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Saw like tools have a long ancestry stretching back nearly 10,000 years to the Neolithic era. However, they didn’t develop as quickly as some other tools from that time such as axes. None of the early sawing tools could cut right through a piece of wood, and they were more like knives for the severing or fraying of material. The saw designs we know today started to develop when the ancient world became more experienced at casting bronze and iron. Saws from this time were all designed as pull saws, with sharply raked teeth and a blade length of around 12-14in. The Romans furthered these designs by tensioning the blade within a wooden frame and later making the first backed saw we know of, this meant they could make much longer blades. The Romans also came up with the setting of the teeth so that more waste cleared and less friction generated, thus making huge steps towards the tools we use today.

Nowadays there are a huge range of saws for all types of applications, these include:

  • Tenon Saws which are sometimes described as ‘Back Saws’ have a straight parallel blade with brass or steel along the back for rigidity, used for cutting tenons and small timber.
  • Dovetail Saws are a smaller version of the Tenon saw. They are particularly useful for cutting dovetail joints and time under 1/2in thick.
  • Veneer Saws are thin saws for the cutting of floorboards and veneers.
  • Laminate Saws have thicker blades than a standard saw for increased stability and precision whilst cutting laminates.
  • Insulation Saws have waved toothing specially made for insulation and plastic cutting.
  • All purpose Saws are made for wood and metal with a blade capable of cutting through nails without damaging the blade.
  • Compass Saws are similar to padsaws but have a curved handle. They are designed for cutting small holes once a pilot hole has been drilled.
  • Drywall Saws are similar again similar in design to a padsaw. Their aggressive toothing is designed for a clean cut and high waste remove in plasterboard and drywall.
  • Pullsaws can be double or single sided, the pull action allows for a very thin blade, which in turn reduces waste and friction and therefore requiring less force to cut.
  • Padsaws are frameless saws with the blade projecting from a handle. Traditionally the blade is long and slim but the handle can also hold broken hacksaw blades.
  • Hand Mitre Saws are designed for cutting a variety of angles and mitres. The base allows the workpiece to be accurately measured and placed before cutting.
  • Masonry Saws are carbide tipped and used for cutting cellular blocks. The higher end versions will cut bricks, stone and cement.
  • Coping Saws have short deep frames with narrow fine tooth blades and are used to make curved cuts in wood and plastic.
  • Fret & Piercing SawsFret Saws] are similar in design to a coping saw but with a much deeper bow to the frame for working further from the edge.
  • Hacksaws are a fine toothed saw originally for cutting metal. The fixed frame takes blades of 1 size usually 10 or 12 inch.
  • Junior Saws many types of saw now offer a junior or Toolbox version for when the bigger version is too big.
  • Bowsaws were originally designed to cut curves in timber for joinery work, they are now commonly associated with a tubular saw for cutting logs and wet wood.