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Hand Saw Buying Guide

Task Force Hand Saws

Handsaws are pretty specialized tools. Get the right one for your project.


Types of Saws

Rip
  • Use for woodcutting with the wood grain
  • Usually 24 inches to 26 inches long with 4 to 7 teeth per inch (TPI)
  • Cut very aggressively and leave slightly rough edge
rip saw
Cross-
Cut
  • Use for woodcutting across the wood grain
  • Usually 24 inches to 26 inches long with 8 to 11 TPI
  • Doesn't cut as aggressively as rip saws but leaves a much smoother edge
cross cut saw
Panel
(Short Cut or
Box Saw)
  • Use for woodcutting across the wood grain
  • Usually shorter than regular cross cut saws, for easy portability
panel saw
Bow
  • Use for woodcutting and pruning in any direction
  • Has a tubular steel frame with a ribbon-like, high-tension steel blade
bow saw
Coping
  • Use for fine woodcutting, coping moulding joints
  • Has deep steel tension frames and very thin blades to make intricate cuts at extreme angles
coping saw
Back
  • Use for fine woodcutting, moulding and trim
  • Has a rigid piece along the back to prevent the saw from kinking during use
back saw
Pull
  • Use for fine woodcutting, moulding and trim
  • Cuts on the pull stroke to give greater control and eliminates the possibility of the saw kinking in the kerf
pull saw
Dovetail
  • Use for wood joint cutting
  • Has rigid backs like backsaws, but are usually smaller and have finer teeth
dovetail saw
Keyhole
  • Use for circle and curve cutting in wood
  • Has very thin, pointed blades for cutting small, tight radius curves and holes
keyhome saw
Compass
  • Use for circle and curve cutting in wood
  • Has longer, coarser blades than keyhole saws
  • Designed for slightly heavier work, like cutting holes in subflooring for plumbing or electrical wiring
compass saw
Drywall
  • Use for cutting wallboard, gypsum and backing board
  • Resembles compass saws but has coarser teeth for cutting through wallboard quickly
drywall saw
Hacksaw
  • Use for metal cutting
  • Has very fine teeth and thin blades, held under tension in a steel frame
hacksaw
Door
Jamb
  • Used to cut door jambs and other obstacles to allow for flooring to fit underneath
door jamb saw
Laminate
  • Ideal for moulding and plastic pipe.
  • Rounded blade on front for starting plunge cuts
laminate saw

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