Ripping with the JS-2 Japanese Hand Saw

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Ripping with the JS-2 Japanese Hand Saw

Postby User303110 » Tue May 06, 2008 3:01 pm

I'm stuggling to learn how to rip boards using the JS-2 rip saw teeth. I can cut a straight line for about 3-4 inches, then drift away from my line. I've been practicing for several weeks, but can't seem to make any improvement. Once I start to drift off course, I can't seem to get back. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to learn to use the saw? Thanks in advance.
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Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 8:54 am

Update on Using the JS-2

Postby User303110 » Thu May 22, 2008 9:00 am

I'm still on my quest to learn how to use the JS-2 for ripping long boards. It turns out that this is quite a challange. I've sent email inquiries to a number of stores that sell Japanese handsaws. Here are the suggestions I have received. Somehow, I feel it is an honor well above my station to be referred to as "Bob-san." :)
From Hido Japanese Tools in Berkeley, CA


Osamu (the store owner) said in Japan people said "3 years for sawing". It is especially difficult to rip-cut. The tip is to position yourself in front of the board. You look at the saw in the way your saw is between your eyes. Practice makes perfect.

Yuka Johnson
From Bridge City Tool Works

Ripping with a ryoba is a challenging task. A guide will help with blade drift. If the board is short enough, clamp it in a vice vertically. Then clamp another board on your cut line. Use the board as a guide for you to saw against. It should help with blade wander. You may need to experiment with clamping your guide board on one side of the line vs. the other.
And yes, practice will help, sorry to hear about the 3 year advice!

From Japan Woodworker in Alameda, CA
Hi Bob,

Aside from repeating the addage "practice, practice, practice" I would try setting up some sort of guide so that you do not deflect the blade of the saw after it enters the workpiece. Even a block of wood with a magnet buried into it to hold the saw blade straight would be a help. See


It seems that my best option for a mecanical solution is to use a second board as a guide.

So far, except to the two-handed grip and stance in front of the board, I have not receieved any advice as to why the saw would drift off course. If anyone out there in hand tool land has some suggestions (for example, "you drift left of the line because you do X") I would greatly appreciate it. Also, if others are experiencing this same problem, let me know. Thanks, and I'll keep posting until I find a solution
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Postby KWCabs » Thu May 22, 2008 11:34 am

I have one of these also, and have made a few relatively short rip cuts. I think that the saw drifts for much the same reason bandsaws sometimes do, they tend to follow grain. However, as a added step to the guide idea, why not use two guides. In other words use the guides to form a kerf line and simply follow the lline slot down? It's funny because that will probably work fairly well (although I haven't tried it) but it does take some of the joy out of using a handsaw.
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Finally, A Clue

Postby User303110 » Tue Jun 10, 2008 3:54 pm

In my ongoing quest to figure out how to use the JS-2 I've stumbled onto a potential soluton (prehaps "Googled onto" is a more accurate description). Ron Hazelton is a TV home repair guy with a great show. His website contains a video demonstrating, among other things, proper ripping technique with a Ryoba saw. The link is below.

He clamps the board horizontally on his bench, not virtically in a vice. The angle of the saw to the board is very small, more in the neighborhood of 10-20 degrees, not the 90 degrees that I had been using. If you watch the video carefully, he cuts across the surface of the board for about the length of the saw until he establishes a deep groove. Then he switches to a more perpendicular positon to finish ripping that section. He repeats this technique until the whole length is cut.

I'm assuming that this technique will work for the squirrely grained wood I have been trying to cut. I'll give this a try when my job stops interferring with my hobby and I can get into my garage shop. [If any one asks, this posting was done while I was on a coffee break at work! :shock: ]
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