What is a hacksaw?

 

     
     
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 Like a bow saw, a hacksaw has a metal frame and a straight thin blade. 

Like a bow saw, a hacksaw has a metal frame and a straight, thin blade.

 
     
   

Application

 
 Because of their thin blade, a hacksaws is better suited to cutting through thinner materials.  

Because of its thin blade, a hacksaw is better suited to cutting through thinner materials.

 

Cutting through very thick materials could prove difficult, and the blade could become damaged or broken. 

 
     
   

Material

 
 A hacksaw is designed for use in metal and plastic 

A hacksaw is designed for use on metal and plastic.

 
     
   

Why is it called a hacksaw?

 
 Hacksaw 

It’s not clear exactly how a hacksaw got its name. The word ‘hack’ refers to a rough cut or blow, however a hacksaw is capable of cutting very neatly.  

It could be taken from the Middle English phrase: ‘hagge-saue’, which means to cut or chop.

 
     
   

Characteristics

 
 A hacksaw blade can be removed from the frame and replaced when the teeth become blunt. 

Blade

A hacksaw blade can be removed from the frame and replaced when the teeth become blunt.

 

Hacksaw blades have two small holes, one at each end of the blade, which allow it to be held in the frame.

 
     
 Blades come in two lengths: 250 and 300mm. 

Blades come in two lengths:

 

250 and 300mm (9.8 and 11.8" approx.)

 

The most commonly used blade is the 300mm, and so most hacksaws will be built to accept these. However, there are hacksaws with adjustable frames which can accept both 250 and 300mm blades. 

 
     
 
Cutting stroke and teeth on a hacksaw

 

 

Cutting stroke

Hacksaws cut on the push stroke, which means the blade should always be placed in the frame with the teeth pointing away from the handle.

 

For more information, see our section: Push stroke saws vs. pull stroke saws.

 
     
  

Finish

Hacksaw blades tend to have small teeth with relatively shallow gullets, so they cut and remove less material with each stroke.

 

This means cutting with a hacksaw may be a slower process, but a neater finish will be produced.

 
     
 If you turn a hacksaw blade on its side, you will see that the teeth are set in a wavy line.  

Tooth form

If you turn a hacksaw blade on its side, you will see that the teeth are set in a wavy line.

 

Manufacturers claim that the teeth are set in this way to help prevent them becoming damaged when cutting through very hard metals like steel.

 
     
 
A hacksaw blade will usually have between 14 and 32 teeth per inch.
 

Teeth Per Inch (TPI)

A hacksaw blade will usually have between 14 and 32 teeth per inch.

 

Generally, blades with 18 teeth per inch or less, will be more suitable for cutting plastic and soft metal.

 

Blades with 20-32 teeth per inch will be more suitable for cutting steel.

 
     
 
A hacksaw has what’s known as a closed pistol grip handle.
 

Handle

A hacksaw has what’s known as a closed pistol grip handle. This type of handle is usually found on saws with larger or longer blades.

 

The large handle supports the blade, and because it’s closed, the user’s hand is less likely to slip out when sawing quickly. 

 
     
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