Sometimes by the time you’ve set up everything you need for a power saw, you
could have finished the job with a handsaw – but it’s only worth doing if you
get a good straight cut, so here’s a few tips to help you cut straight and
For timber use a panel saw. Guide the saw at the start with your thumb, then
move it away. Hold the saw square to the timber and follow your line. Don’t
force the saw, it will cut at its own pace. Use as much of the blade as you are
For metals use a hacksaw. Choose a sturdy one with a comfortable handle and
quick adjustment. There are mini varieties for getting into tight places. Blades
can be fitted forwards or backwards, and even sideways.
To avoid nasty screeching noises (and to help your blade last longer) lift the
blade slightly as you draw it back between strokes.
For intricate cuts you’ll need a coping saw, or maybe a compass saw. Be patient
and gentle with these unless you enjoy replacing broken blades!
For fine joints in furniture and joinery, dovetail saws and tenon saws have a
rigid back to keep the blade straight, but this back restricts the depth the
saws can cut.
Give yourself plenty of time to practice with a saw. Use scrap material to get
the hang of a saw before you start on expensive materials, and don’t waste your
time on blunt, rusty, loose and bent old saws.