The right hand saw will lend a helping hand around the house

December 23, 2014

Knowing the different types of hand saws available can help you choose the right tool for the job around your house.

The right hand saw will lend a helping hand around the house

Cutting to the chase

With so many electric saw options available, you might feel that hand saws are an antique way to cut materials, or that they’re some kind of throw back to a simpler time. However, the reality is that handsaws are specialized tools for cutting wood and moulding, and most home repairs benefit from having an assortment of hand saws available. With so many options, it can be tough to know how to choose a hand saw for the particular job you have to do.

Knowing how to choose a hand saw starts with knowing what your needs are. Will you be rough-cutting wood, or doing more fine cutting? Will you be shaping mouldings? Do you need a hand saw with multiple uses? Will you be cutting metal or pipe? While the options in the hardware store might be bewildering, a few pointers can help you choose the right hand saw for the job. Here are some tips.

Getting a handle on hand saws

Here’s a brief guide to hand saws, to help you pick the right tool for your home repairs:

  • Rip saw: A longer saw, usually about 26 inches long, coming to an angled point. This saw cuts with the wood grain, quickly, leaving a rough edge.
  • Cross cut: A slightly shorter saw (maybe 24 inches) with a wider blade for cutting against the wood grain. This saw cuts less aggressively than a rip saw, but leaves a finer edge.
  • Box saw: Basically a shorter cross cut saw for cutting against the grain, with the advantage of being easily portable.
  • Coping saw: A wide, U-shaped saw with a very thin blade, used mostly for fine woodworking, or for cutting moulding and joints.
  • Back saw: Used mostly for trim and moulding, this saw has a rigid bar along the back of the blade to keep it from kinking, thus making the cuts finer.
  • Hack saw: One of the most recognizable saws, with a thin, fine toothed blade held in a steel frame, used for cutting metal and piping.

Handmade solutions

Power tools have their place in every home repair workshop, and nothing can replace the convenience that they offer. However, hand saws offer the advantage of being easier to control, as they're more portable and more durable than most power saws.

By knowing how to choose a hand saw for the specific needs of your renovation, you can ensure you have the right tools for a job well done.

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