The Hand Saw
By: The Working Man
The handsaw is commonly used in carpentry and woodworking.
They are also nicknamed panel saws. Handsaws are used to
cut pieces of wood into different shapes. Most often the
purpose is to then join the pieces together to create a
shape or wooden object. Handsaws operate by having a series
of sharp teeth running down the blade of the saw that are
harder than the wood being cut, so that with each push or
pull of the saw a deeper kerf is cut.
Handsaws have been used throughout history and can be traced
back to ancient times. The Egyptians left Hieroglyphs of
people using saws and there have been bone saws found in
Japan that date back to ancient times. Probably the first
metal saws were bronze before they made steel blades.
The hand saw is made from a wedge-shaped blade that has
teeth for cutting on one side of the blade facing out and a
flat edge on the other side. The blade is fitted with a
handle that is usually wood and riveted to the blade on the
wide side of the wedge of the blade.
The blade itself is set with ripsaw teeth that will make a
wide kerf and cut fast, but they do often leave ragged
edges. The teeth of the blade are set with no rake and cut
in the direction of the grain. They can cut by pulling or
pushing the blade through the wood.
Handsaws are used when building houses, furniture and
anything that is made with wood. They are fast and efficient
at cutting through wood and usually a bit of sand paper at
the cut end of the board will smooth any rough edges of the
For general purposes a handsaw is about twenty-six inches
(sixty-six centimeters) long and has eight teeth per inch
(2.54 centimeters). The handsaws that have crosscut blades
cut across the grain with teeth that are set with a negative
You can find nearly any type of handsaw you may desire at
your local hardware store or lumberyard. Keep in mind that
you want finer teeth sets and more teeth per inch for finer
detail jobs so that you don't leave ragged edges. If you
just want to cut through a wood board and don't care about
finishing the end then a general handsaw with a rip saw
blade will suit your purposes well.
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