unknown how many tamagahane saws the original Miyano Tetsunosuke made, but he was known as the best tamahagane saw maker of his time - his father Miyano Heijiro was from the era when tamahagane was the only available material. Miyano Tetsunosuke II (Yataiki's father) is estimated (by Yataiki) to have made on the order of 50 or more tamahagane saws throughout his career. These saws are nearly all in museums and private collections in Japan. After WWII Miyano Tetsunosuke II was the last tamahagane sawmaker in Japan, this fact was partly responsible for his renown as a sawmaker (several documentary videos were produced about him and the making of tamahagane saws). At his peak he was one of the best, arguably *the* best, sawmaker in Japan, ever. Yataiki himself has made quite a few tamahagane saws (and other tools) over his career, but the world has changed and there aren't so many commissions for such high dollar tools anymore. On the day when Yataiki decides to stop working, that day will be the end of tamahagane sawmaking.

Some very minor corrections in Peter's nice chronology of the steps in making a saw: the rough teeth are punched before the saw is heat treated - even after tempering good saw steel is too hard to be punched. The teeth are rough sharpened and set after the blank is scraped with sen. The final sharpening , which for smaller saws includes setting, occurs at the very end. There are other minor steps in there but the picture is pretty clear - an amazing amount of work goes into making a saw by hand.

I've seen the surface grinder in question, but I'm sad to say I never saw it or the old Miki shop in operation. The "pre-thicknessing" operation performed by the surface grinder was explained to me in detail. In the Tetsunosuke factory, it didn't eliminate hand scraping by sen but it did eliminate some of the rougher sen work by starting the blank out a little closer to final thickness and profile. On custom saws or historical reproductions you couldn't use the surface grinder, except maybe to knock the "bark" off a freshly forged blank. Most of the old time smiths I have met or seen pictures of are missing a finger or finger tip or two, when asked, the usual explanation is that the power hammer *bit* them when they weren't paying close enough attention. Yataiki says the same about his encounter with the surface grinder - he was not paying full attention to the task, distracted by some intrusion of everyday life when it happened, as are we all. "Pay attention!" he says.

I didn't actually say (or mean to imply) that sharpening is "the key" to a saw, just that it's "a key" factor in a good saw. A great saw with a poor initial sharpening will be disappointing, but it can be returned to greatness with a proper sharpening. An average saw with a poor factory sharpening (fairly frequent in my experience) can be dramatically improved with proper metate. But, as Peter points out, it's not going to be magically transformed into a great saw. To illustrate, my lowly saws weren't just repointed as is often assumed to be the job of a metate - the improvements happened because the teeth were reshaped, the body was retensioned, and the teeth were resharpened and reset by the master metate himself. Best of all, back in Iowa, we got to watch. Obviously I wouldn't get anything like these results if I tried it myself. Wink Luckily Mark Grable can do much of this to the saws he works on, and the improvements are significant.

An amazing amount of customization is possible if you can order a saw that hasn't been finished yet, but you have to find a dealer willing and knowledgeable enough to take such a special order and to communicate your needs to an equally willing maker. I know that Kayoko at Misugi Designs can place such an order, I'm not sure about any other US retailers. Iida-san in Osaka would surely be able to do the same.

Jeez Louise, I'm getting longwinded...and none of this is going to help anyone find a decent saw today. So, how about this sage advice: whether you want a customized saw or not - work with a reputable dealer, with whom you have an established relationship.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Peter Cowick



Joined: 15 Jul 2004
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 8:55 pm    Post subject: Tell tale signs of a good saw Reply with quote

Great post Dave! I had a couple footnotes to add earlier today and when I went to hit the transmit button, lost my phone, cable tv and internet connection all at the same time. Hope I am more sucessful this time.

You are correct, the initial tooth size and spacing is done before the blank is hardened.

