How to use a hand saw safely

How to use a hand saw safely

First, you must familiarize your self with the saw. It only has a couple of parts to it the handle and the blade. With the hand saw the handle is very important because you transfer the power from your arm and shoulder to the handle and thus to the blade. Hand saw handles are designed for accuracy, speed, and production, and the way you grasp the handle makes a difference in the performance of your saw.

Many saw handles today are designed to fit the hand. When you grasp the handle of the saw you want to grasp it in a manner that will allow you to use your thumb and first finger as the steering mechanism to help in guiding the blade through the wood.

Grasping the handle in this manner allows the power to apply its self at the palm or center of the hand and causes the blade to move easily once the first cut is started. Make sure also that you are not squeezing to tightly this will cause you to tire quickly.

Next thing you will want to do is make sure you hold the saw in the right position to the wood you are cutting. Keep the saw in line with your forearm making it seem like it is part of your arm. Stand facing your material keeping your forearm in line and your shoulder in line with your forearm this way your elbow will bend properly and allow maximum power to transfer to each stroke. Standing in this position will also help keep your eye in line with your work. As with anything it will take some practice to develop good sawing skills.

The next important thing in using a hand saw is how you hold the work. Generally the size of the material will determine how the work is held. Some can be held in a vise or bench clamp and others will have to be held on a sawhorse or work table. Sawhorses are usually all a low enough height so the material can be held with the knee while sawing.

Some material is very large and heavy and will have to be supported on the waste side so as to not splinter or split the wood. On many cuts you can use your free hand to support the material being sure to not put a bind on the material causing the saw to bind. If you are cutting something that is very heavy you will want to have another saw horse or work bench under the waste portion for support. Common sense will pretty much tell you what to use for support.

Now it’s time to make the cut. You’ve marked your line and you have a grasp on the handle with the middle of the saw blade resting on the waste side of the line at the farthest point away from you. Do not try to cut right on the line always cut just to the side of the line. Now begin to slowly pull the saw towards you then reposition the saw and repeat until you have a good kerf (saw groove). Do not try to start the cut pulling in both directions the saw will bounce side to side and damage the wood. Always begin your cut pulling towards you.

Once you have the kerf started make a few strokes forward. Do not attempt long strokes for the first couple strokes. Once the groove is deepened you can begin to make the strokes the full length of the saw blade.

When you are ripping wood hold your saw at about 60 to 65 degrees and crosscutting the saw is held around 40 to 50 degrees. Never force the saw through the wood. If the saw is binding either the angle is wrong, the saw is in need of sharpening or something is obstructing the cut in the wood. Take the time to stop and find the cause of the binding.

Practice cutting so that your strokes are smooth and your cuts are accurate. Do not worry about the speed of cutting. In time your accuracy will improve and so will your cutting speed. Always remember to let the saw do the work.

Practice cutting
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