If you get to know these saws and how to use them, your next DIY project will be a cut above the rest. Whether you’re building a rustic bench, installing trim molding, or plumbing a new sink, you’ll almost certainly need to cut some material to size, and there’s a saw waiting to assist you. The types of saws listed here span a wide range of DIY projects, from wood to metal.
You’ll notice that many saw blades are graded by teeth per inch as you add them to your toolbox and workshop. These numbers range from two to eighty-two. Blades with a lower teeth per inch will cut faster, but the cuts will be harsher. The greater the teeth per inch value, the finer and smoother the cut in wood and comparable materials will be.
- Traditional Handsaw: With its broad blade and robust grip, no woodworker’s shop is complete without a conventional handsaw. Though the handsaw is entirely powered by muscle, it comes in handy when a power saw isn’t up to the task, such as when cutting through a post that is too thick for a circular saw blade. Choose a typical handsaw based on the cut you want to make and the number of teeth per inch you’ll need. Choose a rip saw with large, angled teeth and an average of 5 teeth per inch if you need to rip wood. Traditional handsaws are best for cutting wood by hand.
- Hacksaw: The C-shaped hacksaw is most commonly used for cutting metal pipes, with thin, interchangeable blades ranging from 14 to 32 teeth per inch. Its variety of teeth per inch possibilities, on the other hand, make it excellent for cutting sheet metal, PVC, and conduit. Simply replace out the 10- to 12-inch blades, which are locked in place by screw nuts on each end. A tension nut is also included with a hacksaw, which allows you to stretch the blade taut for easier sawing. You can also vary the hacksaw’s tooth pattern depending on the thickness of the material you’re cutting: The raker set hacksaw blade has small teeth organized in three sets for simple cutting of ordinary metal pipes. Teeth are positioned next to one another without spaces in a typical set hacksaw blade, but every other tooth angles in a different direction, either forward or backward. It’s designed to cut soft metal as well as other materials like PVC. The teeth on a wavy set blade are next to one other, yet the tooth pattern has a tiny wave from one side to the other. When cutting thin metal, such as ducting, use this type of blade.
- Coping Saw: The back-beveled cuts for trim installation around interior corners are the sole purpose of the U-shaped coping saws. While the coping saw looks and works like a hacksaw, the frame is lighter and the blade is shorter typically 6-34″ long and with a TPI of 10 to 32. When installing crown molding and other forms of trim, the tiny blades make it easier to back-cut curves and create accurate joins. When adding trim, it’s great for creating professional-looking inside corner joints.
- Jigsaw: The jigsaw is a versatile DIY saw that can cut straight lines like a circular saw but is most known for its ability to cut curves. The jigsaw is one of the safer power saws since it has a broad flat base that lies flat on the surface of the material you’re cutting and surrounds and protects the blade. Many jigsaws come with a tilting shoe that allows you to cut on an angle when necessary. With blades with a TPI of 8 to 10, these saws can cut practically any sort of wood. A normal jigsaw blade has teeth that point upward, so the saw cuts on the upstroke of the blade. For cutting materials having a finished surface, such as a laminate countertop, reverse blades that cut on the downstroke are offered. While blade lengths vary, blade width is determined by the curve: To cut tight curves, go with a 14-inch-wide blade, and for regular curves, go with a 38-inch-wide blade.
- Circular Saw: The circular saw is one of the most popular saws for framing and can replace a table saw on the jobsite. It is designed to cut straight lines in dimensional lumber, plywood, stiff foam board, and even concrete. It has an enclosed circular blade and a wide base that lies flat against the material being cut and can be adjusted to modify the cut depth on most variants. Circular saws are available in a range of sizes, which are determined by the blade diameter. Circular saw blades come in a variety of sizes, from 4 inches for basic woodworking projects to 12 inches for cutting massive timbers. Wall studs, joists, rafters, and sheathing are among the building materials that they are excellent for cutting.
- Miter Saw: When framing, installing molding, or even cutting siding strips, a miter saw is used to make precise crosscuts. Miter saws today are capable of making angled cuts as well as more sophisticated cuts. The stable steel base of a miter saw can be fixed on a workshop table, and a steel guide along the back edge aligns the material to be cut. While all miter saws can create angled cuts, a compound miter saw can tilt on its axis to make slanted cuts as well as angled cuts. When using a sliding miter saw, the arm may be moved forward while the saw is running, allowing you to cut wider boards or siding strips. Laser guides are available on some high-end miter saws for extra-precise cuts. When making simple or difficult angle cuts, these saws are ideal for framing and finish carpentry.
- Chainsaw: With its thousands of sharp teeth rotating around the guide bar, the chainsaw is designed to slash tree branches or topple entire trees. Guide bars range in length from 14 to 36 inches and are interchangeable on some chainsaw models. While some smaller corded chainsaws can be used for cutting and pruning around the house, the majority of chainsaws are fuel-powered and can be taken into isolated locations for firewood collecting.