In Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs

We may receive a commission when you use our affiliate links. However, this does not impact our recommendations.

PWV4FREEFree-trial-PWVIn 1997 my parents built a new house. I was a rambunctious child, and my dad figured out a way to get me out of his hair for a while so he could work. He gave me a long board, a hammer and a box of nails. I spent days just hammering nails into one board, as content as I could be.

When the luster of the hammer wore off, my dad pulled out an old Disston and Sons ripsaw (which sits in my toolbox now). I couldn’t get the hang of it. I spent hours struggling to get a cut started, and when I finally did, I couldn’t cut a straight line. The saw didn’t make sense to me.

I recently watched “Talking Japanese Tools with Toshio Odate” on Popular Woodworking Videos, and suddenly that summer I spent struggling with the ripsaw made complete sense. In the “Saws” section of the video, Toshio uses a string to explain how Japanese saws work.

Toshio explains that when you put pressure on a string and pull it, the string pulls in a straight line. When you put pressure on a string and push it, the string bunches up against the pressure. That’s why I had so much trouble, the push motion of Western saws felt wrong to my arms. The pull motion of a Japanese saw just made sense to me.

In the video Toshio covers everything from tools to the difference between eastern and western education and philosophies. With over two hours conversation, I have rewatched the video a handful of times and still find new information in it. I don’t see that stopping anytime soon.

Perhaps the best part about this video is that for the next month you can watch it free on our streaming site. Actually, you can watch all of our videos free for a month.

From now until June 15, Popular Woodworking Videos is running a one-month free trial with the code PWV4FREE. Sign up by June 15 and you will get your first month free, starting from the day you sign up.

If you want to continue viewing all of the great woodworking videos at after your free trial period is over, you don’t need to do anything. You will automatically be renewed for the monthly full access subscription at $19.99/month. Your membership will continue to be renewed until you cancel. To cancel, just sign in to your My Account page to Manage Subscriptions at and select “Cancel Subscription” to stop your renewal.

Don’t skip this chance to catch up on all of the videos that you may have missed. Start your PWV4FREE trial today!

— Jon Russelburg


Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

Recent Posts
Showing 2 comments
  • Bill Lattanzio

    To add my two cents, I like Japanese woodworking tools, but I don’t find anything magical about them. For instance, for fine joinery, Japanese saws do a nice job, for ripping down a 2×6, not so much.

    Western/Eastern tools origins partially stem from the trees/woods they were meant to be used on. I’s long and convoluted (in particular for a comment board). In any event, I don’t think any one style is any better or worse than the other in most cases. It all comes down to how you like to work.


Start typing and press Enter to search