Sunday, October 1, 2023

What is a bow saw and how to identify its type and function?

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The saw bows They are one of the most common and indispensable hand tools in any garage, workshop or factory, and this is because they serve to perform an important task in almost any activity: cutting materials such as metals, plastics and others.

The problem arises when it comes time to buy new saw bows; the question that many people are asking is if the new tool it will serve for daily work, if it is the best option available on the market, if it is a tool ergonomic, if it is durable, and so on. Once the basics about this manual tool have been taken into account, we have prepared this guide taking into account the most frequent doubts among its buyers.

The saw bows They are cutting tools that allow separating or cutting elements, they are made up of a blade and have teeth (responsible for making the cuts). They can be used in a variety of materials (mainly metal, although there are adaptations for plastic, brick, ceramic, tile and in some cases wood), the configuration of the teeth will depend directly on the material to be cut, its size and hardness. Manual and automatic type saws can be found on the commercial market.

Traditional Saw Bow

Most of the saw bows They have a tooth configuration that allows them to cut in only one direction. The side that cuts corresponds to the one that is approached frontal for the teeth. Bows arrive as a consumable saw blade or hacksaw, then we will see their types:

Types of hand saw blades

Each job to be carried out has essential characteristics that require a special type of saw, For this reason, there is a series of equipment that allows each of these to be completed with the greatest possible efficiency. Just in case you want to know how a manual saw is made, here we tell you!

One way to identify the saw type it is by the number of teeth per inch that it contains, in this way it is possible to know which is its best application and in this way obtain more efficient results. Categories include:

  • 32 teeth per inch saws

This type is used to generate fine cuts, especially for materials such as steel or thin tubes, copper or tubing intended for heating. The number of teeth allows you to create cuts more exact, thanks to the proximity that exists between them. However, they tend to be more sensitive than other types of arrays.

  • 24 teeth per inch saws

This type of saws They are commonly used to cut medium thickness tubes, they can also be used for angled wall cuts. Saws with 24 teeth per inch usually have a wide variety of applications, among which are copper pipes, metal, iron, screws and nuts, among others.

  • 18 teeth per inch saws

The saw blades that have 18 teeth per inch have its main use in high hardness tubes (iron and steel), they have the ability to section surfaces affected by rust, without substantially losing their cutting properties.

  • 14 teeth per inch saws

For softer materials it is recommended to use a saw With 14 teeth per inch, these are designed to cut aluminum, tinplate, electrical cables and plastic. This type of saw is very useful and versatile for common activities at home.

  • 12 teeth per inch saws

This type of saws they are bi-metallic, they are normally used to cut medium diameter pipes, wood and plastic.

Choice of saw arches according to available saw blades

What if it breaks saw bow? Is it possible that it suffers some damage? Well, one of the most frequent problems is the wear of the thread that allows the blades to be tightened on the saw; Both the screw and the nut or butterfly that allow it to be tightened are subject to different types of shocks and stresses that make it possible to break after a certain time of use.

Another frequent problem is the wear or breakage of the handle, since it is the part that directly receives the manual force, and it does not always receive it properly.

Finally it may happen that simply the tool is rusty or tarnished by years of use, and you want to replace it with a newer one.

The most common leaves for saw bows They are those that are used to cut metals, which come in two lengths: junior 6 inches (150 mm) or, the most common, 12 inches (300 mm). Within both groups there are different configurations of hardness, arrangement and number of teeth per inch, the commercial varieties being those in the range of 14 to 32 teeth per inch (remember that, to make a successful cut, there must be at least three teeth in contact with the material). Metal cutting blades have teeth arranged in a wave, which alternately places the teeth to the left and right, thus making the incision greater than the width of the blade.

For 6-inch blades, it is necessary to choose a model from the saw bows called junior. These can be traditional —made with thick wire— or ergonomic, in high-density injected plastic —which usually require a greater investment.

junior hacksaw

junior hacksaw

For 12-inch sheets (300 mm or 305 mm), it will be necessary to choose a large hacksaw bow. Also here there are several models available, ranging from traditional to ergonomic and professional.

Ergonomic bow saw

Ergonomic bow saw

Finally, there are saw bows designed for wood cutting blades; these are usually a little larger (from 350 mm), wider and with a different fixing system, so not all sheets are compatible with the saw bows for metals.

