By: Fix-It Club

A backsaw is a small handsaw useful for woodworking projects.


What Is a Backsaw

A backsaw is a specialized handsaw for cutting tenons (joints or grooves) in wood. The blade is rectangular, 8 to 14 inches in length, with a hardwood or plastic handle and a metal-reinforced back edge (opposite the teeth) to keep the blade from bending while cutting. There are 11 to 20 teeth, or points, per inch. Backsaws are used to cut across the wood grain similar to the larger and more flexible crosscut saw.

How to Safely Use a Backsaw

To safely use a backsaw, first make sure that the wood is firmly held in a wood vice or by clamps so it does not move during cutting. Measure and mark the cut with a pencil. Place the saw's central teeth on the line and push the saw to start the cut. Continue by carefully guiding the teeth over the line, steadying the blade as needed with your other hand. Work slowly and carefully for best results. When done, carefully lay the saw down where the teeth will not damage other surfaces or cut you.

How to Maintain a Backsaw

Backsaws require periodic sharpening by a professional saw sharpener or with a quality saw sharpening tool available at major hardware stores and some larger saw shops. Keep your backsaw sharp for safety and for optimum cuts.

Tools Related to the Backsaw

Other useful handsaws include the crosscut saw, ripsaw, keyhole saw, coping saw, and hacksaw. For finer joints, use a smaller dovetail saw. In addition, power saws can be fitted with tenon-cutting blades.


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