Proper Use of a Hand Saw April 28 , 2017

A hand saw is one of the more basic tools, so you may not have given much thought to the proper way to use one. However, like other hand and power tools, using proper form and technique with a hand saw is important for your safety as well as achieving your desired result.


First and foremost, reading the documentation packaged with the saw is advised. All hand saws are not the same, so following the recommendations from the manufacturer will help you both use the saw properly and protect yourself. Hand saws come in different types that are designed for various purposes, so be sure you are using the right kind of saw for the task at hand. For instance, some saws are designed to cut with the grain, while others are designed for cutting against it.


Ensure your saw blade is sharp and clean before you begin. The first step to using a hand saw - determining exactly where the cut will be made - begins before you pick up the saw. Create a line to guide your cut, double checking that your measurements and angles are correct. Also ensure that the surface to be cut is stable.


Start sawing slightly to the outside of the line to account for the width of the blade. Hold the saw such that your wrist, shoulder and the handle of the saw are lined up, and you are not sawing at an angle that feels unnatural. Professionals generally advise holding a hand saw with all of the fingers except the pointer, which should be straight and pointed in the direction of the cut. But, be sure to check the documentation to ensure that you are holding the saw according to recommendations. Remember that cutting should be done on the down stroke. Apply pressure to the saw as you push downward on the cut, but release pressure as you pull the saw back toward yourself. Getting into a steady rhythm as you saw will help you achieve the cleanest cut.


If you are inexperienced with hand saws, you may want to practice cutting on a scrap piece of wood before you move on to the real cut. It bears repeating that all saws are not the same, so be sure to read the documentation outlining the proper use of your saw.

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