Starting the cut with a hand saw (not as hard as hard as you think it is)

Starting The Cut With A Hand Saw (Not As Hard As Hard As You Think It Is)

A big part of completing DIY projects successfully is learning all the hacks and tricks of the trade.

When you complete your first DIY project, it is likely to take a lot longer and be a little more rough around the edges.

This is simply because you are new to this, and you are yet to learn little workarounds that can save you time, and be a lot more effective too. 

When you are cutting wood, you might decide to use an electric saw, such as a chainsaw, table saw, and lots more.

However, even when you are using these heavy-duty saws, you might have had people suggest that you start off the cut with a handsaw. 

If you are new to DIY then it can be tricky to understand the point of this, after all, surely an electric saw will be able to do the job better and quicker.

In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at starting the cut with a handsaw, and why it isn’t as hard as you may think it is. So keep on reading to find out more! 

What Is A Handsaw?

First things first, let’s take a look at what a handsaw is. Picture a saw in your head, and it is likely that you think of a handsaw.

Handsaws are the classic style of saw with sharp teeth that you grow up drawing in school, and as their name suggests, they are designed to be used by hand. 

There are several times of handsaws, including rip saws, dovetail saws, crosscut saws, and a coping saw.

Unlike some modern saws which are powered by electricity, the handsaw is powered entirely by the user.

So you have to generate cutting pressure yourself to cut through whatever it is that you are sawing. 

At some point in their lives, most people will use a handsaw. They can be difficult to master, and when you are new to using them, you should give yourself some wiggle room.

It is very easy to make mistakes when using a handsaw, and they aren’t the easiest of tools to use. So, you might be wondering why people suggest that you start a cut with a handsaw.

We’ll get onto that later. 

How Hard Is It To Cut Wood With A Handsaw?

So we’ve mentioned that cutting wood with a handsaw isn’t the easiest of tasks, but just how hard is it? Well, when you are new to anything, it is almost always hard.

Unless you are one of those people who are extremely talented at everything, it is likely that you will struggle when you first start using a handsaw. 

However, like all things, with practice it will become easier.

Once you learn how to hold the handsaw correctly and how much momentum you need to successfully cut, the process will become a lot easier.

Things like this, as well as how to stand correctly, and what angle to cut at, will come with time. 

But there’s no point sugar coating it, you will likely find cutting wood with a handsaw difficult when you first do it.

The saw blade will stick and hop in ways that you are not used to, and this is what leads to mistakes.

So when you are new to using a handsaw, you should leave yourself some wiggle room and cut down gradually, rather than going in too heavy and cutting off too much at once. 

Should You Start Cutting Wood With A Handsaw?

So, now that we have taken a good look at cutting wood with a handsaw. Let’s take a look at whether, or not, you should start cutting wood with a handsaw.

Starting the cut with a hand saw (not as hard as hard as you think it is) (1)

As you can probably tell by the title of this guide, cutting wood with a handsaw is something that we would always recommend.

There are 2 scenarios when you might do this: when you are cutting the wood entirely and when you are preparing wood for an electric saw. 

If you are cutting through a fairly small amount of wood, we would recommend solely using a handsaw. Once you have mastered the art of using a handsaw, it will give you insane control over cutting that wood that you do not get with other types of saws.

Yes, it is hard work, but you can end up with a much cleaner finish at the end when you use a handsaw in comparison to an electric saw. 

On larger pieces of wood, we would recommend using a handsaw to start the cut-off. When you are screwing into a flat surface with a screwdriver, it is recommended that you tap the screw into the surface with a hammer.

This keys the surface, giving the screw an indentation to drill into. The same principle applies with starting off a cut with a handsaw. 

If you are using an electric saw to cut wood, it is likely that you have marked the area where you want to cut with pencil, known as a cut line.

However, it isn’t always easy to see pencil on wood, especially if you are using a large electric saw. That is why we would instead recommend starting the cut with a handsaw. 

When you start the cut with the handsaw, you can easily pinpoint exactly where you should be cutting because the cut will have already been started.

This means that you can easily slot the electric saw into the cut that has been started, ensuring that you are definitely cutting at the right point of the wood.

Hold the blade perpendicular to the straight line, and then make a straight cut with a push stroke.

What Is The Point?

So, what is the point of starting a cut with a handsaw? Well, the main point of doing this is that it makes your life a lot easier.

With smaller bits of wood, using a handsaw gives you control that you wouldn’t get with an electric saw.

With bigger bits of wood, starting the cut with a handsaw gives you peace of mind that you are cutting in the right spot, allowing for precise cuts. 

When you are new to using a handsaw, you might be really tempted to discard this tool and favor an electric saw most of the time.

However, once you get experience with a handsaw, you will learn to appreciate just how handy this tool is. 

How Do You Use A Handsaw Safely?

Finally, let’s wrap this up by quickly covering how to use a handsaw safely.

Saws can be quite intimidating, especially when they have very sharp saw blades, so how do you use a handsaw safely?

One of the easiest ways to use a handsaw safely is to ensure that whatever you are cutting is held firmly in place. If you are working alone, then you should use a clamp or miter box.

If you have somebody to help you, then they will be able to hold it steady for you.

This is important as it means you can focus on sawing without having to worry about holding the wood steady which reduces the risk of the saw slipping. 


In short, it is always a good idea to start the cut on a piece of wood with a handsaw to ensure straight cuts.

This allows you to get a better grip on the wood with the electric saw, meaning that you will end up with a cleaner finish. 

Thank you for reading!


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