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How to saw by hand correctly and safely

Skill Level: Beginner


For anyone who can learn the basics of using a few of the most common hand and do-it-yourself tools, there are many jobs around the home and garden you can tackle yourself. On many occasions it’s just a matter of using the right tools, and using them safely and correctly.


A saw for most jobs

Sawing wood is a case in point! Sawing wood is one of the most basic and often used skills you will need. Whatever you are doing – from cutting fine and intricate detail to furniture, to sawing a rough hewn plank to size, there is a saw to suit the job, and they’re all basically the same…use one correctly, and you can master them all. To a certain degree of competence.

We tend to take wood for granted in a way, but in fact the type of saw we should use depends upon the type of wood we are cutting and the task in hand. Some saws are designed for specific uses. The choice is quite large, so lets look at the subject in a bit more depth.


How a saw works

Basically, when you saw into wood you are scoring a groove into the wood…the more you move the saw back and forth, the deeper the groove becomes. As it is cutting, the wood fibre removed, making this groove is pushed up the blade, and falls gently to ground in the form of saw-dust. The width of the groove, or cut, is called the kerf.

Each alternate tooth on the blade is bent out in opposite directions, and is called the set of the blade: it ensures the saw blade cuts easily without clogging. The set also allows you to adjust your cut line whilst working, as it makes the sawcut a little wider than the width of the actual blade.


The teeth of a saw

Both the size and shape of the teeth determines the suitability of the saw for different purposes. In the UK saw tooth sizes are measured according to the number of teeth per square inch (25.4mm)


The more teeth a saw have, the finer the cut. For example; a saw with 16 teeth per unit of measurement, will cut finer than a saw with only 12 teeth per unit. If you were cutting a 100mmx100mm garden post…you wouldn’t use a fine toothed saw; it would clog easily, and jam…and it would take an age to complete the cut


Types of hand-saw

For most jobs around the home and garden, a straight cut through wood is all that’s required, and can be done quite easily with ether a panel saw, or a backed saw.

There several types of hand-saw on the market, but for most general purpose jobs a plain carpenter’s panel saw will fit the bill. This saw has a thin flexible blade that is un-backed, and is ideal for sawing through large panels, boards, and general purpose timber.


Dovetail and tenon saws

Dovetail and tenon saws are generally fine toothed saws with a rigid backing, used for fine detail work on smaller section wood.

The Fret saw is a framed saw that has a deep frame to allow cutting of larger boards.
The Pad saw is a saw that will be used where a framed saw cannot reach, to make holes or cut-outs in large surface area boards. This saw is often called a keyhole saw.
The crosscut saw is a handsaw designed for cutting boards to length across the natural grain of the wood, more often the tougher hardwoods. The teeth of this saw are knife like, and leave a rough finish. More heavy duty than most, and often used by those in the construction industry.


The Rip saw


The Rip saw is a hand saw used for cutting wood as quickly as possible down the length of the wood grain…a bit of a beast, this saw is best in the hands of those who are a bit more experienced. With practice, however, its easily mastered.
The hack saw is usually a bow framed saw made of metal, with a narrow, hardened steel blade of very fine cut and set. Used for cutting most metallic objects around the home, these saws are easy to use, with blades easy to adjust and replace.


Safety First!

Perhaps the most important aspect of cutting wood by hand ( or by any means for that matter) is safety…

First, we must make sure the saw we use is in a safe condition. This means the overall condition, including;
Is it still “solid” a cracked or loose handle or frame can cause slippage, can snap during cutting…you may falter, and become unstable…serious injury can result?
Make sure the cutting blade is sharp! If not, it will be harder work; you will tend to exert yourself more, become tense, another chance for lack of control.
Wear eye protection at all times, and hand protection if possible.
Don’t try cutting wood when balanced up a height, or where your footing is unstable.
Finally, take your time…don’t try and rush things; with the right saw, the blade will do the work.


Tools you will need:
Am-Tech Junior Hacksaw
Am-Tech Junior Hacksaw
- Pack of 2 Rolson Wall Plasterboard Saw
Pack of 2 Rolson Wall Plasterboard Saw

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