Japanese saws—nokogiri—have long been favored by boatbuilders. Because they cut on the pull stroke, they can be made thinner, which makes the kerf smaller and the sawing easier. There are several types of Japanese saw, each for different purposes. My favorite has been the kataba, meaning “cutting on one side,” a small saw with a long rectangular blade. My first kataba saws had fixed blades set in wooden handles wrapped in rattan. The later versions had removeable blades, which was handy for storing the saw and for replacing the blade, but not while using the saw and needing to put it safely away between tasks.

Photographs by the author

Extended, the Woodboy is 22" long. The blade is in the straight position. A second setting angles the blade up from the line of the cutting edge.

The Silky’s Woodbay is an update of the kataba, with modern materials and new features. It’s a folding saw, and in a heartbeat it can go from 22″ long, with its blade extended and its teeth exposed, to 12″ folded, with its cutting edge protected from damage—and your hands protected from its sharp teeth.

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