ManMade Essential Toolbox: Why You Definitely Need a Japanese Flush Cut Trim Saw
Each week in 2015, ManMade is sharing our picks for the essential tools we think every creative guy and DIYer needs. We've selected useful, long-lasting tools to help you accomplish a variety of projects, solve problems, and live a hands-on lifestyle that allows you to interact with and make the things you use every day.
For those of you who have followed along with us in the series all year (this is tool number forty-eight), let's all celebrate: this is an easy one. A flush cut pull saw is a simple device that's totally affordable and almost impossible to screw up. It's small yet super functional, and performs quite well. It's designed to do just a few things, and do them well. Get the right one now, and you're set for life. There are two main characteristics that separate flush cut saws from their rip and crosscut brethren. First, the blade is intentionally flexible, which allows the saw to move in a plane different from the handle, allowing you to press the blade against a flat surface or into a tight space. Secondly, the teeth have no set whatsoever, meaning they sit directly parallel with the blade. (This is not true for any other well-made saw). This allows you to cut flush with the surface and the teeth will not scratch the surrounding material, no matter what.
So what do you use it for? Well, lots of things, like trimming a pegged or wedged tenon flush, or trimming wood plugs inserted into a counterbored hole to hide a screw without banging up the finished surface. Honestly, I keep mine in a handy place, and I grab it all the time for simple, short crosscut tasks, like finishing up a shoulder or curved kerf left from a stopped cut by a table or circular saw. This is also the saw I throw in my to-go toolbox or tool belt when working on something away from my shop.
Most of these saws will cut like a Japanese-style pull saw, slicing on the back stroke rather than the fore. This allows for great precision in tight places, and keeps your joinery and your fingers safe.
It's lovely when things are so simple and do what they're supposed to do. Especially for $25.
- Lee Valley Kugihiki Saw – $27 (or get in a set with the rip dozuki, pictured above)
- Robert Larson 720-3000 Flush Cutting Saw – $19
- Crown 187F Flush Trim Saw – $20
- Shark 10-2205 Trim/Detail Double Edge Saw – $21