Wood Saw Types


Whatever your woodworking project is, there is a saw that can get the job done. It is important to plan your project and have the proper saws ready to go to work. Having the correct equipment will save time and money in the long run. Trying to cut a curve on a table saw is impossible and may ruin the piece of wood or the saw blade. Using a hand saw for long cuts would take a very long time.


  • "Handsaw" is a broad term for manual specialty saws. Some are designed to cut with the grain of the wood, while others cut against it. Back saws are made for fine woodcutting, molding and trim. They have a stiff blade with a reinforced top edge. Most American handsaws cut on the push stroke. Three Japanese handsaws are popular in the U.S. The dozuki, kataba and ryoba cut hard and soft wood on the pull stroke.

Circular Saws

  • Circular saws are available as corded and cordless versions, and they are handheld and portable. A circular saw that is attached to the underside of a cutting table is called a table saw. Circular saws are named for their circular blade that cuts wood by spinning. Handheld circular saws are guided with the hand along the wood being cut. On a table saw, the blade sticks up through the table and the wood is guided along the blade. They are used primarily for ripping or cross cutting.

Radial Arm Saw

  • A radial arm saw is a type of circular saw. The blade is above the work surface and attached to an arm. The arm enables the circular saw to be slid along the wood as it cuts. This saw is limited in its use since it can only cut boards that are no wider than the length of the arm.

Band Saw

  • A band saw is a high-powered stationary tool that can cut through wood up to 12 inches thick. It is capable of cutting straight lines as well as curves and circles. It is a popular saw for making furniture.

Scroll Saw

  • Scroll saws are used for cutting along intricate lines in thin wood up to 2 inches thick. It uses very thin blades that allow the cutting of very small radius curves. It is the most popular saw for wood crafting projects.


  • Jigsaws are the portable version of a band saw. They can cut wood less than about 3 inches thick, depending on the length of the blade. Most jigsaw blades are about 3 inches long.

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  • Photo Credit detail of industrial saw for furniture industry image by Tomo Jesenicnik from Fotolia.com
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