If you have a basic toolkit, you probably have a small handsaw. Depending on the types of projects you like to do around your home, you might benefit from having more than one saw. Don’t know the difference between a hacksaw or a miter saw? Our guide to saws will help you decide which saws you must have at home.
You don’t have to be an expert in the wood shop to know what a handsaw is, and for many, that’s where their knowledge of saws stops. There are several different types of saws that work best for a variety of projects from DIY crafts to woodworking.
Whether you’re trying to decide which type of saw to add to your tool collection or you just want to know about the most commonly used saws, our guide to saws will give you all the information you need.
In our guide to saws, we will discuss the most popular types of saws that you might need to use on a project and show you some of the best-selling saws in that category.
The Most Common Types Of Saws And How They’re Used
When was the last time you used a saw? Maybe you were cutting some firewood at your campsite or perhaps you were carefully using a table saw in high school shop class. If you don’t have a lot of experience in woodworking or in construction, you probably think you have little use for a saw.
The good news is you don’t have to be a skilled carpenter or lumberjack to enjoy the benefits of having a saw in your collection of basic tools. As we walk you through our guide to saws, let’s take a look at some of the most common types and how they’re used.
A Note About TPI
Before we get in-depth with all the different types of saws, it’s important to talk a little bit about TPI; this is short for “teeth per inch” and the numbers typically range from 2 to 32. Blades with low TPI numbers cut more quickly but will give you a rough cut and higher TPI numbers have a smoother cut but may take a little more time.
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A traditional handsaw is pretty basic, and if you ever had toy tools as a kid, the saw most likely looked like a traditional handsaw. Even though a handsaw one of the first saws that people think of, but don’t really know how or why it’s still used today, there’s a lot of power in this tool.
Whether you’re cutting some 2 x 4’s or have a woodworking hobby, a handsaw is a “must” and even though it looks relatively easy to use, you need some muscles to move it and make a straight cut. Handsaws are ideal for cutting wood by hand. If you’re looking for a handsaw, you have two options. You can buy the “classic” handsaw or invest in a foldable handsaw. It all depends on what you want to use it for and whether or not you want to take it with you.
- 12-Inch Fixed blade length, 4.375-Inch cutting depth
- Stanley - Black & Decker
- 90-Degree and 180-Degree Adjustable blade angles allowing flush cuts
We see hacksaws used a lot in movies that have a plot involving a heist, a prison, or some criminal activity. If you own a hacksaw, you don’t have to participate in larger than life hijinks to use the saw; its primary purpose is for cutting metal, like pipes; some people use their hacksaws for cutting plastic.
A hacksaw is C-shaped, and the blades are available in a variety of TPI. What’s particularly nice about a hacksaw is the ability to change out the blades without too much trouble. Hacksaws have a tension nut which helps you control the ease of the sawing motion.
When shopping for a hacksaw, it’s best to look for one that as a solid handle that’s easy to grip and might even come with extra blades (as it can save you an extra trip to the hardware store).
A jigsaw, which is often also known as a reciprocating saw, is a favorite saw for people who love to do crafts with wood or other DIY projects. Many people enjoy using jigsaws because they are relatively easy to use and are known as one of the more safer saws.
Jigsaws are primarily used for cutting curves in wood, and the flat base (also known as the “shoe”) rests flat on the wood as you cut. This gives you some guidance, control, and protection. There are a variety of blades, and it’s good to have a few different ones on hand (depending on your project).
When looking for a jigsaw, consider one that has varying speeds, is a cordless option, and comes with a carrying case.
- Item may ship in more than one box and may arrive separately
- Powerful 12.0 AMP motor for optimum performance in a wide variety of materials
- Precision accurate cutting delivers a splinter free mirror finish
A circular saw might be a little intimidating if you’re new to the world of saws, but once you learn how to use it (and use it confidently), you’ll be glad you added it to your collection. A circular saw can cut straight lines in all kinds of material from plywood to concrete (assuming you have the right blade).
Many people use a circular saw as a substitute for a table saw because it’s more portable. The saw, which is a circular blade, is encased for your safety and do a great job of making smooth and quick cuts.
There are plenty of high-quality circular saws on the market, but consider buying one that has a guide rail to ensure a better cut.
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If you make a lot of frames or want a good saw that cuts precise corners, a miter saw is a must-have. In many ways, a miter saw may remind you of a circular saw, but the saw is stationary, and you make cuts by pulling the blade down on to the wood. This saw is more versatile than many people give it credit for; it may only be a matter of time before one for your collection.
If you don’t think that you will use a miter saw all that often, you can get buy with a small and affordable one; these are typically 10-inch saws.
- High-performance 3.8 Amp motor for the most demanding applications
- Quick-Lock for tool-less and secure accessory changes
- Quick-Boost - maintains constant speed throughout toughest applications and materials
You may be familiar with an oscillating saw as the same type of saw that some surgeons use for cutting bone. While it is a powerful tool, it’s versatile and performs well in a variety of projects (particularly those where there’s not room to move around or if you’re working on something small).
For even more versatility and portability, look for an oscillating saw with various attachments and cordless capabilities.
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- 12-Inch Oregon bar and chain, perfect for cutting branches and limbs with ease
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While a traditional handsaw does a fine job of cutting small branches, a chainsaw can make quick and light work of fallen trees and thicker limbs or trunks. When you’re shopping around for chainsaws, you can browse by the guide bar, which ranges from 14 to 36 inches long.
The shorter bars are ideal for yard projects, and longer bars are better suited for people with extensive knowledge and experience with cutting trees (i.e., lumberjacks). You can also find gas powered and electric chainsaws.
Caring For Your Saws
An essential part of owning a variety of saws is to ensure that you take care of them. Everyone has seen an old and rusty hand saw, and if you’ve ever tried to use it you know, it’s difficult. It’s best to keep your saws dry. This means that you should wipe off any moisture after using them and store them in a dry place. If your saw comes with a storage case or a cover; use them.
Another way to keep your blades in good shape is by using a little WD-40. Have some rust starting to show on a blade? Gently scrape it off with a razor blade.
Sharpening your saw blade is a must if you want to continue to use it for years to come. Check out these sharpening tips to help you get started; you can also go to your local hardware or home improvement store to see if they offer sharpening services.
Safety Tips To Consider When Using Any Type of Saw
Whether you’re using a handsaw, chainsaw, or circular saw, there’s always the risk of being injured. Even people with lots of experience using saws are at risk of getting hurt. The best way to avoid injury is to wear safety glasses, wear clothing that won’t get caught in the saw or in the way, and always pay attention to what you’re doing.
Never operate a saw when you’re sleep-deprived or under the influence of drugs or alcohol; drowsy or drunk sawing is simply a recipe for disaster.
Keeping your area clean can also make it easier to see where you should make a cut and keep conversation to a minimum while you’re using a saw so that you can concentrate better. When you buy a saw, read the instructional manual, and it might even help to watch some “how-to” videos online just to make sure you know how to use it properly.