Toolsmith Hand Saw Buying Guide

Who Needs a Hand Saw?

Hand SawWith so many varieties of power saw to choose from, why would anyone buy a plain old-fashioned hand saw? If you have a large amount of cutting to do in a short period of time, a power saw is the obvious choice. But what if you are working on an intricate piece of fretwork where you need precision more than speed, where you don’t want an accidental touch of the trigger to destroy weeks of work? Then you need a tool that doesn’t move unless you push it.

Light and Free – With no heavy batteries or long power cords, hand saws weigh a lot less than power saws. You can use them anywhere you like without worrying about electricity. They only run out of power when you do.

Sharp but Safer – Any saw blade can cut you, but injuries are less likely with a hand saw. Power saw blades move so quickly, they can cause serious damage before you can get them shut off.

Extra Control – Special saws like the coping saw can actually be disassembled to reach tough-to-cut areas. You can saw as fast or as slowly as you like.

Extra Depth – Most power saw blades are less than eight inches long. What if you have a beam a foot wide? No problem for a twenty inch hand saw.

The Metal Specialist: The Hacksaw

HacksawThe hacksaw is the traditional handsaw for cutting metal. It has a sturdy steel frame with a pistol grip handle and a narrow blade with extra hard teeth. Most hacksaws have adjustable frames that accept blades of various sizes by pulling the front part of the frame out as one would a trombone. In some models, you can store extra blades in the hollow top of the frame. Heavy, coarse teeth are best for thicker square or round tubing. Medium, coarse teeth are best for lighter metals and fine teeth are best for very thin metals.



The Curve Master: The Coping Saw

Coping SawCoping saws are preferred by do-it-yourselfers because the saw has the ability to cut both intricate curves and straight cuts. They have a steel frame and a narrow, flexible blade that can be rotated to any angle for cutting small curves in wood. To make an inside cut, the blade can be disconnected from the frame, slipped through a drilled starting hole, then reattached to the saw frame. This allows the coping saw to cut the intricate curves required in fretwork or scrolling applications. This saw can be used in all thicknesses of wood, but is best for pieces of wood less than 1/8 in. thick.



The Plunge Cutter: The Drywall Saw

Drywall SawDrywall saws are a must for anyone installing wallboard. The narrow blade is designed for plunge cutting and the coarse teeth tear through wallboard quickly.  Perfect for making the rough openings required for electrical switches, electrical outlets, heating and air-conditioning duct work, and lighting.





The All Around: The Hand Saw

Hand SawThe hand saw is a general purpose saw. It is used to cut lumber or plywood to size and mix both cross cuts and rip cuts in wood. This is the basic tool for every homeowner. Its teeth have three beveled sides and deep gullets (the spaces between the teeth) that make it easier to clear chips away fast. They provide razor-sharp cutting with a fast, smooth motion. Most carpenters will have anywhere from 1 to 4 hand saws and each saw is a designed for a specific job.





The Branch Cutter: The Bow Saw

Bow SawThe bow saw is critical for clearing brush and pruning trees. This saw is a heavy-duty tool for cutting logs or for coarse sawing of green wood, dry or seasoned wood, or other building materials. The tubular steel frame holds the blade under tension, which can be controlled with the quick release lever. The replaceable blades have pegged teeth and gullets to allow cutting in both directions.

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