A ripsaw is a useful tool for cutting lumber, making furniture, and other wood-cutting tasks.

What Is a Ripsaw

A ripsaw, or ripping saw, is a specialized handsaw for manually cutting wood in the direction of the grain. Ripsaws include a blade and a plastic or hardwood handle. The blade edge below the handle is the heel and the front end is the toe. The typical ripsaw is 26 inches in length with 5 teeth or points per inch. In comparison, a crosscut saw has twice as many teeth and makes a finer cut.

How to Safely Use a Ripsaw

To safely use a ripsaw, draw a straight line on the wood member you are cutting, making sure that it is in approximately the same direction as the wood's grain. Firmly hold or fasten the wood so that it will not move during cutting. Place the saw's central teeth on the end of the line opposite you and push the saw in a short stroke to start the cut. Once started, draw and push the saw to cut the wood along the line. When nearly done, make sure the end of the wood being cut is held and will not splinter due to the unsupported weight. For safety, remember that the teeth are sharp and should not be placed on surfaces that they could damage.

How to Maintain a Ripsaw

Ripsaws require periodic sharpening by a professional saw sharpener or with a quality saw sharpening tool available at major hardware stores. Makes sure the sharpener is set up for ripsaws rather than the finer teeth of crosscut saws.

Tools Related to the Ripsaw

Other useful handsaws include the crosscut saw, backsaw, keyhole saw, coping saw, and hacksaw. In addition, power saws can be fitted with ripping and other special blades.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:
  • Home Repair Tools: Whether you prefer to use the Yellow Pages for anything that needs fixing around the house or consider yourself a regular do-it-yourselfer, there are a handful of tools that everyone should have in their tool box. Learn all about them in this article.
  • Handsaws: A handsaw is just what it sounds like -- a tool you use to manually cut something. Some of the most common handsaws include ripsaws, coping saws, and hacksaws. Find out more about handsaws here.
  • Coping Saw: A coping saw in another useful handsaw to have around the house. It is used most often to make curved cuts on thin materials. Learn more about coping saws here.