Nagatsu Shōichi 長津勝一, The Saw Doctor

by Mathieu

Next month, on the 21 of July, there is a very unique event at the Museum for Old Techniques in Grimbergen. Nagakatsu-san is a Japanese saw doctor known for the very high quality of the saws worked by his hand.


We have the honor to inform you that he is coming to Belgium and will give a demonstration and accompanying workshop.

Nagakatsu has introduced some unorthodox styles regarding the shape of the saw teeth. He has adjusted the angle of the teeth and thereby he was able to increase the performance of the nokogiri. Japanese saws are known to cut fast, straight and are very accurate but his improvements have raised the standard even higher. Don’t get me wrong I am not trying to convince anyone here. It’s just that my colleagues and I have been using his saws for quite a while now and every time we use them we are amazed by their performance. That is why I am so excited that he is coming to Europe and that we are able to organize this event to share his skills with you.

Participants will have the chance to ask him questions in person. You don’t need to speak Japanese to do so since their will be two carpenters, Mathijs and Ante, who speak Japanese and Dutch fluently and can translate all your questions and explain everything he demonstrates.

Here is a list of what you can expect to see during the demonstration.

  • saw teeth geometry
  • saw sharpening
  • setting the teeth with a hammer
  • tensioning the blade

Brave participants will be able to practice their saw sharpening technique using Nagakatsu-san’s method. Clamps for saws will be provided but if you like to practice it might be a good idea to bring one of your old saws and grind of the teeth before the event. This will allow you to start with a clean blade and file new teeth on them that will cut like there is no tomorrow.

The second part of the event is a workshop where you will have the opportunity to try different Japanese saws. From large maebiki, used to saw a tree into boards, to small ryoba to cut intricate joints. We will discuss different sawing techniques and practice them by making either simple tennons or challenging splices, whatever you prefer.

You might ask yourself why you want to learn a Japanese saw sharpening method? Maybe you only use western style saws that cut on the push stroke? Hold your breath because Nagatsu-san has cut the teeth of Japanese saws so they work on the push stroke thereby introducing a ryoba that works as a western saw.

Or maybe you where wondering about the flutes (notches) in a mado style saw? In July you will have the chance to ask someone who has spent his life perfecting the subtle methods of saw sharpening.

mado ryoba

Participating the whole day from 9.00 to 17.00 costs 30€. If you are interested we strongly suggest to sign up well in advance since places are limited. We want to make sure we have plenty of time to coach all participants. If you have any more questions regarding the event you are welcome to post them as a comment. Hope to see you there.

To sign up contact MOT directly at:

or by phone

+32 2 270 81 11