How to hand saw straight

Basic sawing can often be a bit tricky for an inexperienced woodworker. You’ll usually run into problems like poor cutting speed, a blade becoming stuck during the cutting process, or trouble getting your initial cut started.

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Here are some further tips for how to hand saw straight:

How to hand saw straight
  • For beginners the most effective way is to use guides. The type of guide will depend upon the length of the cut.
  • Mark or score the wood with a guide line where you’ll cut using a knife or marking gauge.  
  • For longer cuts, make a jig using 2 straight boards with a factory edge and identical to the length of the cut. 
  • Clamp work pieces in order to establish a straight, accurate cut. Make sure to also secure the cutting surface. If clamping the second guide could be a problem, screw it all the way down to the board to be cut. 
  • You might wish to practice some cuts on scrap boards, take some time, and listen to how you’re cutting, which will ultimately improve how to hand saw straight.
  • a Quick rip or crosscut creates a guide fence. Use 1″x 2″ boards with a factory edge, stacked 2 or 3 boards high (1 1/2″ to 2 1/4″) and clamp them to the board to be cut at the cut line. 
  • Lay the teeth of the saw blade against the guide and secure the second guide to sandwich the saw blade. Use long, even strokes and not shorter ones, as the result will be smoother, straighter cuts. 
  • Do not twist the blade, instead keep it as perpendicular to the work-piece as possible.
  • With light pressure, allowing the saw to do the work, draw the saw across the board to begin the cut while pressing the saw blade against the guide. If the length of the saw is pressed against the whole length of the guide, the cut should be straight.
  • Continue following the guideline, going back and forth.
  • Let the cut-off piece fall.

The same way you get to Carnegie Hall, practice, practice, and practice. 🙂

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Which Saw for which jobs

a Wooden saw is designed to rip-, meaning it cuts wood along the grain. They meet the wood at close to a 90-degree angle, which causes them to bite aggressively. A shallower angle would let material slide over the teeth more easily, helped by the ramp of the teeth’ slope and the large “gullet” between each tooth also helps carry sawdust out. The teeth on a rip saw are essentially a row of chisels.

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Sawdust from a rip saw is like a bunch of little chisel shavings

The Crosscut saw is different because the wood has different weaknesses across the grain than along the grain, and the angle is also shallower because these teeth are designed to slice through the fibers rather than scrape through them as the rip saw.

Conventional wood saws, need sharpening and resetting regularly and not really worth the effort. European style wood saws are designed to cut on the forward stroke, but Japanese cut on the backward stroke and is designed to leave a cleaner finish, especially on the first stroke as it pulls the fibers into the wood rather than away

Western-style wood saws almost always cut with the push stroke. Japanese style saws cut with the pull stroke; allowing for a much thinner blade.

When ripping wood which has been placed flat, a push stroke saw runs more smoothly than a pull stroke, since the grain is “downhill”.

For metal, the direction is irrelevant.

What hand saw cuts metal

A Hacksaw cannot slice or scrape as a wood cutting saw. Essentially, a hacksaw abrades through a piece of metal and has small teeth that are not made to cut aggressively. If they were aggressive, the teeth would break off. It’s the steady abrasive action of all those little teeth working together that cuts through the metal. 

More rigid blades (including those with frames) are meant to cut with the push stroke because you can apply more force pushing. There are not many successful hand saws that cut metal which does not have a frame. The frameless ones are usually too thick or tend to break easily. Metal saws are also highly tempered to make them really hard to enable them to cut the metal, but the blades are also susceptible to fracturing.

Both wood- and metal saw teeth are designed to clear sawn material. Wood saw teeth tend to be vertical and more v-shaped, whereas metal teeth will be slanted and can be placed in the saw with the teeth facing either towards or away from you depending on which way you prefer, they are generally finer and closer together. Wood saws today do have hardened teeth but not as much as metal and are designed to be thrown away when blunt.

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  • Solid metal frame designed for tension up to 225 lbs.
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  • 90&Deg; and 180° adjustable blade angles allowing flush cuts
  • Large, comfortable tension knob with a Full-Grip handle



  • Allows for a 4.375 inch cutting depth and can handle many cutting applications.
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  • Construction is loose.
  • Can Shift or wobble about at times.


  • Metal thickened frame. High-quality aluminum alloy material, making its life more durable.
  • Versatile frame equipped with saw blades for different purposes is widely used for sawing steel, wood, PVC.



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  • Difficult to set the blade.


  • Combines normal hacksaws with a small hacksaw to cut items in restricted areas, usually gaps.
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  • Rotating switch at the rear of the hand hacksaw is used to replace blades in an efficient way. Rubber handle prevents slipping.


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