Photo above: historic Tatebiki in the Takenaka Carpentry Museum in Kobe.
The saw manufacturer Shirai, in Sanjo, Prefecture, Niigata, makes a pair of very high-quality green-timber, or tree, saws. The pair complements each other: there is a Kataba Tatebiki for rip-sawing and a Gando Noko for cross-cutting.
Traditional hand forging even of such large saw blades is far too expensive today. To arrive at the affordable prices quoted below, these saw blades are made of specially selected hardened and tempered steel strip. The strip is then welded to a thicker shaft. The welded joint is ground and not visible. The weld seam may show microscopic fissures, but these in no way affect the stability and serviceability of the saw which is why they should be tolerated.
The saw teeth are ground on a modern machine. The teeth are aligned and set by hand. The saws can be resharpened.
The company Shirai-Sangyo is a living part of the tradition of saw manufacturers in the city of Sanjo, where the first recorded sawsmith set up shop in 1673. The firm itself was founded in 1924 and remains today a traditional family-run operation.
With their large teeth, these saws are for rough cutting. The various dimensions listed below can vary a little among the different saws, as they are entirely hand forged. Both saws can be resharpened.