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When it comes to woodworking, one of the most important skills that you need to learn doing right is using a hand saw. For one, doing so will make sure that you can get the type of cut that you would like to see on your finished woodworking project. At the same time, it will ensure less stress on your body, as you maintain the right posture while making your cuts. This tutorial will help you learn how to use a hand saw correctly.
- Hand Saw
- Material to Saw
Step 1: Mark the Cutline
In carpentry and woodworking, there is a timeless rule that we always remember. “Measure Twice, Cut Once”. This means that you need to measure the exact area where you want the cut. Do so twice, according to the rule. Draw a line to mark that area where you want to have the cut. This line will serve as a guide in order to help you have a straight cut.
Step 2: Create the Starting Cut
As you start on your first cut, do a straight cut along the cutting line. You can use your thumb, or its knuckle on hand that is holding the wood in order to serve as a guide. This process may differ depending on the type of saw that you are using. For example, if you are using a crosscut saw, you can start your cut with the saw teeth nearest to the handle. This will provide you with the best measure of control. Do some back cuts until you achieve a nice kerf.
On the other hand, if you use a ripsaw, you may start cutting with the finer teeth of the saw farthest from the handle, or near the blade point. Do some short draw strokes in order to have kerf going. As a reminder, avoid starting on your cut right on the light that you marked earlier on using a pencil. Rather, cut next to the line on its waste side, or that part of the wood you are not going to use for your finished product.
Keep in mind that it is always better to keep a wood piece that is a bit longer, than having a short one. It would be easier for you to sand the wood to the pencil line.
Step 3: Angle the Saw Accurately
After making sure that your kerf is going, the next thing that you need to make sure is to angle your saw accurately in order to achieve the best cut. If you are using a crosscut saw, remember that the right angle is 45 degrees in between the wood and saw. On the other hand, with ripsaws, you can use 60 degrees for the angle.
Step 4: Hold Elbows Closer to your Body
In order to avoid that natural tendency for the blade to angle away from perpendicular, you can hold your elbows closer to your body as you saw. Doing so will also help in preventing you from tilting and twisting the blade. This will ensure a clean and nice cut.
Step 5: Gripping the Handle
In order to hold the saw accurately, grip the handle well so that your forefinger will extend along the handle side. This will help you to point the saw through the line, making sure that you achieve more accuracy in cutting. Hold on firmly to the handle, but avoid doing so too tightly.
Step 6: Accurate Stroke
After starting your groove, doing some short forward strokes will only deepen the cut. This will allow you to move your left hand away from the saw blade. With this, you can push your hand saw with a free-running and easy motion. You can also use long strokes so that every tooth performs a fair share of the task at hand. Doing short strikes will dull your saw faster since only a few of the teeth are left to do the job.
Tip 1: Create Straight Cuts with a 2×4 Guide
For a lot of woodworkers, using the pencil line simply as guide does not work. In order to achieve accurate cuts, use a 2×3 along the pencil line, clamping it to the board that you are cutting. This will make the board acting as the guide in order to make sure that the saw stays on the line.
Tip 2: Correct Veering
One thing that cannot be avoided in the world of woodworking is the possibility of veering from the cut line. Even the most professional carpenters may do this mistake. If this happens, resist the temptation of twisting and bending the saw blade so that it gets right back on track. This may result to having rough and uneven cut. Rather, simply stop sawing, bringing the blade back to that point where you first veered off. Then, begin sawing again right on the line.
Tip 3: Avoid Binding with Nail
Binding is a common problem that you may face, particularly when cutting along the grain using a rip saw. This happens with the kerf closing on the saw. In order to avoid this, place a nail in the kerf, keeping it open. Afterwards, you can move the nail as you saw.
Learning how to use a hand saw correctly is very important for every woodworker. This will make sure that you get the right cut, while protecting yourself at the same time. By following the tutorial above, you can expect the right cuts. The tips presented will also help you deal with some of the most common issues faced during woodworking.
As a woodworker, you surely have some other tips in mind. Don’t hesitate to share them in the comments section below. Share this article if you liked it too!