Adultness means that you have to deal with all types of new tasks, including decomposition of materials for projects or decontamination. If you use the right saw, you can work faster. With these saws in your workshop, no project will slow you down.
Most of us know how a saw works ̵1; you move the blade back and forth over the material and either pull or push the blow through it. Different types of saws look similar, so you can assume a hacksaw, a hacksaw and a jigsaw can all perform the same task equally well.
But it could not be further from the truth. The character of a blade often makes a big difference in the type of material it can cut through and when to use it.
If you are trying to cut a metal pipe or tree limb with a standard cross-cut handsaw, either destroy the blade or the saw until your arm is about to fall off – probably both.
Having the right saw for the job has a huge impact on your workflow. Given this, there are five saws that everyone should own.
Workhorses: cross sections and ripsaws
When you think of a handsaw, you probably imagine a western cross-cut saw. These are available in two styles: crosscut and rip cut. The difference is in which direction you want to see the board.
Usually when you buy a board from a box store, the wood is longer than it is wide. You cross the cut to shorten the board and rip the insert to narrow it.
Imagine a board made up of stacked toothpicks. A cross section will cut the toothpicks in half, while a rip cut will divide them into two bundles with whole toothpicks. Crossed teeth slice through the wood grain and rip clipped teeth separate it when cut. Technically, you can use either blade for any job, but you will not get clean results and it will require more effort.
Since you can generally buy a board as wide as you need, you can probably get away with owning just one cross saw. But it is practical if you have both – especially if you want to reuse leftover wood from previous projects. We have some recommendations to get you started.
The manufacturers design modern western hand saws to be disposable. When your teeth are dull or broken, you get rid of it and buy a new one – but they should be for several years. This cheap IRWIN Marathon crosscut saw gets the job done. It gives you rough cuts that you need to grind and clean up. And like all western saws, it requires a lot of pressure with the elbow and shoulder.
The Japanese Ryoba saw looks very different from the more recognizable western saw, but it has several advantages. First, there are two saws in one: one side is a ripcut, and the other is a crosscut. Second, the blade is thin, so you drop less material when you saw. Third, pull instead of driving this saw. This means that you use your whole body to saw: arms, shoulders, back, core and legs.
It is also much more ergonomic than a western saw. There is a learning curve, but the results you get from a Ryoba saw are finer and require less grinding and decontamination. Best of all, the blade is interchangeable – you only need to buy the handle once.
Crosscut and Ripcut in One
Best for fresh wood: hacksaws
If you have trees on your property or go camping often, you will probably cut down on some fresh (or green) firewood at some point. You may be tempted to grab your practical jigsaw and go to town, but not. Green wood is full of moisture, which means that your handsaw binds and sticks. You work harder to saw the limb and eventually tire or damage your teeth.
Bow saws are better suited for the job, provided you use blades designed for green wood. The thin blade is kept under tension so that the wood does not pinch your saw.
Unlike ordinary leaves, which look like a row of toothed teeth, green wooden leaves have curves, channels and valleys. These allow the moisture in the tree to escape, so that the leaf does not bind. The shape of the frame helps you see through a limb or log.
The cheap hacksaw Black & Decker will do the job. At 21 inches, it is large enough for most average tasks, such as cutting tree limbs. But it only comes with a green wood leaf – if you want dry wood alternatives, you need to find compatible leaves.
For the basics
Bahco hacksaw offers everything Black & Decker does and more. The 30-inch blade helps with larger tasks, such as cutting wood. You can also buy it with a dry wooden leaf (or just buy the dry wooden leaf and replace) if you want to work on large, thick, dry wooden projects.
A versatile arc saw
For delicate work and complicated joints: jigsaws
Most of the saws on this list are large and heavy. They get the job done quickly but are not necessarily accurate. Nor do they create a beautiful cut. Cutting saws are different.
At first glance, they look like a small jigsaw, and that’s because they work with similar principles. The handle holds an extremely thin blade at tension, which means that this saw can do something others cannot: it twists.
With a jigsaw you can do more creative things, like cutting a heart in a chair, but you can also adjust a fault collection. This is very helpful when you are doing something like putting up crown molding or replacing floor fittings.
Most homes are not square and it only gets worse with age. If you try to hit two boards in the corner of a room, you may find that they are not flush. With a jigsaw you can adjust the fit until you have an excellent, tight seal. This is called a handling joint, and this is how this saw got its name. With the right blade, you can cut through wood, plastic or metal.
Olson Coping’s main selling point was its price. If you do not need a jigsaw daily, you should not spend too much on one. Even blade replacements are cheap. Just keep in mind that the handle is not very ergonomic, so you may find it painful to use for extended periods.
A saw that gets the job done
On the other hand, if you are dealing with many projects that require sensitive work, it may be worthwhile to go up to Smithline. The rubberized handle feels better in your hands and it is easier to replace the knives. The thicker steel that creates the tension is also more durable than on the Olson Coping saw.
Good for the long haul
For metal and plastic: Hacksaw
If you think a hacksaw looks like a smaller hacksaw, you’re right. Hacksaws use the same blade-under-tension principle as hacksaws and chainsaws. But hacksaws fall in the middle when it comes to size, and you use them to cut metal or plastic.
You can try to shorten a metal vessel with your bow or cross-saw, but you only destroy the blade. It requires a complete redesign of the saw teeth to cut through metal. If you look closely at an arcuate blade, you will see that the teeth make a wave formation. When you need to cut some kind of metal or hose, it’s time to break out your hacksaw.
The Milwaukee Compact Hack Saw is perfect for small jobs. If you need to cut brass rods, or even a screw or bolt, this little guy will do the job. When you tear the blade, you can replace it without having to buy a brand new saw. You do not even need tools to replace the blade. And the rubber grip should keep your hand comfortable.
For small jobs
But if you need to cut something bigger than a bolt, this is where Lightdot comes in. It is large enough to take on PVC pipes, and you can angle the blade for 45-degree cutting. And bonus: you can store your extra blades in the handle.
For larger jobs
Miter saws have the angle of your next cut
A miter saw (miter outside the USA) primarily cuts a 45-degree angle in a wooden board. If you set up two boards with a cutting edge, you get a 90-degree turn. Photo frames, drawers or something square or rectangular often use cuts, so you may need a twig saw more often than you think.
You can either buy a safe and hand saw – which gives you an exact 45- and 90-degree cut – or you can buy a driving midsaw. When it comes to power tools, miter saws are one of the safer options, and in general you should use one of them instead of a table saw whenever possible.
A driving miter saw can cut at angles that the center wires do not offer, and they are fast. But a miter box and saw is much cheaper. They are also gentler on the material and give you a cleaner edge, so that option may be better for more sensitive jobs.
If you do not cut the cast joints often, you do not need to spend a bundle on a miter saw. With a miter box you can cut clean 45-degree angles (on each side). The box also helps with 90-degree (straight) inserts. This Greatneck box comes with a saw, but you can use your own if it’s nicer (and it probably is).
The base box and the saw
Metabo is the new name of Hitachi, and they have been making reliable power tools for several years. This powered miter saw has a 10-inch blade that fits most people. It also has a folded-out fence for longer pieces of wood and a clamp to secure the material.
A great budget driven saw
If you need to cut slightly larger than 10 inches, DEWALT sliding saws will do the trick. Not only does it have a 12-inch blade, but you can also pull it towards you and then push back to cut 16 inches into the material. Like Metabo, you get a folded fence, and even if it does not come with a clamp, you can use your own to secure the wood. DEWALT also turns left, right and tilts.
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