A brief history of the saw
Paintings show saws in use as early as Egyptian times! These saws were made of copper and are depicted as a large blade with no handle.
It's thought that the Romans came up with the idea of using a wooden frame to hold the saw blade, making it easier to control the depth and direction of the cut.
Evidence of saws found in Japan, suggests that an early version of the bow saw had been developed by the 15th century!
Despite these initial designs, it wasn't until 1650 and the development of rolled steel, that the saw really began to take off.
By the 1800s, almost every household owned a saw of some kind, but most were designed for cutting wood only.
More recent developments
Over the last decade, saw technology has come a long way. Developments in the blade, frame and handle design mean that nowadays, there is a saw designed for almost any material imaginable, including insulation, masonry and plastic.
There are also "general" or “all-purpose” saws which can cut through a variety of materials.
However, with manufacturers producing new designs almost constantly, a lot of what we know about saws, is now changing.
It seems that there is now a marked difference between the more traditional saws, used by our parents and grandparents, and the modern versions now taking over
Generally, the 'classic' saw was seen as being ‘built to last’, with a solid wooden handle and a resharpenable blade. Most were hand-crafted and designed to be passed through the family.
Two key features of most ‘contemporary’ saws are their relatively low cost, and disposability. Most have plastic handles and hardened teeth which cannot be resharpened.
Once the teeth become blunt, the saw is thrown away and replaced.
Perhaps one of the biggest changes to saws is the introduction of ‘universal’ or ‘hybrid’ teeth.
Traditionally, all saws for wood had either rip teeth (for cutting wood along the grain) or crosscut teeth (for cutting wood across the grain).
In the last few years, manufacturers have been able to produce teeth that can cut in any direction both across and along the grain.
These teeth are now pretty much standard on most saws, however you will find that the design varies between brands, and each manufacturer refers to them using different terminology.
As a result, rather than seeing a saw with “cross cut” or “rip” teeth you are more likely to come across “universal”, “general purpose” or even “hybrid” teeth, depending on how that particular company has branded them.
(But, in fact - they all do the same thing!)