How to Properly Use a Rip Saw

What You'll Need
Rip saw
Meter ruler
Soft cloth
Light oil

A rip saw is a useful type of handsaw for your woodworking projects. It is specifically designed to facilitate rip cuts in a wooden work piece. A rip cut is one that runs in the same direction as the wood grain. The saw consists of a metal blade, blade holder and handle. Special teeth on the blade act like a chisel. You can make straight cuts through grain lines due to the chisel effect of the teeth. It isn’t difficult to use a rip saw as shown in the guide below. You also need to exercise some care for your personal safety.

Step 1 – Prepare the Wood

Place the wood on a sawhorse and secure it well. This will prevent movement of the wood as you cut and give you stability. Use a meter ruler and piece of chalk to draw a straight line on the work piece. This will help to promote accuracy. The line should run parallel to the wood grain.

Step 2 – Cut a Notch

Stand directly over one end of the cutting line. Place the finer teeth of your blade at the tip of the opposite end of the line. The finer teeth are located at the tip of the blade. Make a ¼ inch notch in the work piece with short strokes of the blade.

Step 3 – Cut through the Wood

Begin at the notch and cut through the work piece with long strokes. The saw will gradually get closer to where you stand as you cut. It may take some time and effort, especially with a wider work piece. It is a good idea to wipe the saw with a soft cloth to remove dust and wooden bits as you proceed. This will allow you to cut more smoothly.

Step 4 – As You Finish

Be sure to support the work piece when almost done with the cut. If unsupported, it will splinter as it falls. This will not give you neat or accurate results.

Step 5 – Storage

Use a soft cloth to wipe some light oil onto the saw. Store your rip saw in a safe place. It is best to hang it up by the handle. Clear the wooden debris from your worksite and dispose of accordingly.


  • Always maintain sight of your line when you cut.
  • It is normal for the rip saw blade to become dull from use with time. It may also break during tough cuts. You can obtain a new blade from a hardware or home improvement store. Simply remove the screws that secure the blade, replace the damaged blade and re-screw.
  • You may also sharpen your saw if it becomes dull. A dull saw will not give you a neat job. It also increases the risk of injury.
  • It is best to use full strokes when you cut for higher accuracy. It also helps to ensure that you don’t rely only on a small section of the blade in the middle which dulls the blade.