Basic Saws and Cutting Tools

July 27, 2015

Choosing the right saws and cutting tools

You can do many maintenance and repair tasks yourself, if you buy a small arsenal of tools and equipment.  These tips will help you get the job done yourself and save money in the process.

Basic Saws and Cutting Tools


  1. Keyhole saw. The point of the saw allows you to make plunge cuts in wallboard or drywall. The blade is 25 centimetres (10 inches) long with about 3 1/2 teeth per centimetre (nine teeth per inch, or tpi). It can also cut light metal and wood.
  2. Hacksaw. Use this handsaw to cut metal. It has extra-hard teeth, a sturdy frame with a pistol-grip handle and a narrow blade from 20 to 42 centimetres (eight to 16 inches) long with 5 1/2 to 13 teeth per centimetre (14 to 32 tpi).
  3. Mitre box. This U-shaped box has slotted cut guides so you can make 45 degree mitre cuts on small pieces of wood, such as molding and trim.
  4. Crosscut saw. This saw's knifelike teeth slice through wood fibres, cutting stock across the grain. The standard blade is 65 centimetres (26 inches) long with three to five teeth per centimetre (seven to 12 tpi). Protect the blade by keeping it in its cardboard sheath.
  5. Backsaw. This fine-toothed handsaw has a reinforced upper edge for making straight cuts. It is typically used with a mitre box.

Cutting tools

  1. Soft Arkansas sharpening stone. Use this stone to sharpen dulled tools and blades. Lubricate the stone with oil as you sharpen.
  2. Multipurpose tool. This is an all-in-one tool for working with wire: you can cut wire, strip casings from wire and cut small pieces of thin metal with it.
  3. Utility knife. This versatile knife has a variety of blades to cut wood, vinyl and other materials. A good model will have a button that adjusts the length of the blade and retracts the blade into the handle for safety. Replacement blades are often stored in the handle.
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