Several months ago, I made a purchase from Zootoyz, which is my usual source for Woody Joe kits. When I received the package, I’d discovered that the owner, Mr. Kazunori Morikawa, sent me something to try out: A Japanese hobby saw.
Now, I’m familiar with the concept of Japanese saws, but never tried one out before. The main difference between western saws and Japanese saws is that western saws cut as you push them away from you, while Japanese saws cut as you pull them towards you. “So, what,” You might ask?
Well, a saw that cuts when you push has to be very stiff, meaning it usually has to be harder and heavier to keep from flexing too much as you push. The cut line also has a tendency to wander if you’re not careful, since the user has to keep the line of force in line with the point of contact and to keep that line consistent across the cut.
Cutting on the pull actually draws the cutting line straight between the point of contact and the line of force, so there is no wandering of the cut line and the blade can be lighter and thinner. When I tried out the little Japanese saw, which is closest in competition with razor saws, I found that the cuts were extremely straight. Certainly straighter than I’ve ever gotten free-hand with a razor saw.
The Japanese saw, besides cutting on the pull, also has very long and narrow teeth, and I found that it cuts with amazingly few strokes. Plus, the cut was so smooth, it didn’t requite any cleanup afterwards.
The blade on this saw is very thin at only 0.1mm. It’s the thinnest saw that I’m personally aware of. Because of its thinness, it would probably have a lot more flex except for the stiffener along the back of the blade, which razor saws also have. This limits the depth of cut of this saw to about 1/2″, which should be plenty for most ship modeling tasks.
The saw has a very lightweight wood handle. Were it made here in the U.S., it would probably have a heavier hardwood handle, if for no other reason than to suggest that it’s not cheaply made. But, for a hobby saw, it seems to do the trick.
This saw is comes from Hishika Industry and is listed as their “Super Fine Cut Saw” and it certainly lives up to the name. If you’re familiar with Japanese tools, you’ll know they don’t come cheap. Zootoyz made arrangements to order the saw after Kazunori and I had some discussions about the value of the saw. It was a bit of an investment for him, I believe, and I’m feeling a little responsible for him carrying them. So, I hope readers will be inspired to buy one from his website. This saw, at the current exchange rate is about $22, and can get yours direct from Zootoyz.jp here:
If you are in the U.S. and interested in getting one, but have trouble with the Zootoyz website or if the shipping ends up too much, contact me here. Maybe I can work one into a group order or just piggyback one next time I order something from Japan, which is all too frequently…