Our other sites:

What is binding and how can I prevent it?

What is binding and how can you prevent it?

Example of pressure from either side of a piece of material binding during sawing.

When sawing, the material either side of the cut can close against the sides of the saw blade, causing it to become stuck. That’s bad, right?


If the saw is being pushed through the material quickly or forcefully, and binding occurs, this can cause the blade to bend, as pressure is being applied by the user from behind, and the blade has nowhere to go.

Detailed diagram of how binding causes force to surround a handsaw blade.

More than anything, binding is just an annoyance, especially if you’re trying to achieve a neat finish, as you could end up tearing the material’s fibres or ruining the cut as you try to remove the saw.

How to prevent binding when sawing?

There are a number of ways you can prevent binding. At Wonkee Donkee we have listed a few of our top tips below on how to prevent binding when using a handsaw.

Check the Handsaw Blade

Checking the handsaw blade to make sure you get the right cut.

Ensure your teeth are sharp and have the correct ‘set’ for the material that you are cutting. For information on how to do this, see: How to check and maintain a saw blade?

Lightly Coat the Blade

Coat the blade lightly with tool oil or bees wax to prevent binding.

Lubricate the saw blade lightly with tool oil or beeswax before you begin work. This will help the blade to move more smoothly through the material.

Avoid Sawing Wet Wood

Wet wood never cuts as cleanly as dry wood, avoid cutting wet wood if possible.

Even a saw in top notch condition could have trouble sawing wet wood. The moisture causes the wood to expand, but as you saw, the wood can contract again, closing around the blade. As well as this, saw teeth have a tendency to chew up the wood if it’s wet, subsequently becoming stuck, rather than slicing through cleanly.

Make a Wedge

Making a wedge to prevent a handsaw from binding on the cutting material.

Place a wedge in the kerf as you saw, in order to keep it open and prevent the material from pushing against the handsaw.

Wonkee Donkee Tools