What Are The Types of Power Saws?


Using the appropriate power saw is critical to doing the best work on your cutting project. Ranging from chain saws that cut down trees to jig saws that create intricate patterns, power saws come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

Circular Saw

  • A circular saw cuts straight lines over short or long distances. They are powered by an electric motor and can be fitted with different sizes and types of cutting blades. The advantage of the circular saw is its portability. It accomplishes many of the same jobs as a stationary table saw, but is lighter and more compact. Carpenters primarily use circular saws for quick and efficient framing work.

Jig or Saber Saw

  • Use a jig saw if you are cutting curved lines. Jig saws are equipped with a metal foot that rides along the surface of the material. A small blade moves up and down---like a sewing machine---along the cutting line. While slower than other power saws, the jig saw is more accurate. Its small blade makes this saw ideal for intricate cutting or scroll work.

Reciprocating Saw

  • The reciprocating saw's motorized blade moves back and forth like a hand saw, only much faster. It is best suited for demolition work, such as cutting through wall studs or removing sections of sub-flooring. The long flat blade works well in tight corners. When fitted with a special blade for metal, the reciprocating saw cuts through plumbing and rusted bolts.

Chain Saw

  • Depending on their size, chain saws can trim hedges, remove branches and fell trees. The saw's motor propels a cutting chain---much like a bike chain---around a flat metal arm at high speeds. Gas-powered chain saws are more mobile and powerful than electric versions.

Table Saw

  • The table saw efficiently performs a variety of cutting tasks, but is less portable than other power saws. Generally, the heavier the saw, the more powerful and accurate it is. The apparatus consists of an adjustable circular blade mounted in the center of a metal support table. Thanks to the table, this saw can cut larger stock with greater precision than a circular saw. A rip-fence keeps stock on a straight line as it passes through the blade, ensuring a uniform cut.

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  • Power Saws; Workbench Magazine, Workbench Magazine Staff; 1995
  • Renovation; Michael W. Litchfield; 2005
  • The Table Saw Book; R. J. DeCristoforo; 1987
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