Hacksaws are a staple on DYI toolkits the world over. These saws come in various shapes and sizes, each meant for a specific application.
This article unpacks the most common types of hacksaw and their applications.
- According to the size of the frame and blade, there are 3 variants of the traditional hacksaw.
- There at least 4 woodworking saws based on the working and design of the hacksaw.
- Finally, the electric power hacksaw is a motorized heavy-duty metal cutting saw.
Different Types of Hacksaws & Their Uses
The hacksaw is a versatile variation of the traditional hand saw. It is easily recognizable by a tensioned blade fitting in its D-shaped adjustable frame.
There are various kinds of hacksaws depending on the size and frame design. We’ve rounded up the most common ones below.
1. Standard Hacksaw
The standard hacksaw which is also known as the full-sized hacksaw usually has a 12-inch blade fixed on a D-shaped frame.
These workhorses are compatible with various blade types, including the 12, 18, 24, and 32 TPI (teeth per inch). The standard hacksaw can cut metal, plastic, wood, rubber, etc. You just need the right type of blade for the job.
Related Info: See the 12 Unique Uses of Hacksaw
What are the 2 types of hacksaw? The standard hacksaws have two variations:
- Fixed frame and
- Adjustable frame.
Fixed frame hacksaws have a rigid frame that can only accommodate one blade size. The frame is typically made from a single piece of tubular metal, bent into the characteristic D-shape.
These hacksaws have a pistol-type handle or straight handle, no other variations.
Adjustable Frame Hacksaw
Adjustable frame hacksaws can accommodate various blade sizes since the frame length can adjust as needed. This frame comes in two parts: a rigid portion acting as a sleeve and an adjustable portion sliding in and out of the sleeve. The sleeve portion has a series of pins and grooves to accommodate the adjustments.
This type of hacksaw can have various handle types, including the straight handle, pistol-type handle, and tubular handle.
2. Junior Hacksaw
The junior hacksaw has a 6” blade and is a smaller version of the standard hacksaw. It is commonly used to cut through metals and plastic tubing, just like its larger counterpart.
Above image shows the different types of grips and frame designs of junior hacks.
Since the blade is far shorter than the standard hacksaw, the junior hacksaw can be used for far more precise cutting and work in confined spaces. It also offers a neater finish than the standard version. This hacksaw can cut thinner metal and plastic that would typically be torn apart when attempting to cut it using the standard hacksaw.
Since the junior hacksaw has smaller teeth than the standard version, it allows for a far slower cutting process. Here, less material is removed per stroke, allowing greater control over the cutting process, but the material removal rate is slower.
03. Mini Hacksaw
The mini hacksaw is a compact handy tool in situations where you need to make a cut flush with the surface or work in highly confined spaces.
If needed, you can even turn the blade around, allowing you to cut backward. You can use various blade sizes and fineness here, making this a highly versatile version of the humble hacksaw.
04. Power Hacksaw
The power hacksaw is meant for cutting thick sections such as bar stock that would be time-consuming or too exhausting to do by hand. Here, a heavy, mechanized arm moves forward and backward in an oscillating movement, cutting on the backward stroke.
To effectively and safely use this powered version of the hacksaw, the workpiece is clamped in a vice integral to the machine’s base. The reciprocating power hacksaw blade mounted on a large frame is connected to a swing arm and is brought onto the workpiece allowing for quick, smooth cutting.
Although a powerful tool, the power hacksaws are rapidly getting replaced by the more efficient horizontal bandsaws.
For more info: See the power hacksaw vs. band saw comparison
Woodworking Hand Saws Similar to Hacksaw
Many handsaws are similar to the hacksaw, the two most prominent being the fret saw and coping saw.
05. Bow Saw
The bow saw is the wood-cutting version of the hacksaw. This bow blade is larger than the standard hacksaw, measuring a length of 21” or 24”. You can even find the bow saw in 30” length.
Here, the frame is more rounded than the characteristic D-shape, forming a bow. Since it is meant for wood, the blade is coarser with fewer TPI (teeth per inch) than the standard hacksaw.
06. Fret Saw
The fret saw is used for intricate cutting that includes tight curves. It works similar to the hacksaw but it has a smaller blade, and the frame has an elongated D-shape.
Meant for delicate work on wood, metal, and plastic, the fret saw allows for slow, precise cutting. The thin blade is delicate, and even slight straining during cutting can snap it.
07. Coping Saw
The coping saw is similar to the fret saw but meant for woodwork and carpentry. It has a fine, delicate blade mounted in a square frame, similar to a hacksaw.
While it can’t cut as delicately as the fret saw, it works well in most applications. Coping saw is often used for cutting trim molding and wood joints because it has more cutting capacity than a Fret saw, yet is able to cut tight corners.