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Tool Review: Z-Saw Dozuki Saw
By Jeff Fleisher

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Last year I did a tool review of the Gyokucho Rip Dozuki Saw but the Z-Saw Dozuki Saw is specially designed to be used with hardwoods such as maple, mahogany and walnut.

The Z-Saw Dozuki has a 0.3mm thick high-carbon steel blade. Like all Japanese saws, the blade can be extremely thin because it cuts on the pull stroke which creates a very fine kerf. I like the idea of a very thin blade with hardwoods because you will generate very little friction and very little resistance making the cut and the blade remain straight during the pull part of the cutting stroke.

The Dozuki hardwood saw has 21 teeth per inch (21 tpi) and is optimized for cutting in hardwoods. Their softwood version saw has 25tpi which is optimized for softwoods. The Dozuki is designed to be a general purpose saw which can cut dovetails, tenons and other fine joinery. As with most Japanese saws, the blades cannot be resharpened but are replaceable.

The Hardwood 240 has a cutting length of 240mm or 9-1/2" with a maximum cutting depth of 50mm or 1-15/16" deep. The back spline adds support while making your cut. The handle length is 270mm or 10-5/8" so the overall length of the saw is 535mm or 21-1/16". Like many other Japanese saws the Dozuki has a rattan-wrapped wood handle.

Because of the tooth pattern, it's more difficult to sharpen Japanese saws and you need a special file. So the manufacturers responded by impulse hardening the teeth. It will stay sharp a lot longer, however it also makes the teeth brittle. You can break off teeth in difficult hardwoods if your sawing technique isn't correct so having a saw designed especially for hardwoods may help to eliminate this problem.

What is impulse hardening? I had to look it up myself. The definition I found is, "Using a special high frequency heating technique, teeth are heated instantly and hardened. Because of this localized heating process only the teeth of the blade are heated and hardened. The remainder of the blade is unchanged and still retains its normal flexibility."

To test the saw I decided to cut a tenon on the end of a walnut board. The tenon is a good test because it has both a cross-cut and a rip-cut. I drew a simple tenon on the end of the board.

After cutting the crosscut I did a rip across the end-grain of the board to cut one of the cheeks of the tenon. The saw tracked very well during both cuts. The razor sharp teeth initiated the cut great, especially using the pull stroke. This is the same type of rip cut that you would do if your were cutting dovetails.

Once the kerf was started the saw tracked along the line almost by itself and there was no bending or kinking of the blade on the push part of the cut. I was very pleased on how well the saw cut and tracked. It produced a very smooth and clean cut.

For those of you who use Japanese saws I would give this saw a try. There are less hardwoods used in Japan so it is nice that Z-Saw created a Dozuki saw that is geared towards the hardwoods which are used more in the United States. This hardwood Dozuki would be a nice complement to other Japanese saws in your collection. If you have not used a Japanese Dozuki before, I would recommend you look for this hardwood version as one to start this style of woodworking.

Click here to find out more and purchase your own Z-Saw Dozuki Saw from Highland Woodworking.

Click here to view our Tool Review Archive.

Jeffrey Fleisher has been a woodworker for approximately 20 years and a professional woodworker for the past 6 years. He is the president of his local woodturning club, the Woodturners of the Virginias and past president of the Northern Virginia Carvers. You can see some of the furniture he has made at www.jeffswooddesigns.com. He can be reached by email at furnmkr@gmail.com

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