What is the best saw for cutting wood?
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While walking in the aisle of a hardware shop or browsing on Amazon, you will find different types of saws. Sometimes, it may be overwhelming to decide the right type of saw for any DIY project, especially for beginners. In this post, we will cover the types of saw that are available out there and their best uses.
Everyday tools that are useful for various purposes from trimming green wood, cutting wooden logs or boards and even metal are sold as hand saws. We call it with this name, as it does not require any power to work instead you have to use your physical force to accomplish the cutting tasks. The hand saws that you can find in any home improvement store is listed below.
Rip cut saw
Designed for small wood jobs, hand saws are not connected to any power source. Whether you are working on soft or hardwood pieces, you can use a hand saw for clean and finished cuts. It is outfitted with many sharp teeth having one handle on an end or two handles on both the ends. To make straight cuts on the wood, you have to hold its handle and move back and forth with some force.
- To make straight cuts on woods, especially when you do not have access to power.
- Make straight cuts on the wood where you require less precision
Example- DeWalt DWHT20545L
Hack saw has numerous fine as well as small teeth on a rigid and straight blade, held by a C-shaped frame. It has a pistol grip to hold and the blades are disposable once they become blunt. The frame is also adjustable to accommodate blades of different lengths.
- Basically, hacksaws are used to cut metals
- You can also use them to cut plastic pipes during plumbing jobs or making a plastic fence.
Example: DEWALT DWHT20547L
A metal frame holding a coarse wide blade makes a modern bow saw or swede saw. It is a type of frame saw as the frame keeps a blade straight because of the tension. Its blade has a number of cross cut that rips the material while you pull and push the saw using its handle.
- You can use bow saws to cut or trim tree branches
- Cut firewood or wooden logs up to six inches in diameter
Example: Bahco Bow Saw, model no. 9-36-23-KP
Another type of hand saw with a reinforced upper edge opposite to the cutting side is sold as back saw. The upper stiffened rib gives better control for more precise cutting. However, due to the same upper rib, these saws have limited cutting depth.
- Such saws are mostly used in woodworking for precise cuttings such as cutting dovetail joints
- Creating tenons while making cabinets
Example: Stanley FatMax 17-202, a 14-Inch Back Saw
Looks simple but the coping saw is a useful cutting tool that has a thin blade tensioned between a c shaped frame. Its frame is compatible with a variety of blades that you can use while cutting wood pieces or metals. Plumbers and carpenters, both carry coping saw because of its ability to cut a wide range of materials.
- Making furniture and wooden toys
Example: Husky 6.5 in. coping saw. Model No. 12228
Similar to a bow saw fret saw is used for intricate cutting works, especially tight curves. Coping saw is also used for the same purpose, but a fret saw is much more delicate because of a tighter radius. Although, fret saws look similar to bow or coping saw, you can differentiate between the three because a fret saw has an extra deep frame, usually between 10 to 20 inches.
- Intricate woodwork and meta cutting
Example: Olson Saw SF63507
Similar to a bow saw fret saw is used for intricate cutting works, especially tight curves. Coping saw is also used for the same purpose, but a fret saw is much more delicate because of a tighter radius. Although fret saws look similar to bow or coping saw, you can differentiate between the three because a fret saw has an extra deep frame, usually between 10 to 20 inches.
- Intricate woodwork and meta cutting
Example: Olson Saw SF63507
You can slice a wooden or even metal piece using a hand saw, but what if the working material is too many? It will take some extra hours, right? This is where you can use power saws that use electricity to operate. There is a power saw for every job, but how will you choose the right one? That is why we are giving you a rundown of the power saws that you should know before purchasing one.
Designed to make curved cuts on large materials, band saws are extremely versatile. The standout feature of this saw is its specialty to cut all kind of materials, even the huge ones with odd patterns or angles. Such saws comprise a long and sharp-toothed blade mounted between two or more wheels. There are two types of band saws in terms of portability.
Floor standing stationery band saws are tall and has two large wheels on both the sides of its cutting table. To cut through any material, the wheels or pulleys are responsible to continuously move the blade.
- Carving wood materials
- Cutting PVC, pipes, and tubes
- Making furniture and decorative items
Example: Porter Cable PCB330BS, a 13.625-in 10-Amp stationary band saw
The small version of a stationary band saw are portable, yet able to accomplish similar tasks. Due to relatively compact size, portable band saw gives you the facility to move it from one job site to another. However, you have to apply some extra effort while making straight cuts and these saws are limited to a cutting depth of 3 to 4 inches of diameter. Still, portable band saws are invaluable for metalworkers, plumbers, and welders.
