What is a Hacksaw?

This is the place to come if you want to learn everything there is to know about hacksaws.

A hacksaw with all of its parts labeled | Construction Pro TipsCourtesy of Stanley Tools

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What isa Hacksaw?

A hacksaw is a hand-powered, small-toothed saw used for cuttingmetalpipes, rods, brackets, etc.Hacksaws canalsocut through plastic.The hacksawhas aU-shapedframeanda handle at one end.Hacksaws have small pinsat each end of the framethat receiveablade. A tensionernut or knobis then used to extend the length of the frame, which puts tension on the bladeand locks it inplace.The blade can be installed to cut on either the push or pull stroke; cutting on the push stroke is more common.Here are the basic parts:

  1. D-handle
  2. Tensioner knob
  3. Blade tensioner
  4. Blade Pins
  5. Blade
  6. Frame

Many hacksaws have a two-part adjustable frameand a pistol grip handle.

Hacksaws are used by plumbers to cut pipes and occasionally by electricians to cut conduit. The hacksaw got its name because historicallythese saws did not cut smoothly. However, developments in the tooling have improved the cutting precision of the hacksaw.These days, most pros cut metal parts with areciprocatingsaw, but they keep hacksaws on hand for jobs that need a more delicatetouch.

How isahacksawused?

The basics of operating a hacksaw:

  • Be sure that the blade is tightened and tensioned
  • Mark the pipe or conduit at the appropriate length
  • Line up the blade with the mark
  • Draw the saw back and forth on the mark

Safety tips for using hacksaws:

  • Wear appropriate work gloves and safety glasses
  • Be aware of burs and sharp edges during and after sawing

What are the Differences Between Typesof Hacksaws?

  • Some hacksaws can hold both10-in.and12-in.blades
  • There are 6-in. hacksaws available
  • Handle styles vary
  • Compact/mini hacksawsconsist of just a handle and a blade, similar to a knife
  • Tensioner mechanisms vary
  • Some hacksaws can pivot the blades to a 45 angle to allow for flush cuts

What Makes a Good Hacksaw?

  • Sturdy frame
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Pivoting blade angle
  • Easily adjustable tensioner

Stanleymakes a high qualityhacksaw.

Hacksaw tip for cutting through rebar | Construction Pro TipsConstruction Pro Tips

Hacksaw Pro Tip:Prevent Skating

Its less likely that the blade will skate around your workpiece if you start yourcutwith a few backstrokes.The opposite is true if your blade is set up to cut on the pull stroke.

Get more saw tips here.

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LeRoy Demarest
I have worked for over a decade as an environmental scientist working on an advanced bioremdiation clean up project. For the past six years I have also worked as an adjunct instructor for several colleges, both F2F and online, teaching a number of science courses. Finally, I have been freelance writing for a variety of publications on the topics of: gardening, environment, construction, science, science education, academics and technical work.