How to use a bow saw
Before you begin
Should you push or pull?
Most modern bow saws will cut on the push and pull stroke, so you can apply pressure on either stroke in order for the saw to cut.
For faster more aggressive cutting, apply pressure on both strokes.
When sawing large branches, always cut from above
When cutting larger branches (50mm (2") or thicker) you should try and position yourself so you are cutting from above. Larger branches will require more effort to cut through, and so working from above will mean that you can saw more easily, as gravity is pulling the blade downwards anyway.
Cutting a large branch from below will require you to hold the saw above your head, something that can become uncomfortable and extremely tiring if done for long periods of time.
The most important reason for sawing large branches from above is your own safety.
Sawing a large branch from below puts you at risk of being injured when the branch eventually breaks off. Cutting from above means you are out of harm's way should the branch break unexpectedly.
Starting your cut
Step 1 - Rest blade against material
Begin by resting the blade against the wood.
Unlike other types of saws, it doesn't matter at what angle the blade is to the material.
Step 2 - Push or pull blade across material
When you are ready, you can either push or pull the blade across the wood in one long smooth stroke.
Step 3 - Build up speed
Once the initial cut is made, you can begin to build up speed and develop a steady sawing rhythm.
You may need to make an undercut
When cutting down a tree or shrub that’s still in the ground, or sawing through a branch still attached to a tree, you may need to make an undercut to ensure you get a clean break. This involves making a cut on the underside of the branch before you begin sawing through it.
Without an undercut, the branch may begin breaking off before you have cut fully through it. This can cause splintering or tearing of the wood and a messy finish.
An undercut allows you to continue cutting all the way through, leaving a cleaner finish.