Kawano Ryotaro aka Nakaya Hisagoro

Kawano Ryotaro who uses the professional name of Nakaya Hisagoro is the 4th generation saw maker in his family from the town of Fujioka in Gumma prefecture in the mountain area near Nagano. He is 72years old and still maintains his small shop with his wife. He fills his time mostly now as a saw sharpener. He said the days of making saws is over for him, and because he has no children, his saws will be the last of his line of Nakaya . Nakaya Hisagoro saws have a special look and character all of their own and look and feel very much handmade. After the straightening

and tensioning he only scrapes his saws to a minimum degree while leaving a lot of the hand work marks evident in the final finished saw. I have 2 saws by his father made in the 1930s, when they were working with a charcoal forge, and they look and have the same character as the son's saws from the 1960s-70s. The tang is not welded on and some do have a welded on tang. He did some of the original surfacing with a sander as many saw makers do. All other steps were performed by hand. The teeth were cut by Nakaya Hisagoro, the saw was shaped and styled in the neck according to his fathers patterns. The saw body was then tempered in a forge and quenched to specific tolerances in water. The hours and even days of straightening and tensioning the blade requiring tens of thousands of hammer taps after it comes out of the furnace coaxes the saw to take the shape. From looking like a piece of wavy paper the steel begins to look like a functional saw. Some saws are then hand scraped to a thickness of .6mm at the neck tapering down to .55mm at the tip. He does not hollow ground his saw bodies. All these steps including the original metate were done by him in his shop. Finally the signature was hand cut with a burin by the saw maker.