Tool Test: Harbor Freight Pull Saw
Whether you’re tackling a woodworking project, building cabinets, or doing carpentry work, it’s often necessary to make a clean, smooth cut that’s perfectly flush with the surface. For example, you may need to trim wood plugs flush after they’ve been installed, cut door casings even with flooring, or saw an overlapping piece of house trim flush with an intersecting trim board.
And while you can sometimes make flush cuts with a standard handsaw, the very best tool for such jobs is a Japanese-style pull saw. This type of saw features a flexible blade that’s equipped with tiny, ultra-sharp teeth that cut on the pull stroke. The benefit of a pull saw is that because you’re pulling the blade through the cut, not pushing it, the blade can be made super-thin, resulting in very quick, smooth cuts.
Now, if you’re a professional cabinetmaker or highly skilled woodworker, it might be wise to invest in a pro-quality pull saw, such as the Japanese Kugihiki saw, which costs nearly $40. But for the rest of us, we could get by nicely with the Portland Pull Saw from Harbor Freight (Item 94722).
I bought the Portland model about three months ago, and have been very pleasantly surprised. The saw’s 10-in. blade has just the right amount of flex, and its 15-teeth-per-inch cuts quickly, but very smoothly. I’ve used it to cut hardwood, softwood, plywood, and even small-diameter PVC pipe. I wasn’t too sure about the plastic pistol-grip handle, but it’s pretty comfortable and provides excellent support throughout the cut.
Best of all, however, is the price. Most Japanese-style flush-cut pull saws range in price from about $30 to $50 and up. The Portland model costs just $8. In fact, I bought two!