How to use a hand saw

  Shop for Handsaws  

Before you begin

  Tired man  

Should you push or pull?

Some hand saws cut on the push stroke only, others will cut on both the push and the pull stroke.


If the saw cuts on the push stroke, you should only apply pressure to the saw when pushing it through the material. If you use a lot of force when pulling the saw as well, it won’t cut any quicker and you will simply tire yourself out.

  correct angle when cuttingwood across the grain  

Get the correct angle

When cutting wood across the grain, you should hold the saw at a 45 degree angle to the material being cut.

  Cutting wood along the grain, saw at a 60° angle to the material.  

When cutting wood along the grain, you should saw at a 60 degree angle to the material. 


Starting your cut

  Starting your cut  

Once your material is in place and you have marked out the area you want to saw, you can make your first cut.


Some people like to place their thumb along the line they want to cut, resting the blade against their thumbnail. This helps to guide the saw, but great care must be taken when doing so.

  heel of the saw against the far edge of wood  

Step 1 – Rest blade against material

Start by placing the heel of the saw against the far edge of your material.

  Then pull the saw slowly back towards you  

Step 2 – Pull saw towards you 

Pull the saw slowly back towards you, applying very little downward pressure in one long, slow stroke. 

    Wonkee Donkee says "The first cut can be difficult and the blade may jump around if you apply too much pressure. Remember to keep your index finger extended along the handle when working"  
  Building speed  

Build speed as you build confidence

As the cut starts to develop, the sawing process will become easier, and you can increase the speed until you have a steady sawing rhythm.


Try and use at least three quarters of the blade when working, moving the saw back and forth in smooth, slow strokes rather than short jerky movements. 

  Types of saw cuts  

Use the force, but not too much

You must apply some pressure to the saw or the teeth will never cut through the material, but apply too much and you could end up losing control of the saw, and messing up your cut.



  If you mess up a cut, don't throw a tantrum  

If you’re not an experienced hand saw user, getting a feel for the amount of force needed can take a bit of practice, but don’t be put off. Test out your sawing technique on some scrap material to get an idea of how much pressure to apply and the speed at which you feel comfortable.


If you mess up a cut, don’t throw a tantrum – Try, try, try again!