Lie Nielsen No. 4 Bronze Bench Plane

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Stanley Bedrock 605
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Shark Takumi Dozuki

Blade Length: 9"
Teeth: 26 tpi
Kerf: .015"


If you are used to a traditional western saw you'll notice a few major differences right away. This saw like other Japanese saws cuts on the pull stroke. Saws that cut on the pull stroke have two advantages over western saws that cut on the push stroke. First, on the pull stroke the blade is in tension so the blade can be made of thinner steel. This reduction in the saw kerf is great for precision work. The second main advantage comes from the belief that you can generate more power pulling rather than pushing. While I don't study biomechanics, I do know that cutting dovetails requires very little strength so that is of little consequence on this saw.

The blade of this saw cuts a .015" kerf. That is about as narrow as I've ever heard of. That thin kerf is great because you can cut right up to a pencil line or even split a pencil line if you are careful. The thin kerf also has the added benefit of just cutting less wood.

The saw blade is backed up by a steel channel. This is similar to traditional brass backed dovetail saws.

The handle of this saw is a solid piece of wood about a foot long that is wrapped in bamboo. This design is clearly very different than the saws I grew up with. This handle allows you to hold the saw with both hands. This design is very easy to get used to. It seems to offer more control than using a traditional western saw.

The teeth of a Japanese saw are noticeably different than western saws. Although not entirely visible in the photo, the teeth are beveled on three sides. What is noticeable is the overall shape of the teeth are taller and more narrow than a western saw. The effect of these differences make this saw cut comparably fast, given the high teeth per inch of this saw.

However, the teeth are not without their own quirks. The tooth design I've found increases the likelihood of damaging the teeth. I'm not Japanese and I obviously don't treat my tools as Japanese craftsmen so the teeth on my saws of this style tend to suffer more damage than my other saws. Further compounding the problem of damaged teeth is the fact that the 3 bevels and steep angle of the teeth make these very hard to resharpen. Fortunately, this saw and other Japanese saws most often have replaceable blades.

If you like cutting dovetails, this is a great saw. Do not buy this saw if it is your only saw or if you intend to cut larger stock. This saw excels at precision cuts. If the teeth were easier to keep in better shape I'd give it a 6.

Overall Rating 5 out of 6.


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