First is you are correct that it was the oga whale back maebiki that got steel teeth forged onto a iron body. There were some whole saws made from all tamahagane. There are some listed on Japanese web sites for sale at very reasonable prices if you watch. One must always think if it sounds too good to be true, maybe it is. The Tartara process produces exceeding small amounts of the finest tamahagane. Lesser steels are also produced in the ingot as well. There has been a tendency of some in modern times to call some of the lesser quality metal tamahagane. I think it was Kayoko who said on her web site not all tamahagane is equal. There are two kinds and only the best is used in swords and the very finest tools. Most tools were made from the secondary tamahagane. Just to keep things in historical perspective, the ryoba, like the dozuki is a relatively late development in the history of Japanese tools. The book by William Coldrake gives a date, but memory fails me. Around the turn of the twentith century I think. Before that most Japanese hand saws were single edge saws. There are saws that have tamahagane stamped on them that are no where on earth the quality of a Tetsunosuke tamahagane saw. The price of the lesser saws reflects the value the Japanese themselves has given them and it is not so great.

With respect to the Tetsunosuke saws, The Miyano Tetsunosuke model is made from better steel roll stock than the other models. It is forged and all hand scraped, no grinding. The old brands, of Tomomitsu and Harumitsu were made of the best grade white steel. The less expensive Harumitsu was ground priliminarily on the grinder and sometimes finished with a sen, but not always. It had the least amount of labor of all the Tetsunosuke saws. The Tomomitsu was done with more labor than the Harumitsu, but not as much as the Testsunosuke. It was hand scraped from scratch. Yataiki thought the Tomomitsu was really all the saw most everyday professionals needed. While I am not as familiar with the saws produced for Kayoko under the Golden Dragon name, Yataiki saws produced in Japan for the Japanese market fetch prices to rival those of his father.

Yataiki himself thought his dad had exceeded his grandfather by a lot with respect to his skill. He quite honestly felt his father had perfected the modern Japanese hand saw and his work could not be bettered. During the last 10 plus years the senior Miyano was alive, Yataiki was infact if not in name the master of the shop and did almost all the work. In my opinion, he was the equal or more of his father. The sad part is he will have produced relatively little at the end of his career and may mot have left enough evidence of his greatness.

Peter
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
dburnard



Joined: 20 Apr 2002
Posts: 228
Location: Oregon (the wet part)

PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Peter, must have been a powerful message to knock out all communications!

Kayoko is right (of course). As I understand it, there are actually about 4-5 grades of tamahagane (portions of the billet that are considered steel), but only two that are very useful for edge tools, the other steel grades might have been used for hammers etc. There are also iron grades, the mixed grades, etc.

Another potential reason why a tool with tamahagane *stamped* on it might be suspect. A high quality tamahagane tool would be the top of line for any toolmaker, and the tool would most likely be hand signed. Not a foolproof test, but another factor to consider.

These days Yataiki is only making the two levels of saws (3 if you count tamahagane) that Kayoko sells. She is also his distributor in Japan. There are fewer of the Golden Dragon blanks left but still a fair number of the Yataiki brand blanks. The Yataiki brand saws are still his best saw steel, the Golden Dragon saws are from the slightly lesser steel. There were additional lower levels of steel than these in the past, but he's understandably not interested in finishing those saws.

Agreed, Miyano Tetsunosuke II was the pinnacle of sawmaking. He lived to the ripe old age of 95 so it's not too surprising that he wasn't doing much work those last 15 years or so. Yataiki would never claim to even be his father's equal, but his father certainly recognized his genius. Yataiki did things his father would not have thought of, or have been able to do. Yariganna, tamahagane stone carving tools, tamahagane azebiki, tamahagane kogatana and carving tools, and he influenced so many people outside of Japan. Never mind that he was a professional calligrapher until age 45. A remarkable man indeed.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Peter Cowick



Joined: 15 Jul 2004
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 7:30 am    Post subject: Tell tale signs of a good saw Reply with quote

I am sorry this got far afield of the original question, but when two guys have a passion for a single maker sometimes it gets a little out of hand.

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause. No, not all saws and saw makers are equal. Not all tamahagane saws are equal. Not all blue steel saws are equal and not all white or yellow steel saws are equal. Not all hand made saws are equal and not all factory made saws are equal. Not all makers are equal and not all saws in a makers product line are equal.

Buying used saws sight unseen from places like ebay can be problematic. I have gotten a few good saws, but the vast majority have been bent or rusted or poor quality saws to begin with. They may have been less frequently been used by the privious owner. Saws are a different animal from chisels or planes. They are fragil. When used and repeatedly resharpened, they are consumed disproportionalely quick. My advice about buying old tools for sale on the net is unless you just want a particular tool like a whale back maebiki, that you may not have to fill a collection, beware.

