May 7, 2008

DTQ: What Do You Think Of Your Dozuki?

mari_effe_table.jpg

So I'm still kicking around the idea of building a dining table using a design by Enzo Mari [see some longwinded discussion of it here.] It's supposed to be made out of plain, unfinished pine lumber, which you can have cut to order by your local hardwareman. I'm thinking of something a little more offbeat, which means I will probably need to cut the wood to size myself. In the city, with no room for powertools or tablesaws.

Besides, after watching the video of some Parisian woodworker making a Mari table with a Japanese backsaw known as a dozuki, [Generally, Japanese backsaws are called nokogiri; dozuki is the kind that has teeth on just one side, and a reinforcing steel strip on the other.], I really want one. I think. Their appeal is their extreme thinness, made possible because they cut on the pull stroke, not the push, like Western handsaws.

takumi_dozuki.jpg

Does anyone have one? Have you used one? How are they? Anything to recommend or to avoid? If I'm mostly going to be cutting lengths of lumber [1-2" thick, tops], do I need to make sure to get a crosscutting blade? Or should I just find someone with a workshop and an empty stomach?

above: A mid-range, 9-in. Takumi Dozuki Japanese handsaw, $37 at Amazon [amazon]
Nokogiri shop talk at Daiku Dojo, a Japanese-style woodworking group [daikudojo.com]

9 Comments

To saw with a Dozuki is magical!!! It's a bit tricky at first but when you get the hang of it, my god!!! You will never saw with another saw again. The trick is just to pull gently. I have built two Mari tables from the book Autoprogettazione. For both tables I used my Dozuki. You should use crosscutting blade just to make the experience total!!
Good luck!!
(You will feel like a samurai building that table with a Duzuki.)

/ ChRobin

chrobin, can we see photos of your tables?!?!

my husband LOVES those things.

He suggests you check out:

Woodcraft's Japanese hand saws

[holy smokes, the kugihiki flexible flush cutting saw looks like the Crepe Spatula of Death. I want to sink some dowels just so I can cut them off. -ed.]

i broke my first blade by pressing too hard. i'd have been bummed if it was a more expensive saw. maybe try practicing on some scrap wood with the $37 one you've found (as long as its a disposable blade dozuki. i'd be skeptical of a non-disposable one so cheap).
the dovetails are awesome and it cuts like a dream - no splintering or chipping.

I don't do any woodworking - that's why the kids have Grandpa. He has a set of Japanese saws from Lee Valley that he has been very pleased with

They have some crazy awesome dozuki options.

is the city new york? if so, this is THE place to get some nice wood:

M.L. CONDON
248 Ferris Ave.
White Plains, NY 10603
tel: 914-946-4111

they have pretty much every kind of wood known to man, and they can mill it for you, too, which, not having to rip anything, obviously would save you a LOT of sawdust in your living room.

as for saws, I have one of these:

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=88288-414-BS250D&lpage=none

I know it's not quite the way-of-the-samurai experience, but it works great. I actually used it to flush cut the dowels on the sliding nursery door panels - made of walnut from condon's.

I have a flush cutting pull saw I used to cut spacers on the crib I built. It takes some time to get used to the cut on the pull stroke idea, it really is a shift in how you use tools. If you're in DC and want to borrow some time in a workshop to cut the pieces, let me know (my rental rates start at a sixer of Magic Hat #9 ;), we're in Mt Pleasant). Looks like a crosscut miter saw would let you knock out the project in a day (add in an air nailer, and I bet you're down to a few hours). But a nice crosscut pull saw would give you time to meditate during the project. It'd be quieter as well, which is nice since I do most of my woodwork at night and the neighbors tend to frown on the dust collector and table saw whining at 1am.

For wood in the DC area, I've bought most of my stuff from Vienna Hardwoods in Virginia (http://www.viennahardwood.com/ about a half hour drive from DC). Nice selection, ok prices and they can do some basic milling for you if you need s4s. I bought all my boards in the rough to save a few bucks and to justify the jointer and planer I wanted to buy. There's nothing like seeing rough boards transform into a piece of furniture.

I have a flush cutting pull saw I used to cut spacers on the crib I built. It takes some time to get used to the cut on the pull stroke idea, it really is a shift in how you use tools. If you're in DC and want to borrow some time in a workshop to cut the pieces, let me know (my rental rates start at a sixer of Magic Hat #9 ;), we're in Mt Pleasant). Looks like a crosscut miter saw would let you knock out the project in a day (add in an air nailer, and I bet you're down to a few hours). But a nice crosscut pull saw would give you time to meditate during the project. It'd be quieter as well, which is nice since I do most of my woodwork at night and the neighbors tend to frown on the dust collector and table saw whining at 1am.

For wood in the DC area, I've bought most of my stuff from Vienna Hardwoods in Virginia (http://www.viennahardwood.com/ about a half hour drive from DC). Nice selection, ok prices and they can do some basic milling for you if you need s4s. I bought all my boards in the rough to save a few bucks and to justify the jointer and planer I wanted to buy. There's nothing like seeing rough boards transform into a piece of furniture.

Stanley makes a wicked nice (non-flush cutting) toolbox modified pullsaw that has replaced my circular saw for cutting up to about 2 x 6s. You don't want to make the Dozuki your primary saw; save it for the tenons and do the heavy work with something like the Stanley.

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