How to Saw Wood with a Handsaw

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Sometimes a handsaw is all you need to make an accurate and perfect cut in a piece of wood. Sure, table saws, circular saws, and more are all very convenient because they are powered.

However, a manually powered handsaw will work just fine. It will take more muscle and skill, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t work.

A handsaw is an excellent alternative if you don’t have a power saw. However, using it is a bit more complicated than it might appear. This article discusses how to saw wood with a handsaw.

How to Saw Wood with a Handsaw: Step by Step

This will be a step-by-step tutorial on sawing wood with a handsaw. We’re going to start with choosing the right saw, move on to making the measurements, and then discuss how to make the actual cut.

Choose the Right Handsaw

The first thing you need to do is choose the right type of handsaw for the job. Remember that a handsaw with a high number of teeth per inch is recommended for hardwood.

If you are sawing softwood, fewer teeth per inch will do. First, research the best type of saw for the wood being cut. Once you have your saw, move on to the following step.

Secure the Wood to a Sawhorse or Work Table

Before you can start, secure the piece to a stable surface. This will help prevent any injuries from occurring and help make your cut more accurate.

Use an adjustable vise to hold the piece of wood on the sawhorse or table you are resting it on.

However, if you feel confident in your skills, you can skip this step. Instead, you can use your dominant hand to hold the saw while using your other hand to hold the wood in place. If you are in a hurry and have to make many cuts, this is probably the more feasible option.

Measure and Mark

Before you can begin, you will need to make your measurements and markings. First, get your measuring tape and measure where the cut needs to be made. For example, if you need to make an angled cut, you will need to find a way to measure and mark that angle.

This could be done with a folded triangular piece of paper, a protractor and angle finder, or even a miter box.

Use your tool of choice, make the mark with a pencil, and move on to the following step.

Safety First

Before you begin, you should follow several safety tips. First and foremost, if you are holding the board down with your other hand, you need to be careful.

It’s a good idea to wear safety glasses. You probably won’t be sawing fast enough to cause splinters to fly into your face, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Ensure you hold your thumb away from the line you are cutting.

How to Saw Wood with a Handsaw

Hold Your Saw and Start Cutting

Take the saw in your dominant hand. Don’t hold it too loosely, or it will be too difficult to control and keep straight.

However, don’t hold it too tight because this makes it difficult. A rigid posture will also make the process more difficult.

Once you are correctly holding the saw, hold the piece of wood down with your other hand. Again, leave enough distance between your hand and where you are sawing to be safe.

Line up the handsaw blade with the line that you marked. Hold the saw at a steeper angle if you make a very aggressive cut and want to cut quickly. Generally speaking, holding the saw blade at a 45-degree angle will suffice for most jobs.

Ensure that the saw blade’s end is pointed downwards and away from you. Holding the saw blade at a 45-degree angle will make the cut much easier. Do not hold the saw at a horizontal angle.

Pull up on the saw lightly so that the teeth can start cutting into the wood. Moreover, you don’t need to apply much pressure.

This is just the initial cut to make sure everything will be properly lined up with your markings.

Finish the Cut

Once the initial cut has been made, you can start moving faster. Apply more pressure and move the saw back and forth. For the most accurate and smoothest cut, use long and smooth strokes.

If you use short and erratic strokes, the wood might tear out or splinter. When using a handsaw, speed is not necessary. If you keep things slow and steady, the cut should look good.

Keep sawing until the two pieces of wood are ready to come apart. Once you get to the end of the cut, slow down a little bit, or you’ll crack or splinter the wood.

Once you get near the end of the cut, hold the piece of wood that will fall because the weight of the piece may cause cracking or splintering. Supporting it will prevent this from occurring.


As you can see, sawing wood with a handsaw is easily done. If you follow the above steps, you should achieve perfect results.

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