Selection of saw arches according to the type of work to be carried out

If the idea is to buy the saw bows To later add the most appropriate sheet to the work to be done, it is convenient to first think about what type of material we will cut and what labor category we will take into account; cutting water pipes is not the same as cutting a solid block of steel or a piece of wood.

Plumbing: small and medium diameter plastic and metal pipes

In this case, it is most appropriate to have saw bows junior type, which in addition to being small and fitting perfectly in a work bag, are more comfortable to work with one hand. The blades for this type of bow are designed to cut metals and plastics (although they are also suitable for wood) such as pipes and profiles.

Garage use: general home and automotive parts

For general use in home and automotive parts, it is convenient to have saw bows for 300 mm sheets; preferably traditional bows, since they allow the blades to be rotated 90º to achieve lateral cuts (useful, for example, to eliminate protruding material in different projects; nails, plugs, etc.).

Hobbies: making scale models in plastic or metal

Many hobbyists use saw bows in two sizes: junior and standard, to achieve fast cutting of raw material (aluminum, styrene, PVC, wood, etc.) using 300 mm saws, and more precise cutting using saws junior.

For these cases, it is convenient to have ergonomic hacksaw, which allow a more precise and comfortable handling. It is important to have a comfortable way to adjust the blade tension.

Workshops and factories

Unquestionably, it is necessary to have saw bows robust and ergonomic. The main use in workshops and factories is to cut raw materials, which are generally metallic materials: aluminium, iron, steel.

A good saw bow For this use, it is the one that allows you to hold it with both hands, which allows a more precise cut and with less tendency to break the blade.

hacksaw bow

hacksaw bow


Usually these saw bows they are larger (to accommodate blades that can reach 30 inches) and even the fastening system can be different, since the blade works differently compared to wood.

They can also have one of their ends pointed, to facilitate penetration into work areas where it would not otherwise be possible to access.

large saw bow

large saw bow

How can the performance of saw frames be optimized?

The saw bows are designed to perform defined tasks on specific materials, there are certain recommendations that must be followed to ensure blade life is met and maximize blade performance. Among these recommendations are:

  • After exerting pressure on the downward movement, should not press on the upward movement.
  • In cutting work molten iron lubricant should not be applied.
  • no need to force the saw blade tightening it too much.
  • As far as possible, a cut should be finished with the same blade, avoiding using new saw blades on old cuts.
  • A device must not be shaken or subjected to unnecessary vibrations. saw bow.
  • It is recommended to perform the cut at a moderate speed, in order to avoid an excessive increase in temperature in the teeth of the blade. saw.
  • The saw blade must be positioned correctly, depending on the configuration of the teeth, in order to ensure its proper function.

By complying with the specified recommendations, it will be possible to preserve the operation of the saw blades, maintaining its optimal physical and cutting properties.

What safety measures should be applied in work with saw arches?

cutting work with saws represents a latent risk for the person handling the toolThere are many factors that can cause an accident. In order to minimize and/or avoid the occurrence of incidents, it is necessary to comply with the following security measures:

  • When starting the cut it is necessary to create a channel, in order to prevent the blade from jumping and causing injuries.
  • When the cut is being finalized, decrease pressure, to avoid a violent cut.
  • A blade in poor condition can break and due to the applied tension they have the possibility of generating injuries.
  • It is necessary to use gloves to protect the hands and the piece to be cut must be firmly held, avoiding sharp and sudden movements.
  • cut way controlled, without applying too much pressure and with constant speed.
  • At the time of cut a profile, the task should be started from the widest side. This is recommended to increase the contact area and maintain a higher level of stability.

In order to ensure a clean, effective and safe cut, it is necessary to comply with all the recommendations mentioned. Each job has its special characteristics and must be analyzed before starting the task, in order to guarantee the best performance and extend the useful life of the equipment. saw bows.

Other factors to consider

  • look for those saw bows whose fixing mechanism is metallic, preferably, and that does not interfere with the cutting process.
  • The saw bows Traditional blades allow the blades to rotate 90º, which allows them to be operated laterally, which is very useful for making cuts on the surface of different products.

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