How to Properly Use a Crosscut Saw How to Properly Use a Crosscut Saw
Crosscut saws are designed with teeth which have been bevel filed for sharp edges on both sides. This style of sharpening is used best when cutting against the grain of wood or to cut plywood in any direction. For softwoods, a saw blade with 8 to 9 teeth points per inch is best; for hardwood 12 points per inch. A standard saw length of 26 inches can handle most all jobs. Whenever using a saw be sure to keep the position of all hands and fingers in the forfront of concentration as well as the placement of legs beneathe the board.
Step 1 - Creating a Kerf
Support the board off the ground so that the saw can be placed at a 45-or 60-degree angle to the cutting area. For lumber use the saw at a 45-degree angle and a 60-degree angle for plywood. Most splintering will occur on the side facing downward, so orient the board appropriately. Make a few slow, deliberate upward strokes along the beginning edge of the board to create a groove. This groove is known as a "kerf" and used to direct the future motions of the saw. Once the kerf is established and the blade can fit easily into the groove without binding, begin downward strokes.
Step 2 - Guidence
Place a scrap piece of lumber along the portion of the board you wish to cut as a guiding line. This will allow for both hands to be free from the blade at all times. Once the kerf has been started, move your free hand to hold the board being worked with. Keep the free hand well away from the saw at all times and only use it to stabilize. Pointing the index finger of the hand holding the saw can also help with control.
Step 3 - Correct Strokes
When using a crosscut saw, allow the saw to do most of the work. The blades are designed for most of the cutting to be created with downward motion. The downstroke should not be forced, however. Allow the weight of the saw to do the work by only applying light pressure. Keeping the flat portion of the blade at a 90-degree angle, motion the saw up and down in a rhythmic fashion to set the pace of the stroke.
Step 4 - Binding and Straying
If the blade begins to stray from the desired line, readjust it with a slight twist of the handle. Twists which are too large can create binding, so make large adjustments slowly over time. If the board begins to bind, either have an assistent help hold one end up, or place a screwdriver into the kerf to force it open and widen the cutting area.
Step 5 - Ending
When the end of the cut is near, move the free hand to support the almost severed piece of lumber and aviod splitting. As the peice breaks free it will splinter and often split from the larger board.