- Cutting pipes and metal sheets
Example: DEWALT DWM120, a 5-inch 10-amp portable band saw
A mechanical and portable saw with attached teeth on a chain that rotates along a guide bar is available as a chain saw. This uniquely designed saw does not only runs on electric motors, but there are several models that also utilizes two-stroke petrol engines. The guide bar is generally manufactured of alloy steel with a length of 16 to 36 inches (40 to 90 cm).
- Chain saws are mainly used for trees felling, bucking, pruning and limbing
- Firewood cutting
- Cutting trees to suppress wildfires
Example: Husqvarna 240 chainsaw
One of the most useful and versatile saws, circular saws can be either table mounted or handheld. You must have seen circular saws on construction sites as building and maintenance professionals take numerous benefits from them. They have large, sturdy and circular blades with different diameters, capable of cutting workpieces neatly into required parts. You just have to be patient while using this saw, as carelessness or hurry may result in unwanted cuts and injuries.
- Straight ripping or crosscutting of wood pieces, especially while making furniture
- You can also use these saw to cut plastic, metal, and masonry
- If the saw has an ability to angle its blade, you can use it for beveling
Example. Makita 5007F
With a variety of blades, jigsaws can go through different materials moving at different speeds. If you are looking to cut straight lines, curves or any other specific shape on a workpiece, jigsaws give complete control and desired results.
With a jigsaw, you can change the blade speed from an electronic knob. In addition, there are several jigsaws that give you the option to change the blade within seconds without using any additional tools. As jigsaws are used to make curves and other irregular cuts, you should wrap the cable around your arm once to avoid its accidental cutting.
- Cut a long range of material including wood to make tables, birdhouses, wall mounted shelves and decorative crafts
- Apart from wood, you can also use jigsaws to cut plastic and metals, depending on the blade
Example: DEWALT DW331K
A miter saw is similar to a stationary circular saw, but it has a metal arm to hold the blade, which can be tilted or adjusted to slice wood pieces and sometimes, metals to get precise cuts. There are three types of miter saws: basic, compound and sliding compound. Basic miter saw has a swiveling base to allow angled cuts while compound miter saws also move up and down so that you can tilt the blade for versatile cutting works. Sliding compound miter saws give you more space for long workpieces.
- You can use miter saws to make wooden frames, boxes, and furniture
- To cut any wood materials where you need joining angles
- For flooring and basement finishing
Example: DEWALT DWS780, a double bevel sliding compound miter saw
Basic functions of a chop saw are similar to a miter saw as the latter also moves up and down to cut the material from top to bottom. However, a chop saw is large, more powerful and that is why used in commercial as well as industrial shops for cutting large materials.
- If you need to cut trusses, rafters, studs, and joists, then chop saws are the best choice.
- Several models of chop saws are also used for concrete cutting
Example: DEWALT D28715, 14-inch chop saw
With a blade that can make long and precise cuts and fence that you can use to align the wood for straight cuts. Most of the times, it is used to rip wider wood pieces into smaller width that you can use for various DIY projects.
- You can table saws for making furniture and shelves
Example: Ridgid R4513
A saw that sits still while you have to move the working material around its blade. A scroll saw can cut wood as well as thin plastic, but you have to be careful while using it as the blade is extremely thin. If you push the material with extra force the blade may break or you can get injuries. With the ability to accept a variety of blades and designed to go through numerous materials including wood, metal, plastic, PVC, or plasterboard they will accomplish the desired results.
- You can use scroll saws to make intricate cuts on wood materials
- Craft intricate designs on wood or plastic
- Making angled cuts
Example: Shop Fox W1713
Also known as sabre saws, reciprocating saws are popular to use for demolition work. They can smoothly go through any material without any trouble, be it a metal pipe, hardened nails or tree branches.
One of the most tedious tasks is to rip out the old fittings of doors and windows while renovating your house. This is where sabre saws come handy as it makes most of the cutting tasks look easy that is almost impossible for other saws or power tools.
- Reciprocating saws are ideal for renovation work
- Cutting plastic or metal pipes
- Rip out materials like nails and rods around or in windows or doors
Example: Makita XRJ04Z
A plunge saw is based on a circular saw but has better accuracy as it works with a track/rail system. In addition, dust collection is also better on plunge saw as it has more enclosed guarding. As it is clear from the name, plunge saws can plunge into the workpiece and can also make cutouts.
While working with a plunge saw, you have to fit its rail with an anti-splinter guard. It is recommended to change the guard as you change the rail for a splinter-free cut. Rails also have underside cushion, so you do not have to worry about clamping, but is required for slippery surfaces. For longer cuts, you can join the rails together.
- To cut board materials to make a wall mounted study or working tables
Example: Makita SP6000J1
There is no saw that you can use for all types of task or projects. So, choose the saw carefully because they are powerful tools that need decent investment and you would like it to be helpful for the required purpose. In this post, we have already given a fine idea about the various types of saw and how or where you can use them. Hope you choose the right saw for the relevant task or project.