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What is a hand saw?

What is a hand saw?

Shop for Saws
Hand saw Chances are, when you imagine a saw, this is what comes to mind – a long saw with a wide blade and a large handle at one end.

There are two types of hand saw available: the hand saw for wood and the general purpose hand saw


Hand saws are great for most general sawing jobs around the home Hand saws are ideal for most general sawing jobs around the home.

However, their large blade means they are unsuitable for making smaller more delicate cuts or for sawing curves or intricate shapes. If you want to make these sort of cuts, then consider purchasing a speciality saw for the job.


hard and softwood, as well as plywood. A hand saw for wood should be able to cut both hard and softwood, as well as plywood.

A general purpose hand saw is designed to cut hard and soft wood, plastic and non-ferrous metal. Information on whether it is general purpose will be listed in the product specification.


A variety of blades lengths are available, ranging from 380 to 600mm.


A hand saw has a long, wide blade which usually cannot be removed from the handle.

A variety of blade lengths are available, ranging from 380 to 600mm (14.9-23.6″ approx.)

Traditionally hand saws would have had either cross cut teeth or rip teeth.


Traditionally, hand saws would have either crosscut teeth (for cutting wood across the grain) or rip teeth (for cutting along the grain).

Nowadays, most models have teeth that are able to do both. These are often referred to as “universal” or “utility” teeth.

hand saws will cut on the push stroke

Cutting stroke

Most hand saws will cut on the push stroke. However, there are now models available which cut on both the push and pull stroke.

Hand saws teeth per inch

Teeth Per Inch (TPI)

Hand saws usually have been 7 and 10 teeth per inch.

neat finish


The more teeth per inch your hand saw has, the neater the finish will be. Generally, hand saws have a relatively low TPI, and so will not produce a very neat finish.

However, this means they are ideal for quickly and roughly cutting materials to size. Because of their large blade, they tend to be unsuitable for delicate work.

closed pistol grip handle


Hand saws all have what’s known as a ‘closed pistol grip handle’. This type of handle is often 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.

The closed design also serves to protect the user’s hand from coming into contact with the blade, something which is very useful when sawing quickly and roughly.

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