Hand Saw Comparison
Hand Saw Buying Guide
Types of Manual Saws
There are many different types of manual saws that don’t require anything but hand power. We have listed them below with some characteristics of each of them so you can identify the kind of manual saw you want for your projects.
- Handsaws – This is the most recognized and used type of manual saw. The hand saw is used most often for cutting panel materials, long boards, short boards and can even be used to cut down trees and trim branches. The best hand saws are the ones that have thicker blades which discourages binding, and that have hardened teeth for improved cutting speed and precision. Some hand saws have blades that are designed for rip cutting or cross cutting and some can do both. The handle has a D shaped hole in it for your hand. It provides users with the most control over the saw. Look for large D cutouts that can accommodate larger hands and comfort grips for less hand fatigue.
- Dovetail Saw – The dovetail saw is a fine toothed saw that is similar to the tenon saw. It is best suited for cutting dovetails. It features a thin blade that has a spine which will add weight to the saw. This extra weight keeps the blade in tension while you are in the middle of cutting. It is not the saw to use for deep cuts since the spine of the saw prevents depth. Most dovetail saws on the market have a D shaped handle and minimal set of teeth for making a very thin kerf.
- Gents Saw – This hobbyists saw got its name from the gentleman who used to use them often in the 19th century. They have a super thin blade and 20 teeth per inch that are perfect for making miniature furniture and models. It is also well suited for making instruments. The handle of the Gents Saw is straight and not in a D shape and the blade has a spine for added support and tension.
- Razor Saw – Razor saws are another type of saw that has a ton of teeth per inch. This one features 40 per inch and is perfect for making models and tiny furniture where finish is an important thing. The shape of the teeth on the razor saw is designed for cross cutting. It is similar to the Gent’s Saw and has a reinforcing spine as well as a straight handle. The blade of the Razor saw is shallower than the others.
- Compass Saw – Another name for a compass saw is the keyhole saw. This type of manual saw features a long and narrow blade that is perfect for cutting curves, very tight radiuses and shapes as well.
It is most like the jigsaw in function without the electricity. If you are working with drywall or another type of thin material, you will appreciate having a keyhole saw.
- Hacksaw – The hacksaw is another very popular saw that is used for a multitude of tasks including cutting all types of wood, plastic and metal too. The hacksaw has a frame with a built-in handle that keeps the blade in tension during the cutting process. The blade of the hacksaw is very thin and can be mounted to either be push or pull stroked. The height of the hacksaw’s frame determines how deep the saw will be able to cut.
- Coping Saw – The thin disposable blade of the coping saw is much like that of the Hacksaw. The blade is very narrow and is suited for cutting curves, cutouts, and other intricate shapes. You can also set coping saw blades at an angle to the frame of the saw to allow it to cut those shapes and curves much easier.
- Ryoba Saw – The word Ryoba means double blade which is how this saw got its name. It has double sided blades that feature rip cutting teeth on one sit and cross cutting teeth on the other. This makes this type of saw a two-in-one saw. The handle of the Ryoba saw is straight and wooden and wrapped in rattan. This Japanese style saw blade is much thinner.
- Back Saw – Back saws are very similar to what is called a carpenter’s saw. They are shorter and have a top edge that has been reinforced which reduces flexing. The spine has just the right amount of weight to apply even pressure on the fine toothed blade. The blade of the back saw is thinner than some other types. This saw works well with a miter box and is good for creating dovetails and tenons.
Parts of the Hand Saw
There are basically two parts to the hand saw, the handle and the blade. But other areas of the saw have names as well that we will share with you. Aside from the handle and the blade, there is an area that is below the handle and features a 90 degree angle of the back of the saw blade.
This is known as the heel of the saw. The opposite end, where the blade of the saw tapers down to a small part is called the toe of the saw. There is also the gullet which is a little ways back from the toe. The jagged points are known as teeth.
There is a place for at least one good quality hand saw in your tool box but if you engage in many of the activities that involve using a manual saw on a regular basis you will want to consider choosing a couple of different kinds of manual saws such as a hand saw, hack saw and one or two others. Doing this ensures that you will have all manual sawing tasks covered.
The information in this guide has provided you with the different types of saws and what they are best suited for. This enables you to look at the projects and tasks you do and match them with the right saw for the job. With the right knowledge you will be able to sort through the different saws and come up with the one that is perfect for your needs.