There are many different types of hand saws in use today. And while mechanical or powered saws have made their presence known, hand saws are still quite useful, especially for small jobs. Plus, you do not need any power source other than your muscles to use them.
List of Hand Saws
Here are 20 different types of hand saws and their uses.
1. Rip Cut Saw
This type of saw is used to cut with the wood grain. It has four to seven teeth per inch and is normally 24” or 26” in overall length of the blade.
The rip-cut saw is rather aggressive and leaves behind a somewhat rough edge. This is why they are often used in tearing apart wood for renovation projects or for rough sawing where the wood will be smoothed down later.
2. Crosscut Saw
As the name suggests, this type of saw is used to cut the workpiece across the grain of the wood. This type of saw has a similar blade length as the rip cut but has more teeth with 8 to 11 per inch. The fine teeth leave a smoother edge behind compared to the rip cut.
This is the perfect hand saw for delicate woodworking, often used by carpenters when making precision cuts.
3. Back Saw
It is called the back saw because it has a thick, rigid back that prevents the blade from becoming kinked or distorted. You most often see this saw used for molding, trim, and fine wood cutting.
It is also often used with a miter box to make 45-degree angled cuts. But you can use a back saw without a miter box, and they often last for a long time thanks to the thickness of the back.
4. Coping Saw
This hand saw is distinguished by its thin blade and wide, arcing frame. The coping saw is designed to make intricate cuts at different angles. You mostly see this type of saw used for coping molding joints and making fine wood cutting.
5. Pull Saw
Sometimes called a Japanese Pull Saw, this is a thin saw used for cutting trim, molding, and fine wood cutting. It is called the pull saw because it cuts when you pull the saw towards you. This provides greater overall control and as a result, reduces the possibility that the kerf will become kinked.
6. Dovetail Saw
At first, the dovetail saw may look similar to the back saw because it has a thick, ridge back. But the difference is that the teeth are often smaller. Plus, it uses a different type of handle which makes holding it more like a knife than a traditional saw.
7. Keyhole Saw
If you need to cut curves and circles into the wood, then the keyhole saw is a perfect choice. The thin, pointed blade makes it easy to cut tight circles and holes into the wood with ease.
It does take some practice to use the keyhole saw to perfection, but it does do the job quite well.
8. Compass Saw
This is a larger saw compared to the keyhole saw, but it does essentially the same thing on a somewhat larger scale. The blade is longer and somewhat coarser which means it is designed for thicker wood and making larger curves and holes compared to the keyhole saw.
You often see the compass saw used by plumbers and electricians to cut holes in subflooring to install pipes and wires.
9. Drywall Saw or Jab Saw
At first glance, the drywall saw almost looks like a knife instead of a saw. Its two-directional teeth blade can cut in both directions. It has a sharp tip with a bevel and has coarse teeth designed for cutting gypsum, backing board, and wallboard.
Although it may look like a long knife, it also resembled a compass saw. But do not mistake the two as they are designed for different jobs and materials. One advantage of the drywall saw is how quickly it can cut through sheetrock and similar materials.
The drywall saw is also known as the wallboard saw and jab saw.
10. Hack Saw
One of the more recognizable types of saws, the hacksaw is primarily used for cutting metal. It has thin blades and fine teeth, but they are encompassed in a steel frame.
The blade itself is under tension which adds to its inherent strength. You can change the blade easily by loosening the nut and releasing the blade tension. The hacksaw blades come with different TPI. The lower TPI blade works best for soft materials while a higher TPI (e.g.: 18 TPI) works best for cutting tougher metals. This allows the hacksaw to cut through different thicknesses of metal, plastic, and wood although it may be most often used to cut metal pipes.
11. Door Jamb Saw
The door jamb saw looks similar to a trowel but is designed to create clearance under door jambs and similar obstacles for the floor.
The offset handle to the rear lets the blade cut quite close to the floor for the best results. This allows you to wrap your hand around the handle and create a flat cut across the flooring to make it even, remove obstacles, and the like. There is also a power saw version of jamb saw.
12. Laminate Saw or Floorboard Saw
The somewhat unusual shape of the laminate saw is because the front of the blade has a rounded design so you can create plunge cuts. Plastic pipe and molding are the primary materials that a laminate saw will be used to cut. The handle is set at a higher angle than many other saws, allowing for faster cutting when needed.
13. Bow Saw
The bow saw is named for the distinctive bow shape frame that holds the blade in place. The saw itself is a crosscut saw that is mostly used for cutting logs and pruning branches from trees.
