Keyhole Saw

By: Fix-It Club

A keyhole saw is a specialized saw that is useful for making small holes in wood or drywall.


What Is a Keyhole Saw

A keyhole saw, or compass saw, has a small pointed blade and a wood or plastic handle. It is useful for cutting holes in softer woods or in drywall, such as cutting a hole in a wall for a new electric switch. Most keyhole saws have a single handle to which various blades can be fitted. The blades vary in width, length, and number of teeth, or points. Blade lengths range from 5 to 15 inches, and there are 5 to 20 teeth per inch, with 8 to 10 being most common.

How to Safely Use a Keyhole Saw

To safely use a keyhole saw, select the appropriate blade and firmly attach it to the handle. Depending on the material being cut, a starter hole may need to be drilled in the wood or drywall so the tip of the keyhole saw can be inserted. For drywall holes, use shorter-length blades so the tip of the blade does not punch through the opposite wall. Mark the location to be cut with a pencil.

To cut, move the saw forward and back carefully to follow the line. Do not apply excess pressure during the cut or the blade may become jammed in its cut and make further cutting or removal difficult. For safety, make sure the keyhole saw blades are sharp and that handles are firmly attached.

How to Maintain a Keyhole Saw

Most keyhole saws are relatively inexpensive to purchase, so professional sharpening may be more costly than purchasing a new blade or saw.

Tools Related to the Keyhole Saw

Other useful handsaws include the crosscut saw, ripsaw, backsaw, coping saw, and hacksaw. In addition, electric-powered keyhole saws, such as reciprocating saws, are available.


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