Gyokucho Saws archive

Thursday 26 March 2009

The teeth of these Japanese saws are both hard and tough, reports Michael Huntley

The Yokobiki, bottom, and Tatebiki saws with Eva Grip handles

Gyokucho, one of the top makers of replaceable-blade Japanese saws, have introduced Eva Grip handles for their saws. These soft-grip designs will suit those who dislike the traditional bamboo-bound handles found on Japanese saws. The synthetic handle allows the locking mechanism to be more integrated into the handle and easier to use than the knurled head bolt that is set into the older-style handles.

Yokobiki Dozuki

One of the most useful Gyokucho blade styles, and I haven't found anyone else making this shape, is the Yokobiki Dozuki with curved-tip rip teeth which make starting a cut in the centre of a board or working up to an obstruction much easier. This is ideal for site work or restoration where the components are already fixed in position. The Yokobiki is shown here alongside the Tatebiki which is a fine rip saw.

I found the handles easy to hold and blade replacement procedure simple. Having said that, I have been using the old system for 25 years and have found no problem there, although I was always wondering what I would do when the nut worked loose, but it never did.

The verdict

These blades are precision made in the Japanese equivalent of Sheffield, and are extra sharp and extra thin, with a comfortable modern handle. The tip of each tooth is heated for about 0.005 of a second, creating a shock wave that causes the steel to harden. By manipulation of the current and frequency the tip of the tooth is case hardened but the root of the tooth is left tough for greater strength. The result is a durable but extremely hard tooth of about RC68. These teeth are harder than normal saw-sharpening files, but must be treated carefully and not used roughly.

David Preece

Tagged In:

Michael Huntley , Pullsaw , Gyokucho , Japanese saw

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The Numbers

Gyokucho Saws
Price (inc. VAT, correct at time of publication):
Saw with Eva-Grip handle: £35
Yokobiki blade length: 240mm
Blade thickness, plate: 0.3mm
Blade thickness, kerf: 0.5mm
Replaceable blade: 19tpi
Overall length: 550mm
Max practical cutting depth: 45mm

Michael uses the Eva Grip-handled saw to part off his bench vice handle

Contact Details

Contact: Workshop Heaven
Tel.: 01295 780003