The Basics on Hand-Held Saws

Before power saws were invented, intricate cuts had to be made by hand. With enough patience, you can master the task. Check out these hand-held saws capable of a variety of cuts.
hand held saws are capable of a variety of cuts

hand held saws are capable of a variety of cuts

Figure A

Figure A
Related To:

Crosscut saws, seen here, have 10 to 16 teeth per inch. Most crosscut blades are beveled to slice cleanly through wood. To use a crosscut blade, place its heel on the waste side of the line you want to cut. Support the blade with the thumb of your free hand, and carefully draw the saw backward with a few short pulls.

Ripsaws have a flexible blade and 5 to 12 teeth per inch. When using a rip saw, cut in the direction of the grain, not across the grain. Place the saw's teeth almost flat against the work piece and carefully push forward. Then raise the saw to a comfortable cutting angle (usually between 45 and 65 degrees), and cut with long, rhythmic strokes.

Back saws are designed for making smooth, precise cuts. A back saw has fine teeth on one edge for crosscutting or ripping wood, and on the other edge a metal strip to keep the blade rigid. Back saws are often used for making cuts through a miter box.

Compass saws are frequently used for cutting curves and circles. The compass saw's 12" to 14" blade tapers from handle to tip and usually has 8 to 10 teeth per inch set in a crosscut pattern.

Coping saws are used for detail woodworking and cutting arcs.

The ryoba saw is a Japanese hand tool that is pulled instead of pushed. One side of a ryoba saw is designed for rip cutting, the other side for cross cutting.

The dozuki saw — another Japanese tool — has an adjustable blade for flush cuts or cross cuts. It's also a pull saw.

Pruning saws have big teeth for cutting lumber and timber.

The all-purpose saw has a reversible blade that can make flush cuts or cross cuts.

The special PVC saw has a flat blade that's useful for cutting plastic pipe.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Table-Saw Basics

Table saws are versatile and useful tools for any workshop. Use this guide to find the best table saw for any project.

Scroll-Saw Basics

A scroll-saw can be used for everything from making intricate puzzle pieces to cutting through metal pipe.

Using a Reciprocating Saw

DIY experts discuss the various types of reciprocating saws and the jobs for which they are best suited.

Circular-Saw Blades

There are various circular-saw blades available, and choosing the right blade isn't always easy. This guide takes the guesswork out of finding the right blade for the job.

Circular Saw Basics

From household to heavy-duty models, there are several types of circular saws available to help get the job done.

Using a Roller Stand and Outfeed Table

Follow these tips for creating a support system for long pieces of wood.

Band-Saw Basics

When making carefully crafted parts for furniture or cutting the same design into several pieces of wood at once, the band saw is the tool of choice -- and one of the most versatile tools available.

Choosing a Circular Blade

Use this expert advice and choose the right circular saw blade for any project.

Tips and Tricks on How to Use a Circular Saw

A circular saw is one of the most versatile and affordable tools you can own. Learn the easiest way to make straight cuts, plunge cuts and how to make nifty jigs.

Solutions to Common Table Saw Problems

Use this expert advice to make cutting with a table saw a bit easier.

On TV

I Hate My Yard

7:30am | 6:30c

Love Yurts

8:30am | 7:30c

Love Yurts

9am | 8c

Love Yurts

9:30am | 8:30c

Love Yurts

10am | 9c

Love Yurts

10:30am | 9:30c

Love Yurts

11am | 10c

Love Yurts

11:30am | 10:30c

Pool Kings

7pm | 6c

Pool Kings

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Pool Kings

8pm | 7c

Pool Kings

8:30pm | 7:30c

Pool Kings

9pm | 8c

Pool Kings

9:30pm | 8:30c

Pool Kings

10pm | 9c

Pool Kings

10:30pm | 9:30c

Pool Kings

11pm | 10c

Pool Kings

11:30pm | 10:30c

Pool Kings

12am | 11c

Pool Kings

12:30am | 11:30c

Pool Kings

1am | 12c

Pool Kings

1:30am | 12:30c

Pool Kings

2am | 1c

Pool Kings

2:30am | 1:30c

Pool Kings

3am | 2c

Pool Kings

3:30am | 2:30c

Vintage Rehab

4:30am | 3:30c

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.