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Cambridge man charged with assault with a dangerous woodworking tool

Cambridge Police report a man was arrested yesterday for threatening somebody with a Japanese saw - a tool normally only used by woodworkers.

Police say officers responded around 2:30 p.m. to leafy Ware Street in Harvard Square after getting a report of a disturbance involving two men, one armed with a knife.

Police say officers found William Chiriguayo, 40, wielding a particular woodworking tool and arrested him on a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon, to wit, Japanese saw.

Unlike the saws with which most Americans are familiar, Japanese saws cut on the pull stroke, rather than the push stroke, which makes them particularly useful for more precise cutting.

Innocent, etc.

Free tagging: 


I once worked with 2 Japanese carpenters on a huge set for a long gone band nobody remembers.

They used no power tools and had finely sharpened hand saws and hand tools instead.

Their work was fast, precise and quite frankly beautiful.

Voting closed 16

Are freely available at most Home Depots. I would assume that all Gaijin saws would be similarly deadly.

Voting closed 4

A Japanese-style pull saw is a much more effective weapon against a human being than an American saw. They can do more damage in a slashing attack, have more and sharper teeth per inch, and often have longer reach. You can hold and use one like a sword, whereas western saws are ergonomic nightmares (you'd basically be punching someone with the saw).

Voting closed 8

I own several Japanese saws/nokogiri, which I use regularly. And I've got a say - all of them would be just about the least effective weapons in my shop. Sharp as heck, yes, but really fragile too; with blades so thin and teeth generally so fine that they'd likely get caught and turned by even mildly thick clothing - a flannel shirt or jeans, or heck, even abundant hair.

Using one like a 'sword' is an even sillier idea. None of the traditional styles have pointed ends, and they'd all crumple anyway if directed straight at someone (with the possible exception of a large dozuki - that's the one with a single-side blade and a spine along the back).

Also, not to sound like too much of a wag, but they're frickin expensive! Just bad choices all-round for anyone looking to exploit their 'improvised weapon' skill.

Since 13 Ware St is university housing, I bet someone was woodworking in their room, the sound was driving a neighbor nuts, and there was a confrontation between two stressed-out grad students. Police arrived, and the woodworker failed to appreciate that the deceptively fragile tool in hir hand would look exotically menacing to any non-woodworking human.

Voting closed 11

You may be an expert woodworker, but your knowledge of edged weapons is deficient. The comment you are so scornful of specifically spoke of a slashing attack, yet you go on about Japanese saws being useless for stabbing. Are straight razors not useful weapons, because they have blunt ends? There are sword disciplines which reject thrusting techniques (foining), and exclusively use the edge of the weapon. This involves pulling the edge of the sword across the target, similar to the way a pull-saw is used. It's pretty silly of you to claim that your saws are so fragile that they wouldn't cut cloth, given that wood is much tougher than denim.

Voting closed 10

But that's really besides the point.

The comment you are so scornful of specifically spoke of a slashing attack...

Which I adressed in my first paragraph, perhaps not as explicitly as you needed. Having done that, I went on to address the anon's declaration that one could be "used as a sword", which implies both cutting and thrusting attacks. It's really no good as either.

Are straight razors not useful weapons, because they have blunt ends?

Perhaps, but they certainly aren't sword analogues.


Look, it's pretty clear neither you nor 'deepfreeze' has ever spent any time actually using a pull saw. Even with a well-secured work-piece, it's easy for the blade to bind or jump from the cut if you don't keep it precisely in line with direction of the draw. These saw blades are so thin - often much less than a millimeter thick - that it's not uncommon to break teeth, or even bend and ruin the blade completely if you use bad technique - even for a single pass.

Now cover that "wood" with some heavy cloth (that can easily catch and drag the blade out of alignment) and move it around rapidly! Yeah, pretty useless unless minor scrapes and a bent blade are your goal.

Look, you can believe this person was some sort of weird ninja sword master with obscure improvised combat techniques. But I highly recomend that if you ever find it necessary to contemplate offensive violence while surrounded by woodworking tools, you reach for a hammer, or a long screwdriver. Or better yet, a 2x4 about the length of a baseball bat.

Voting closed 19