Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Stranger than fiction

Philobiblion has a picture of an old Indian postcard, in which two people are using an odd-shaped saw to cut a log. She says she can't understand why the saw is that shape.

I added a comment about Japanese saws, which are designed differently from western saws: you cut on the pull rather than the push. I also mentioned this to The Man. I said that perhaps I should get a Japanese saw for my younger brother, who is a carpenter and interested in carpentry tools from other countries. The Man stared at me and laughed.

"You're making it up!" he said.

"Making what up?" I asked.

"Nobody could be that stupid!" he said. "Why would you want it to cut when you push? You can't use the whole length or strength of the blade properly!"

I assured him that I was not making it up, and that it's Japanese blades that are odd. I don't think he believes me, though. He says it's too strange, and not logical.

Funny, I seem to remember having a similar reaction when I first heard about Japanese saws. The way you're used to always seems the logical, 'right' way.

Funny also that when I tell The Man the truth about stuff in NZ he doesn't believe me, but when I tell him an outright lie ("Watch out for those sheep! They bite!") he does.


Kines said...

I did some carpentry for a few years in Tokyo (at a center for arts and crafts) and I found it most natural to cut on the pull rather on the push, and you get finer cuts as a result, since pushing means the saw has a greater tendency to move about.

I'm finding your blog a very interesting read, since I also talk from time to time about the differences between western and eastern culture (I'll be writing one up soon, we talk about it in my Japanese class all the time).


Anonymous said...

That's an interesting saw! Of course, I'm used to American saws. I wonder which kind came first?

E.P. said...

On the pull, rather than on the push?! Sounds really dannnngerous to me! Bet that saw'd never make it past the U.S. authorities into the market for safety reasons; perhaps the Japanese gov't. is more inclined to allow its citizens the freedom to risk hurting themselves (which, btw, to me **IS** part of what freedom is all about; a nanny gov't. is stifling---gov't. should protect person A from person B, not me from me).