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Choosing the Right Saw for the Right Job

Choosing the Right Saw for the Right Job

There’s no shortage of the number of saws available for purchase, which can make choosing the right saw for your home project a bit tricky. It’s common to find numerous variants of the same kind of saw with each design crafted for a specific purpose (much like many other tools). And just like the variants of many other tools, using the wrong saw can be detrimental to the outcome of your home project. Don’t worry, we’ve created a resource to help when choosing the right saw for the job.

Hand Saws vs Power Saws

Simply put, the difference between a hand saw and a power saw is the source of the energy used to make cuts. Hand saws rely on manual exertion whereas power saws are designed to automatically make incisions with some human guidance.

Safety Concerns

Regardless of the type of saw you’re using, it’s critical to keep a few safety concerns in mind:

  • Always secure any loose clothing or jewelry

  • Regularly inspect tools for any damage or dulling

  • Wear protective gear, such as gloves, goggles and earplugs

  • Use a bucket to hoist tools up a ladder, not in hand

Different Types of Hand Saws

Crosscut Saw – Most people envision this type of saw when thinking of a handsaw. Also known as a box saw, the thick blade is meant to roughly cut wood. Sometimes, crosscut saws come with two handles so that two people can cut larger trees, but the most common design utilizes a single handle meant for individuals to trim branches and rough cut lumber.

Back Saw – Sporting a narrower blade than the crosscut, back saws (also known as miter saws) get their name from the reinforcement along the upper edge of the unit. It’s common to use these saws when cuts need to be straight and clean.

Coping Saw – Shaped like the letter “P,” coping saws work best for irregular cuts or circular cuts in wood. The irregular shape of the cut is made possible due to the thinness of the blade, which won’t get wedged into wood as easily as a thicker saw. For best results, use a coping saw on woodwork that must align with the corner of a given room. Keep in mind that the shape of the blade prohibits cuts farther than 6 inches from the edge of the wood.

Different Types of Power Saws

Next on the list are a few of the different power saws available for bigger DIY jobs. Although some power saws are meant to replace their manual counterparts, there are quite a few that serve their own niche purposes as well.

Circular Saw – These portable saws have a large, powerful, circular blade capable of neatly halving wood. It’s necessary to exercise patience when using this tool, since carelessness can result in messy cuts at best – and serious injuries at worst.

Jigsaw – These fine blades can be set to move at different speeds. Like coping saws, jigsaws are often used to make curves and similar types of shapes. Because this saw is meant to make irregular cuts, it’s a good idea to opt for a cordless jigsaw to avoid accidentally cutting into a wire.

Reciprocating Saw – Reciprocating saws have a cutting motion that rapidly jerks back and forth, making it suitable for cutting through wood, tubing and plastics. These saws can also cut beneath wooden joints and walls thanks to their ability to slice through nails.

Miter Saw – Held by a metal arm, miter saws resemble stationary circular saws that can be tilted and adjusted to slice compound miters. In some cases, a miter saw will also be able to cut through metal.

Tile Saw – Tile saws work much like miter saws in that the material remains stationary as the blade is moved, however, these saws are specifically meant for tiles.

Rotary Saw – Also known as a rotary tool, rotary saws are a small device with a single fixed blade. They’re often included in a DIY carpenter’s arsenal for anything from construction to basic crafts. A rotary saw works especially well for small tasks like drywall repairs, wall access and paneling.

Scroll Saw – Finally, scroll saws works similarly to an automatic coping saw, capable of making spiral cuts or similar kinds of curves with edges in the wood.

There’s no type of saw that can do it all, so it’s important to know which saw works best for the specific task you’re performing. Make sure you’re ready to take on any woodworking project by using our guide to choose the right saw for the right job – and remember that our experts are here for all of your home improvement questions and concerns!


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