A saw is a hand-operated tool that has a thin metal blade
or disk with a sharp, usually tooth-edged, used for cutting wood, metal,
or other hard materials. The larger sized saws are operated by steam,
water, electric or other power. The teeth of the saw are each bent to
specific angle called "set". The set of a tooth depends upon
the cut that the saw will make. Different saws have different tooth sets
depending upon their application. In some saws, there is an abrasive
disc or band for cutting, rather than a serrated blade. They are
supposed to be the oldest known hand tools. Innovations made over many
years are still present in modern, mass-produced hand tools.
Parts of a saw
is the front end of the saw. The
is the end near the handle. The portion of the
saw where teeth are found is the front
of the saw.
of the saw is the part opposite the teeth
that faces up in normal use. The nib
is the bump seen
on the back of many saws, near the toe. It serves no purpose and hence
not seen in all saws. The etch
are on the left side of the saw. Medallion
name given to the enlarged face of one of the saw nuts that holds the
handle. This usually depicts the brand name of the manufacturer.
The main material used to make saw blade is tempered, high-grade tool
steel, alloyed with certain other metals, like brass, steel, carbon etc.
Diamond is also used in making saws for the really heavy cutting but
they are expensive and come in two shapes: circular and rope saws.
Diamond saws are made by mixing powder metal with diamond crystals.
These are heated and pressed into a molding to form the diamond
segments. Handles are made of wood, but modern hand saws can also be
made with molded plastic.
Types of hand saw
Handsaws include several types of saws which look more or less same and
are used for cutting of timber from boards and sometimes making larger
joints. We give below a list of various types of hand saws with their
uses and features:
Features of saws
- Rip Saw: A ripsaw has large, chisel shaped teeth, usually
-½ teeth per inch, and is made to cut with the wood grain.
Blade length differs from 24" to 28". Teeth are
cross-filed to assure that the chisel point is set square to the
direction of cutting, for best performance. This saw is best held at
60° angle to the surface of the board being cut. The ripping
action of the saw produces a coarse, ragged cut which makes the saw
unsatisfactory for finish work.
- Cross Cut Saw: Most commonly used crosscut
saws are 10 to 12 point for fine work and 7 or 8 point for
faster cutting. Ten teeth per inch is considered general purpose,
12-point being used for cabinet work. Teeth are shaped like knife
points to crumble out wood between cuts.Best cutting angle for this
saw is about 45°. Blade lengths range from 20" to 28",
26" is most popular.
- Panel: They are smaller in size than a cross cut saw and
used for cutting wood across the wood grain.
- Bow Saw: Bow saws consist of a tubular steel frame and a
saw blade for fast cutting of all woods. The bow saw's frame is
important, since the thin blade, usually ¾" wide, must be
held under high tension for fast cutting. A general purpose saw, it
has the advantage of all-round utility and light weight.
- Coping Saw: Coping saws cut irregular shapes and
intricate patterns. They consist of a saw blade and steel tension
frame. The blade is removable. Blade sizes range from the rotary or
wire type to 1/8" wide. They can make intricate cuts at extreme
- Pull Saw: It gives a good control and eliminate the
chance of the saw kinking in the kerf and particularly used for fine
woodcutting, molding and trim.
- Dovetail Saw: A dovetail saw blade is constructed with
the reinforced ridge found on a backsaw, giving it added rigidity
and greater precision. This saw cuts a true, smooth, narrow kerf. It
has a straight handle for precise, positive grip. Teeth are very
fine for smooth work. Dovetails are used in picture framing, cabinet
work, toy making, etc.
- Keyhole Saw: Keyhole or compass saws cut curved or
straight-sided holes. Saw blades are narrow, tapered nearly to a
point to fit into most spaces. Blades come in three or four styles
that can be changed to fit the job. Turret-head keyhole blades can
be rotated and locked in several positions for easier cutting in
tight, awkward spots.
- Drywall Saw/ Wall board Saw: This saw resembles a kitchen
knife in design. It will cut plasterboard in the same fashion as a
keyhole saw and is used for sawing holes for electric outlets,
switchplates, etc. The saw is self-starting with a sharp point for
plunge cuts. Wallboard or drywall saws may also have induction teeth
for longer life, without sharpening.
- Hacksaw: Specially designed for metal cutting, this type
of saw has very fine teeth and thin blades, held under tension in a
- Veneer saw: Veneer saws are specially designed for sawing
thin materials such as wood paneling. The blade is curved downward
at the end, with cutting teeth on the curved part of the back to saw
slots or grooves in the panel with minimum damage. Standard saw
lengths are about 12"-13", with 14 teeth per inch.
- Rod saw: Rod saws are a form of hacksaw-type blades, used
in regular hacksaw frames and capable of cutting through most hard
materials such as spring and stainless steel, chain, brick, glass
and tile. The blade consists of a permanently bonded tungsten
carbide surface on a steel rod. Since the blade is round, it can cut
in any direction.
- Back Saw: A backsaw is a thick-bladed saw with reinforced
back to provide the rigidity necessary in precision cutting. It
varies in length from 10" to 30" and is found in tooth
counts from seven to 14 teeth per inch.
Some features common in saws are as follows:
- Tempered alloy blades: Lower grade steel quickly loses
sharp edge but is easy to sharpen.
- Rust-resistant or Teflon-S blade finish : Teflon-coated
handsaws reduce many binding and residue build-up problems inherent
to wood cutting. Reduced friction or drag makes for smoother, easier
- Hardwood or sturdy plastic handle.
- Special aluminum or plated-steel nuts and bolts to fasten
blade to handle.
- Taper-ground blades, thicker at the cutting edge, to
prevent binding in the cut.
- Bevel-filed teeth evenly set in two alternate rows, one
row to the right of center, one row to the left; produces a groove
or kerf slightly wider than the thickest part of the blade; prevents
or reduces binding while sawing.