How to Use a Hand Saw

Standard hand saw image by Martink, Wikimedia Commons


Handsaws offer homeowners one of the simplest and most versatile tools available to perform a variety of jobs around the home. Using a handsaw doesn't require an electrical outlet or the angst that comes from operating a high-powered electrical saw. Handsaws have a handle and a sharpened blade for cutting wood. Learning how to use a handsaw involves proper maintenance of the cutting surface of the saw as well as holding the saw properly. Let's look at how to use a handsaw.

How to Use a Hand Saw

Step 1

Grasp the handsaw in your leading hand and hold it comfortably. Most handsaws have shaped handles for comfortable holding. Watch the blade since it contains teeth and can be sharp. Even dulled hand saw blades could cut skin easily.

Step 2

Choose the material you'd like to cut with your hand saw. Position the area that needs cutting firmly in a vise or clamped to a supporting surface such as a workbench. Be aware that you do need to consider what lies under the wood since the saw may cut into that surface as well. Longer pieces of wood require clamping on the retained part of the wood as well as support on the side being removed. Use another workbench or a person to hold this end piece.

Step 3

Always wear safety goggles before cutting any material by hand or with an electrical saw.

Step 4

Stand squarely facing the portion to be cut. Grasp the hand saw handle, and place the blade vertically at the position of cutting. Your arm should form a straight line from your elbow to the tip of the saw blade. It's much easier to saw in this position, standing straight on and lined up with your leading arm for power and control.

Step 5

Line up with your cutting mark on the wood. Place the hand saw blade on the wood edge farthest from your body. The blade should be leaning at a 45-degree angle to the piece of wood.

Step 6

Begin with a few partial strokes forward and backward to begin the cut. Switch to a full motion to cut efficiently by using the length of the saw. You're working toward your body to be careful of the saw blade.

Step 7

Continue cutting until the saw reaches close to the end of the cut. Slow down to smaller strokes again to prevent splitting the board.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand saw
  • Vise
  • Clamps
  • Wood
  • Safety goggles


  • Norse Woodsmith: Using and Troubleshooting Saws
  • Lowe's: How to Choose the Right Handsaw
Keywords: hand saw cutting, hand saw use, hand saw

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with over three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various websites and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.

Photo by: Martink, Wikimedia Commons