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Types of Hand Saws

Abhijit Naik Nov 23, 2018
One of the most important tools of carpentry, the saw has been in use since ages. Today, different types of hand saws are used in various industries as well as households.
A hand saw is a carpentry tool, sporting a sharp-toothed blade, most often used for cutting wood. The blade is made of a strong metal and has a sharp edge which facilitates easy cutting of the relatively soft wood.
While a mechanical saw is powered by a motor which rotates to move the blade, a hand saw requires manual efforts.

Different Types of Hand Saws

Back Saw

The back saw sports a stiffening edge on its opposite side, which is used for cutting. The mechanism gives a better control of the tool and thus, facilitates precision in cutting. It is most often used for woodworking, such as cabinetry, which requires accuracy.
The spacing between the teeth in this saw is very less. A major drawback of the back saw is that the stiffener, being thicker than the blade, limits the depth till which the saw can cut. Some sub-types of back saw are tenon saws, dovetail saws, and gent's saw.
While tenon and dovetail saws sport a pistol-styled handle―either open or closed at the bottom, the gent's saw features a thin turned handle located parallel to the blade.

Compass Saw

The compass saw, also referred to as the fret saw, is a narrow-bladed saw, most often used to cut tight curves. This saw can facilitate wood cutting in a relatively less radii, with a greater accuracy.
The design of this saw appears to be quite out of proportion, owing to the depth of its frame and comparatively short blade. As the blade used in this saw is very fine, it can cut sharp corners with ease. The only drawback of the compass saw is the fragility of its blade.

Crosscut Saws

Crosscut refers to a horizontal cut, made through the trunk of a standing tree. The crosscut saw is used to make such cuts in standing trees and free lumber. This saw features teeth specially designed to cut the wood at right angle. 
As the cutting edge of these teeth is angled back, each tooth slices through the wood like a knife edge. Some saws sport alternating patterns of teeth, which help in scraping out the cut strips of wood. Bucking saw, which is used to cut felled trees, and felling saw, used to cut down standing trees, are two sub-types of crosscut saws.


The hacksaw is a saw featuring a fine-toothed blade set under tension in a frame. Other than wood, this powerful saw is often used to cut metals, such as aluminum and copper. This saw sports a pistol grip and pins at the ends to attach a narrow blade.
A screw is used in order to put this narrow blade under tension. This disposable blade can be either fixed facing towards or facing away from the handle, depending on which the cutting action is determined on pull or push stroke.

Rip Saws

The rip saw is specially designed to make rip cuts, i.e., a cut parallel to the direction of the grain of the material on which you are working―most often wood. Each tooth of the rip saw has a flat edge on the front side. 
Due to this each tooth behaves like a chisel, preventing the tool from following grain lines and facilitating straight cuts. Most of these saws are designed to cut when the saw is pushed, but some saws work the other way round―cutting when pulled back.
Hand saws are prominently used in fields such as forestry, construction, and medicine. These tools have become important components of wood cutting industry, such that imagining these industries without this useful tool is very difficult.