The Most Common Saws and Their Uses.

In this article we present the most common saws used in DIY. The're are well over 30 types of saw but we narrowed the list down to the ones a homeowner or amateur woodworker might actually need. 

Hand tools

Hand tools, as the name suggests, are tools you use with your hands. As opposed to power tools which are electrically powered.

Hand tools are often viewed as more boring and time consuming than their electric counterpart. But I personally have used hand tools exclusively for a surprisingly long time. Hand tools make significantly less dust than power tools, and if you are building your projects in a tiny apartment like I did then, it is a important factor to take into account (in general the higher the power, the more dust you will get). It is also a different feeling. While it does take more time than with power tools, I find it provides a deeper experience. It is a great way to understand the job better before moving up to a powerful machine.

Hand saw

This is the ultimate saw. It dates back to the Bronze Age (3.000 BC). It is used to cut across the grain (crosscut).

Rip saw

A rip saw and a hand saw look very similar but are used differently. The rip saw is for ripping the wood, which means cutting wood lengthwise with the grain.

How to tell a rip saw from a hand saw? The rip saw has less teeth per inches (TPI), an average of 5 TPI versus 12 for a hand saw.

Back saw

On a back saw the top edge is reinforced which make the blade easier to steer. The back saw offers more control and is therefore more precise.

 

Japanese saw

The Japanese saw (or Nokogiri) cuts on the pull stroke instead of all the European saws mentioned previously which cut on the push stroke. The advantage of this technic are that the tension keeps the blade straight, allowing for a more precise cut.

Coping saw

The coping saw is a thin blade tensioned in a C-shaped frame. It is used to cut curve lines and circles.

Hack saw

The hack saw is, like the coping saw, a thin blade tensioned in a C-shaped frame. Except the C is less deep and the blade has different property. It is made for cutting metal, aluminium or plastic. It is actually more comparable to a back saw for metal in that sense.

 

Power Tools

Power tools are often an investment but they do make the job easier and faster.

 

Jigsaw

A jigsaw has a small blade that moves up and down. It allows to move blade to move freely in any chosen direction, making it especially useful for cutting curves and circles. In addition, a jigsaw in an experienced hand can make almost any type of cuts.

You can set up various type of blades: fine or rough cuts on woods, metal, plastic.

Band saw

The band saw is a stationary version of a jigsaw, or you might say an electric coping saw. A long sharp blade is stretch between two wheels. The width of the blade allows to cut very fine curves with minimum kerf (waste).

 

Circular saw

A circular saw has a circular blade, cutting on the way down as it spins. It is great to make cross and rip cuts. It is a great and fast way to make rough cuts. For precise cuts it is advised to set up a track along which the saw can slide.

The circular saw is the basis for all the tools that follow. They are basically a sophisticated variation of a circular saw, focusing on one specific use.

Miter saw

It is a circular saw on a stationary platform. The saw can move at different angles which allows you to very precise cross cut at any angle you like.

Table saw

It is basically a circular saw attached under a table. It is one of the most powerful woodworking machine. Instead of moving a circular saw along the wood, you are feeding the wood to the table.

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Panel saw

This is the one you see at the hardware store. It is a big machine used to cut panels to size. Imagine resting a panel on the wall having a circular saw sliding up and down to make the cuts.