Whenever you’re working on a do-it-yourself project, you’re only as good as your tools. Due to this, if you need to cut anything you’ll need to select the right saw for the work. There are several saw options out there, and you’ll need to know what these different saws are used for. This way, if you need to invest in a new saw or need a new saw for a specific purpose, you will need to know what these different types of saws can do.
Types of Saws: Traditional Handsaw
A traditional handsaw is one of the types of saws used in woodworking. This kind of saw is also sometimes known as a panel saw, as it is designed to cut individual wood pieces into varying shapes. Typically, these saws are used to shape planks in order to fit different pieces of wood together.
History of the Handsaw
Whether looking at ancient Japan, ancient Egypt, or anywhere else in the world, nearly every culture or civilization has had a variation of the handsaw, all with similar shapes. The blade of the saw will vary based on the time period for when the saw was made, and some will have slightly smoother blades, but in most instances, the blades are made up of pointed teeth in order to grip into wood and cut.
Traditional handsaws are not as frequently used now as other types of saws since the creation of power tools. As handsaws are designed to cut individual pieces of wood, most of what a handsaw can do is replaceable with a circular saw or jigsaw. With that said, for those individuals who enjoy working with their hands and want a more intimate experience with the piece of wood, there isn’t anything like the physical feel of cutting through wood with a traditional handsaw.
Of all the types of saws, the handsaw is the most disposable. While the metal itself isn’t designed to be disposable when the blade goes dull, there is no sharpening it. The blade is dull and the teeth are flat, so there is no correcting it. This is one reason why power tools are now more desirable in many instances. This is because instead of trading out the entire device, only the blade needs to be replaced, which is often cheaper than buying a brand new handsaw.
Types of Saws: Hacksaw
A hacksaw, like the traditional handsaw, is one of the types of saws used by hand. However, unlike the handsaw, the hacksaw has a replaceable blade that can be removed and replaced once it goes dull. The hacksaw has a handle and a top piece of metal that curves up, extends out by around 12 inches, and then comes back down so it is even with the handle. A blade is then fitted, so it runs from the end of the curve from the handle. The blade is then tightened down and secured to the saw.
With a hacksaw, the device uses what is referred to as a pistol grip, as it is similar to holding the handle of a pistol. This is in contrast to a handsaw, where the hand curves down toward the blade.
Use of the Hacksaw
The hacksaw is one of the types of saws used for cutting metal. It can be helpful for cutting into metal pipes or PVC as well. It is lightweight and the blade is thin since it doesn’t need to cut through thick pieces of wood. A bone saw is the wood cutting equivalent of the hacksaw. Because the hacksaw blade is working on metal, it usually will dull faster than other blades. However, as the blade is disposable, it can be restored easily without buying a brand new saw.
Types of Saws: Coping Saw
A coping saw is a version of a bow saw. This kind of a saw is designed to make more intricate cuts into wood that is not possible with a larger, bulkier saw. This saw has a circular grip that is held like a screwdriver, and it has a very wide “C” design that holds the replaceable blade. The blade uses smaller teeth to cut, so it is not going to be used to cut off large pieces of wood, but instead is used for design features. It may also be used to create coped in the wood instead of miter joints.
The wide “C” design of the saw also makes it possible to steady the cut by using the off hand on the top of the “C.” In fact, some coping saws have a handle, or at the very least a grip, installed here to provide this kind of assistance. As the blade is replaceable, it is possible to alter the cut of blade inserted into the saw. This way, there is more control over how smooth or rough the cut is.
Types of Saws: Miter Saw
A miter saw is an electrical saw used to create accurate cuts and angles in wood. The overall design of the miter saw is a circular saw built into a table mount. The circular blade maintains a steady cut for excellent cutting precision. The blade can also be replaced, so when it becomes dull the entire saw does not need to be exchanged. Additionally, there are different kinds of blades available for different projects. Miter saws also go by a number of secondary names, including a chop saw and a drop saw.
Miter Saw Variants
There are a number of variations of the miter saw. There is the original miter box saw, which cuts angles at 90 and 45 degrees. It is possible to use a coping saw and a miter box to make these cuts for smaller projects when an electric saw is too expensive.
There is also a compound miter saw, which allows the blade to rotate to different angles other than 90 degrees. A dual compound miter saw lets the saw head rotate when angled, which is desirable for decorative cutting. There is also a sliding compound miter saw where the saw head can move back and forth on a sliding rail. Finally, you can also get a laser miter saw, where the cut is laser guided.
Types of Saws: Jigsaw
The jigsaw is a handheld, portable saw that is around the same size of a power drill. It uses an electric motor to pull a saw blade up and down quickly. The saw is held against the cutting surface, similar to how a nail-gun might be used. The blade is positioned away from the user, and when the trigger is pulled, the saw can be guided to follow the blade. The jigsaw is also referred to as a scroll saw, a bayonet saw, and a saber saw.
History of the Jigsaw
The jigsaw first came about right at the tail end of World War II, when Albert Kaufmann created the first jigsaw. In fact, he actually took his wife’s sewing machine, took out the needle, and replaced it with a saw blade. He started to sell the device using the name Lesto Jigsaw the following year, and then the product was purchased by the Bosch company.
The saw blades on this device are relatively weak. Because the blades move quickly and are on the smaller side, the blades dull and wear out quickly. Due to this, it is usually necessary to have replacement blades on hand before starting a project. Thankfully, these blades are inexpensive and can be replaced easily.
Types of Saws: Chainsaw
The chainsaw is a portable saw that uses cuts through wood using a series of teeth over an extended blade. A rotating chain connects over the teeth and is pulled by a motor within the chainsaw. The chainsaw is not used for precision work. In fact, it generally is not used in any kind of woodworking or construction jobs. A chainsaw is made to cut through thick wood quickly. It is desirable when it comes to cutting firewood, as it is faster and easier to use than an axe.
History of the Chainsaw
It might surprise some that the chainsaw, at least a version of it, has been around since the 1830s. The very first chainsaw was designed to cut bone. It used a hand crank and a chain that ran over a device not much larger than a fat screwdriver. Eventually, electric and gas powered chainsaws were made.
The first utilization of these power chainsaws begin in the 1920s but then fully took off during the Second World War. The German army used chainsaws throughout North Africa, although production slowed as the war went on and attention shifted away from North Africa. It is now a widely available power tool.
Before you go out and invest in any new DIY equipment, you need to know what each of the types of saws is able to do for you. This is true with regards to your types of saws. There are all kinds of saws out there, many of which are designed for specific purposes. Now that you know what the difference is between a traditional handsaw, a miter saw and a chainsaw, you’ll be able to go out and purchase with confidence knowing you’ll buy a saw that is right for the project and your unique needs.