While price is a good indicator of value, it is more likely a good indicator of demand. There are good saws that do not cost $1600.00. Tetsunosuke saws are beyond question for those who have used them in a catagory of their own. If you have used a Tetsunosuke saw, other makers like Shindo of Yoshiwakamaru seem like taking a ride on a cobble stone street in a wheelborrow instead of a big Buick on a newly paved street. That is not to slam any maker, just that their product can be that different. It is not necessary to have such a historically significant tool to cut well. Unfortunately, some of the things that make the best saws ever produced high quality, like being hand scraped, burnished, having seperate forge welded tangs etc., may be steps no longer practiced by current makers. Or as is common with other tools, only done for show and in a superficial way. If it was good advice to buy from several chisel makers till you find something you like, it goes double for saw makers.

A number of years back now, maybe 20 years or so, Hida had a big sale of saws he got in Japan after rummaging through a storeage building in Japan. This is well before he got the Chuyemon Saws. There were all manor of ryobas and anahiki and jobiki etc. Being a saw guy at heart, I got a number of them. They were all by makers no one here ever heard of. These were all saws sitting in someone's inventory forever and while not damaged or rusted, they more likely than not were not selling too fast. Some were a hand scraped delight. Some were loosers. Some were large log saws no longer even used much in Japan since the advent of the chain saw. All were hand made. Some had seperate forge welded tangs. Some looked beautiful, but were like a stiff modern throw away Tajima blade when you cut with it. A few just made you squeel with joy to use. Unless you hit a true garage sale and get into someones collection it is not likely to get such a wide variety of quality in one place, even at a commercial dealer.

While I have some saws that might be classified as historically significant, I still have a stiff throw away Tajima job site saw I use for modifications to all manor of existing things that experience has taught me may contain hidden staples, dry wall screws or other boogy men.

Peter
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Chris Hall
Moderator


Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 439
Location: Vancouver Island, B.C.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2006 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Owning a couple of saws made by Yataiki myself, and having had the opportunity to try a few the Miyano saws in Matt Connorton's extensive collection, I can completely see where you guys are coming from in your passion for this man's work.

There is nothing finer out there simply put.

Chris
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
ccsmith



Joined: 02 Aug 2005
Posts: 324
Location: downeast maine

PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the incredible wealth of insite gentalmen. Is it possible to visit Yataiki shop? Does he welcome visitors interested in his craft?
I just read Misugi designs profile of Yataiki. What an impressive person. Very inspiring.
Are all teeth set with a hammer ? Even when they are as small as 1mm?
Concerning other saw smiths. Between Yoshiwakamaru,Cheyumon,Mitsukawa,and Juntaro Mitsukawa III are there noticeable differences in quality of the work? Yoshiwakamaru and Cheyumon I have heard even less about.
On sawing technique,If a saw binds in a cut on the push will a hand made typicaly break? How fragile are we talking?
I hear some people saying that they send their saws out once a year to be sharpened. It seems some saws will hold an edge for a long while. Assuming the saw is used for it's intended pupose and the material it was design to cut, would you expect a blade used daily to stay sharp a whole year?
For furniture joinery I use a 240mm ryoba almost exclusively right now. I get nice clean cuts with no to minimal clean up. I'm kinda scared of a 270mm. Is the size of tooth radically larger?
Probably more where that came from. Feel free to get off track ,it's not getting lost. I will read these posts from Dave and Peter many times ,Thank-you again for putting it out there,Correy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Wiley Horne



Joined: 01 Aug 2002
Posts: 197

PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Correy,

This is a fantastic thread (thanks Dave and Peter!!) and I have no new information for you. But will draw from Dave and Peter's remarks in light of my own experience using Mitsukawa, Chuyemon, and Miyano saws.

First off, if you are able to acquire a Miyano saw, it will be the best money you ever spent. It would be a lot of money. But you will have that money again several times over before you will ever see that saw again. If you're able to saw joinery cleanly with a machine made saw, you're ready.

Drawing from Dave's remarks, a great option in my experience is to get a Chuyemon or Mitsukawa saw, and send it straightaway to Mark Grable--send it brand new from the dealer--for metate. It will come back from Mark a different and better saw. For example, I have a Mitsukawa 270mm rip dozuki from Kayoko (13tpi), cost $170-someodd when I bought it new several years ago. The saw has really good steel, took forever to get dull. Then I sent it to Mark. He tightened the back, straightened it, sharpened it to his standards--and when that saw came back that was the best day of its life, far better than the factory saw, and it was perfectly serviceable from the factory. When you combine the Mitsukawa steel with Mark's metate, you've got something. But don't forget Miyano if it is in the realm of possibility for you.

