What Kind of Saw Do I Need?
Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to saw something, and just weren’t sure which type of saw you needed? Well you’re in luck because with this handy guide in your back pocket you’ll always know which saw is the right one for the job! For this blog, we’ll do a quick overview of the types of saws available, what they do best, and what material they work best with.
Cutting and fastening are the basic functions of any carpentry or construction project. One of the most basic tools in a tool box is a saw. So how complex can it be to decide what saw to get? There are literally hundreds of types of saws and blades that we sell at Koopman Lumber. For today, let’s do a quick walk through the basics:
Hand Saw: Every carpenter will have a basic wood cutting hand saw that will fit in his tool box. It’s cost effective and gets the job done. There are variations to the hand saw depending on your application. Some hand saws work in a miter box to cut perfect angles, some are designed to cut on the pull stroke for certain woodworking applications, and plenty more. You can’t beat the utility of a basic hand saw!
Hack Saw: A hack saw is mostly used to cut metal. The teeth are more fine and durable than a wood saw, and typically requires a lot more strokes to get through a piece of metal!
Coping saw: A coping saw is a hand saw designed to cut fine woodworking such as crown moldings, chair rails, and baseboards. Its tiny blade allows the user to cut interesting shapes in wood. But it’s really hard to cut a straight line!
Jab Saw: A jab saw is great for drywalling. You can poke a hole in the drywall to cut out for outlet boxes and the like. Notice the really aggressive teeth, don’t mess around with this saw!
Those are your basic carpentry hand saws. Now let’s look at the ones with some real POWER!
Everything is more fun when you add power to it! Cutting stuff with power just makes it even better! Here’s a quick walk through common power saws.
Circular Saw: Perhaps the most basic is the 7 ¼” circular saw. If you’re going to be doing any carpentry work, your first saw needs to be this one. A long time industry favorite is the Makita 7 1/4″ Circular saw, However, DeWalt’s 7 1/4″ circular saw is our staple today. Features are very similar in this category but look at power (15AMP typical), weight, type of foot plate, bevel capability, blade change ease and general comfort to hold. This saw is extremely versatile for cutting lumber, plywood, or even metal and stone with the right blade. It’s hard to go wrong with a circular saw!
Reciprocating Saw: A reciprocating saw like (4201455) is a fantastic demolition tool. The blade reciprocates – or goes back and forth mimicking the action of your arm with a hand saw – but can do so much faster than any human could. There are lots of blades to cut all kinds of materials from wood and metal to pruning blades for your tree trimming. This type of saw is incredibly versatile and useful in tons of situations.
Jig Saw: For the beginning carpenter, a jigsaw is probably the next most common powered saw. This blade also goes back and forth but is designed for more delicate work than the reciprocating saw. It also cuts circles around a circular saw! But seriously, it’s designed to cut curves and interesting shapes and works best when cutting through wood.
Miter Saw: The miter saw allows you to really step up your game! Also known as a chop saw, this allows you to keep most of the saw and material in a fixed position while cutting. These typically come in 10” and 12” blade sizes. Some are “compound” saws which mean they can cut 2 angles at once. More advanced miter saws have extension capability to push the saw forward and back along the material vs just having the chopping motion.
Table Saw: Finally, to round out your basic saw selection, is a table saw. As the name suggests, the saw is mounted in a table format – kind of like a circular saw mounted upside down. These are typically used with a 10” blade and are great for “ripping” lumber – like when you want to make a 2×6 into a 2×4. Or for cutting 10” off a 4×8’ sheet of plywood. There are portable table saws like and much larger stationary saws for a shop setting.
Every one of these power saws also comes in battery and plug-in formats.
Chain Saw: We would be remiss if we didn’t at least mention the timeless powered chainsaw! We are huge fans of Stihl saws and you really can’t have more fun felling trees than with a Stihl!
So there’s your quick run down of basic saws to consider when starting out as a “Do it Yourselfer.” Feel free to check in with one of the tool pros at any Koopman Lumber location for more information for your specific needs. This is by NO means an exhaustive list and we’ll be happy to give you the full rundown!