Japanese saws are distinctive from western hand saws in a few crucial ways, most of which rely on the fact that they cut on the pull-stroke. Since the blade of the saw cuts as it is drawn towards the user, rather than as it is pushed away, the blade is constantly in tension while cutting. This means that the saw plate can be made of very thin metal, even for saws designed to rip boards. In turn, because these saws leave a fine kerf, they remove less material as they cut and therefore are extremely efficient, requiring less effort and time compared to a similarly sized Western counterpart with a greater blade thickness.