The crosscut teeth design of a bow saw is useful because it pushes the sawdust out of the wood. The small-width blade with large clearance between the frame and blade is well-suited for cutting thick wood and can make straight or curved cuts with little issue.
14. Fret Saw
This type of saw looks similar to a coping saw in its basic shape, but the length of the blade is much shorter and the arc considerably more pronounced. The name ‘fret’ comes from the word fretwork which is the primary type of work that the fret saw cuts.
The accuracy of the saw comes from the fine 32 teeth per inch blade. This means that you can use it like a coping saw to cut fine details accurately. However, it is also a fragile saw, so you need to be careful when using it.
15. Pruning Saw (Folding Saw)
Sometimes called a folding saw because you can fold the blade into the handle, the pruning saw is primarily used to cut twigs and branches from a tree. The saw itself is distinguished by its curved blade design which allows it to access tough to reach branches.
The pruning saw is often alternated with a chainsaw because it can cut smaller branches with ease, leaving the larger, thicker wood for the chainsaw. The pruning saw or folding saw is one of the must-have tools for backpackers who love camping outdoors.
16. Veneer Saw
A double-edge saw with a short, curved blade, the veneer saw is designed to cut plastics, laminates, and hardwood veneer where it gets its name.
The blade itself is only 3” to 4” long, so they are only used in small areas where space is a premium. The sharpness of the fine 13 TPI and the curved shape of the blade allows for clean, fast results.
How to Use the Veneer Saw?
Place the veneer on a wood board. Place a straight edge or a straight wood piece on the cutline. Pull the saw across the veneer with the flat bottom of the saw against the straight edge.
The veneer saw is often teamed with a straight edge to create butt joints, a common feature in matching veneers. This type of handsaw is also very useful for flush trimming tenons and dowels.
17. Bone Saw
As the name implies, you will most often see a bone saw used by a butcher. Although, you may see this type of saw used by hunters for skinning games and cutting up the meat.
The blades themselves are generally short and made along with the handle from stainless steel. The stainless steel does not corrode or oxidize easily which means that it resists rust even under humid conditions.
18. Wire Saw
Saws do not necessarily need blades. The wire saw cuts through the material by using a strong, flexible wire. Here the cutting takes place by abrasion and not by the penetration of cutting teeth.
There are normally handles or grips at each end of the wire which is used mostly to cut tree branches and the like. You toss one end over the branch, then grab both ends and pull each side one at a time. The wire digs into the branch until it is severed. Wire saws are lightweight and easier to carry than most other types of saws.
You can also find diamond-impregnated wire saws that can cut stones, rocks, and concrete. While these are not the fastest way to cut things, sometimes a wire saw is the only option to cut large blocks of rocks in a clean way.
19. Pole Saw
Put simply, a pole saw is a pruning saw that has a longer handle. It is designed to reach branches that are too far away for a typical pruning saw to touch.
The saw itself can be somewhat convoluted to use depending on its length, but it does allow you to prune branches in a tree that are higher up without having to use a ladder.
20. Two-Man Crosscut Saw
Often called a log saw, this is one of the most recognizable and largest manual saws around. This type of crosscut saw can range from a few feet to several feet in length and is most commonly associated with cutting sections of large trees or logs that have already been cut down.
The saw itself comes with a vertical handle at each end. One person pulls the saw while the other keeps it in place, then the other person pulls the saw which forces the blade to go downwards.
Modern machines have done away with many two-man crosscut saws, but they are still used from time to time depending on the situation.
Next: See 15 Types of Power Saw and their uses.
Woodworking professionals and hobbyists may have several hand saws in their collection. You don’t need them all. Buy only the ones that you need. Hand saws can be a great way to begin your woodworking or handyman journey since they are affordable. You can always rent power saws when you need them.
Back to Contents
- List of Hand Saws
- 1. Rip Cut Saw
- 2. Crosscut Saw
- 3. Back Saw
- 4. Coping Saw
- 5. Pull Saw
- 6. Dovetail Saw
- 7. Keyhole Saw
- 8. Compass Saw
- 9. Drywall Saw or Jab Saw
- 10. Hack Saw
- 11. Door Jamb Saw
- 12. Laminate Saw or Floorboard Saw
- 13. Bow Saw
- 14. Fret Saw
- 15. Pruning Saw (Folding Saw)
- 16. Veneer Saw
- 17. Bone Saw
- 18. Wire Saw
- 19. Pole Saw
- 20. Two-Man Crosscut Saw