glossary-of-saw-terms

Glossary of saw terms

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Binding

Binding When sawing, the material can close against the sides of the saw blade, causing it to become stuck. This is known as binding.

Cutting stroke

Cutting stroke The actual process of sawing involves a push stroke and a pull stroke.

The ‘cutting stroke’ is the one on which the cutting action actually takes place. Saws will either cut on the push stroke only, the pull stroke only, or both.

Dovetail joint

Dovetail joint A dovetail joint is a type of mortise and tenon joint, and is commonly used when making furniture. A tenon is a projecting piece of wood that fits into a mortise, which is a recess cut into another piece of wood. The tenon must fit tightly into the mortise in order to create a secure joint.

Compared to a standard joint, the mortises and tenons of a dovetail joint are tapered, resembling the fan of a dove’s tail.

Ferrous metals

Ferrous metals Ferrous metals are those that contain iron.

Examples include: stainless steel, medium and high carbon steel, cast iron and high speed steel.

Hardness

Scratches Its hardness is a material’s ability to resist scratches or abrasion.

Hardwood

Hardwood Hardwoods come from deciduous trees (ones that lose their leaves in the winter). Examples of hardwoods include: beech, ash, teak and oak.

Generally, hardwoods are more dense and therefore harder to cut.

Kerf

Kerf When learning about saws you may come across the term ‘kerf’.

There are several different definitions but the most common seems to be that the kerf is the slit made by the saw’s blade.

Marking out

Marking out The marking of shapes or lines on to a material prior to it being sawn is a process known as “marking out”. These marks serve as a guide when you begin sawing.

Accurate marking is very important if you plan on joining two pieces of material together securely.

Mortise and tenon joint

Mortise and tenon joint Mortise and tenon joints are commonly use in furniture-making.

A tenon is a projecting piece of wood that fits into a mortise, which is a recess cut into another piece of wood. The tenon must fit tightly into the mortise in order to create a secure joint. A mortise and tenon joint requires careful and precise sawing and is usually done with a tenon saw.

Non-ferrous metals

Non-ferrous metals Non-ferrous metals are those that do not contain iron. Examples include: copper, aluminium, zinc, brass and tin.

Plumb

Plumb cut and curved cut Plumb just means ‘straight’ and is a term often used when talking about the cut made by a saw.

Softwood

Softwood Softwoods come from coniferous (evergreen) trees. Example of softwoods include: fir, pine and cedar.

Generally softwoods are less dense and are therefore easier to cut.

Tearout

Tearout
  When sawing through wood, the fibres can tear away from the surface leaving a rough finish.

For more information see How to achieve a neat finish.

Timber

Timber The term for trees after they have been cut down.

Toughness

Shattered saw blade Its toughness is a material’s ability to withstand blows or sudden shocks without breaking or becoming deformed.