If you are starting up a wood shop or want to do some woodworking in the garage, then you will need a set of saws to do the job. But there are several types of power saws, what is the best saw for cutting wood?
The best saw for depends on the type of work you do (carpentry, DIY, woodworking, contractor, etc.), and your budget.
Which Saw Should I Buy First?
If you are just starting out, a table saw or a circular saw is the first saw you must buy. The table saw is more accurate when compared to a circular saw, but the latter is cheaper. Should you decide to go for a table saw, I strongly recommend you to get a contractor-grade table saw and not the portable job site saw.
In case, you do not have the budget to buy a table saw, I suggest you get a good quality circular saw.
Over the years, there have been several types of saws that have been made for specific cutting tasks. What follows are the seven best types of saws for your woodworking efforts.
Types of Saw for Wood
Here are the 7 most commonly used hand and power saw for wood sawing. Please note that these are wood saw types for woodworking and carpentry work. If you are looking for a saw to cut tree branches, see here.
One of the most familiar of all saws, the hacksaw is a C-shaped device that features thin, interchangeable blades. This makes it a great saw for cutting metal, particularly pipes. However, it can also cut wood quite well. Most hacksaws feature 10” to 12” blades that are held in place by nuts on each end. Some even have larger nuts or fast releases so you can quickly replace the blade.
In addition, there is a tension option that lets you tighten the blade for more accurate cutting. There are several types of blades with different arrangements of teeth that let you cut different thicknesses of material easier.
While made primarily for cutting metal, you can use the hacksaw in a pinch to cut thinner pieces of wood with the right blade attachment.
Carpenter’s Hand Saw
This is another saw for cutting wood that most of us might have seen. While they are not as steady as C-frame hacksaw, this type of saw usually comes with a coarse blade that is perfect for wood sawing.
2. Circular Saw
The circular saw is perfect for cutting straight lines. This means plywood, lumber, rigid foam board, and even concrete depending on the type of blade that you are using. As the name implies, the circular saw consists of a round blade with teeth that are connected to a motor. The blade spins and you move the saw through the lumber. This saw is most popular for framing and you can easily adjust it to saw through different types of thicknesses of wood.
This is the kind of saw you need to cut 2×4, cross-cutting, rip through large boards, DIY work, and more.
The sheer number of blades makes the circular saw one of the most versatile on the market. It can even substitute for a table saw, although it does have its limitation. The blades range from 4 ½” up to 12” or more, although 7 ¼” is the most common size. If you are on the job site, then this is the perfect saw for creating wall studs, rafters, sheathing, and joists.
Some people also refer to this tool as Skilsaw. In fact, Skilsaw is nothing but a circular saw manufactured by the brand SKIL. See our circular saw article to learn more about the versatile power tool.
3. Table Saw
It may be simplistic to say that a table saw is simply a table with an upside-down circular saw in the middle with the blade sticking up. But that is essentially what a table saw is, and the description belies its versatility. The table saw is a mainstay of woodworking because it can cut large sections of wood and make precision cuts with ease.
You simply line up the wood you want to cut using the guide or fence and then push it through. For added safety, you can even use a rod or pusher to keep your hands well away from the blade. What makes the table saw so popular is that you can use it repeatedly to make the same kinds of cuts to create the wood pieces that you want.
The table saw is certainly not portable, but once set up it can perform several cutting jobs. Plus, it takes relatively little effort to push through the wood, so you can complete big jobs relatively quickly.
4. Miter Saw
At first glance, you might think this is a circular saw. It has the familiar round blade with teeth, but unlike the circular saw which moves through the wood, the miter saw is dropped onto the wood that is moved.
This type of saw is perfect for making precision crosscuts, especially for siding strips, molding, or framing. You can even make angled cuts thanks to the adjustable blade. The miter saw offers a heavy base made from steel for extra stability. All you need to do is align the steel guide, position the wood, and drop the saw to make your cut.
While there are safety features, it is recommended that you wear gloves and eye protection while using the miter saw.
- Also See: Miter Saw vs. Table Saw comparison
5. Vertical Band Saw
This is a very popular type of saw that is found in most wood shops. Basically, it has a heavy base and a large motor at the top which runs the blade through. You set up the device and push the wood through the blade.
Because of its size, it is a very stable saw that can perform both straight and curved cutting thanks to the relatively thin blade. The thin kerf also makes the band saw perfect for resawing.
The downside is the band saw takes more care and precision to operate and is easier to get injured if you are not careful. However, for straight and especially curved cutting, the vertical band saw is quite good.
Another popular type of wood saw the jigsaw is a mechanical device that can cut straight lines but is mostly used to cut curves. The saw itself is well-designed and resembles in some ways a flat iron. The base sits on the wood with the blade reciprocating or moving up and down in the front, although it only cuts on the upstroke. You hold the handle at the top and guide the saw to the direction you want to cut.
Because of its design, the jigsaw is one of the safest to use. Plus, you can change out the blades to use on different types of wood. You can purchase reverse blades that cut on the downstroke which are perfect for finished surfaces. And, there are blades available of different widths to help in cutting tight or standard curves.
7. Reciprocating Saw
The reciprocating saw is a mechanical device that is almost always electrically powered. You hold the handle at one end and the interchangeable blade will move back and forth repeatedly in a quick fashion.
This type of saw is perfect for cutting wood quickly and is mainly used for renovation and demolition work. Although this saw is not meant for accurate woodworking cuts, the ability to make plunge cuts make it a very useful tool. It’s also relatively easy to handle and can be powered by batteries which make it even more versatile. About the only downside is reciprocating saws that are powered through electrical cords because they can easily get in the way and be cumbersome to use.
If you are considering creating an item from wood, then having one or more of these saws handy will help you get the job done.