A bow saw is characterised by a bow-shaped frame and a long straight blade.
Because of the hollow metal frame, bow saws tend to be reasonably lightweight. They’re great for cutting large materials, specifically wood. You might want to look at other tools like an angle grinder when working with with other materials.
Bow saws are designed for cutting green wood such as tree branches and shrubs, or sawing logs to size.
They are most commonly used for applications where speed is more important than a neat finish.
When cutting tree branches, you should ensure that there is sufficient room around the branch you want to cut, to allow for the relatively large frame of the bow saw.
A bow saw has a long straight blade which can be removed from the frame. It is designed to cut quickly and roughly through tree branches and shrubs.
There are two types of blade found on bow saws:
1. Peg tooth blades
A peg tooth blade is designed to cut dry, hard wood as opposed to wet wood.
The teeth on a peg tooth blade are triangular, and arranged in groups of 3, with a larger gap between each group.
2. Peg & raker tooth blades
A peg and raker tooth blade is designed to cut through wet wood as opposed to dry wood.
This type of blade has groups of 4 triangular teeth followed by 1 ‘raker’ tooth which looks like a regular tooth split in two and splayed outwards.
The triangular-shaped teeth slice through the wood and the ‘rakers’ as they are known, chip the wood out.
When sawing through wet or green wood, the chippings can clog up the saw’s teeth. A peg and raker tooth blade has larger, deeper gullets on either side of the rakers which carry the waste wood out of the cut efficiently.
The teeth on a bow saw blade are not all angled in one direction like on some other types of saws. This is because a bow saw is designed to cut on the push and pull stroke.
Please note: How this is done may vary depending on the make and model. One method is shown below:
Teeth Per Inch (TPI)
Peg tooth blades tend to have 6 to 8 teeth per inch.
Peg and raker blades tend to have 4 to 6 teeth per inch.
All bow saws have large teeth with deep gullets for fast aggressive cutting through wood.
Because they have fewer teeth per inch, they cut and remove more material per stroke, usually leaving a rough finish.
A bow saw has what’s known as a closed pistol grip handle. This type of handle is usually found on saws with larger or longer blades which are designed for faster more aggressive cutting.
The large handle supports the blade, and because it’s closed, the user’s hand is less likely to slip out when sawing quickly. As well as this, the closed design protects the user’s hand from becoming injured, should the end of the saw hit something abruptly.