Wiley
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
dburnard



Joined: 20 Apr 2002
Posts: 228
Location: Oregon (the wet part)

PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hadn't noticed Correy's response before now...

Well I'm sure Peter and I are both glad that you found it interesting. Here are some answers to your questions...

1) Yataiki is indeed an incredible man. He is all but retired now. These days he's removed himself from public life and prefers to live quietly and anonymously in the countryside with his family. In the past he made numerous trips to the US and it's a shame you missed seeing him when he was here. Mark and I are very fortunate that he has chosen to share some of his knowledge with us.

Mitsukawa-san is a much younger man and does many demonstrations. He's been to the US and travels to the Kezurou Kai events in Japan. These days he is likely to be more publicly accessible.

1) All teeth are set with a hammer - the hammer just gets smaller to match the size of the teeth.

2) Sawsmiths - Mitsukawa and Juntaro Mitsukawa III are the same guy. I haven't been impressed with the pictures of Yoshiwakamaru's I've seen on the web, but I don't know what quality level I was looking at. I use Cheyumon's and they are pretty good out of the box, but would be improved if Mark gave them a once over. So far as I know Mitsukawa is about the only guy actively making handmade saws (he makes a variety of hand/machine made blades). Mark has saw blanks and hopefully he will be able to finish those blanks in the not too distant future.

3) Typically a handmade saw will not break if it binds during the push stroke. They can break or crack though it's not very common. Replaceable blades will usually flex rather than actually kinking, handmade blades will usually just flex as well. Jay has a few broken Shindo blades handing on his wall, he says that the old Shindo's were famous for being hard and a bit prone to this. Not sure what Shindo-san would have to say about it. wink

4) When to resharpen depends a lot on what you've been sawing and how well you saw, as well as on the sawmaker, the steel used, and how it was heat treated. There's always a tradeoff between edge holding and flexibility. Since I don't saw for a living I'm not the best person to answer this. I don't recall the that the few handmade saws I used when building my shop got noticeably dull during the construction. Since Mark is local, practically next door if you live in Maine, I'd send them to him after a year and see if he thinks they need resharpening...

5) I use my 270mm ryobas when I'm doing larger stuff like table legs and big rips or outdoor projects. A 270 with hardwood teeth (which I don't have) would come in handy. The jump from 210 to 240 is probably more noticeable, but the jump from 240 to 270 is stilll fairly significant. Buy a 270mm replaceable blade (which fits on the 240 handle in most brands) to see the difference. When you go to build that white cedar gate/railing/torii a 270 will be just the ticket.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
ccsmith



Joined: 02 Aug 2005
Posts: 324
Location: downeast maine

PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2006 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys! Wiley, is this the same from the early days of this forum? I always thought you'd be quite a character from reading your old posts. Laughing
Hey this great stuff you guys are letting out of the bag. Care if I shoot out a couple more ?'s on nokogiri?
The tang, is there any signifigance in whether is torch welded or hammer welded?
And Mitsukawa saws, Tomohito san's site under saws has a discertation of mitsukawa saws stating,I believe that the cheaper saws on other sites are not Juntaro III. And I do not mean to put Tomohito on the fence but am curious if any one knows more to this.
Wiley,when you said to try the Miyano saws were you refering to the gold dragon brand ?
Are there other "models" of Yataiki's work to be had? Is Kayako the only source for his work?
So no one has a consumer report for the yoshiwakamaru?
Dave,man I wish I had that 270 last week when I had to cut some tenons for a exterior door. The 300 was just a tad too big. Didn't even try the 240. I'm going to order one up asap to have the next time around. Thanks for all the juice guys,Correy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ccsmith



Joined: 02 Aug 2005
Posts: 324
Location: downeast maine

PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2006 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just wen back to Iida tool and re-read the note on Mitsukawa saws. Seems the III saws have more hand work,possibly made by the man himself.-C
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Japanese Woodworking Forums Forum Index -> Nokogiri All times are GMT - 4 Hours
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next
Page 1 of 3

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group