Power Tools: Saws for Wood, Metal, Concrete

  July 22, 2011

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is understanding the different types of saws.

Traditional wood-cutting saws include handsaws, powered circular saws, table saws, band saws, jigsaws, scroll saws, reciprocating saws, miter saws, and radial saws. For technicians working with metal, masonry or plastic materials, the choices include abrasive cutoff, hack-, band-, chain-, and reciprocating saws, both table-mounted and portable.

Band saws, jigsaws, scroll saws and reciprocating saws are the choices for circular or irregularly curved cuts. Technicians primarily use reciprocating saws for making rough cuts and performing demolition work. They can make straight or curved cuts in ferrous and non-ferrous metal, plastics, wallboard, and wood.

Scroll saws can deliver smoother, more intricate cuts than jigsaws and are ideal for use on wood, plastic, and even softer metals. Standard jigsaws move only in one stroke direction, with a return spring in the other direction, causing some blade distortion, rough cuts, and even broken blades.

Circular saws and reciprocating saws can make plunge cuts for electrical-box openings in drywall and paneling, as well as floor and wall openings for pipes or conduit.

In addition to making straight cuts like radial, table and portable circular saws, a compound miter saw can adjust quickly for single- or compound-bevel cuts, as well as miter angle cuts in one set-up. It is faster and more accurate than either a handsaw or a miter box.

Concrete saws feature a diamond-tipped circular blade or chain and can incorporate electric, pneumatic, gas, or hydraulic power.

Fast-cutting, abrasive cutoff saws enable high-efficiency cutting of ferrous, non-ferrous and plastic tubes, pipes, bars, rebar, flats, conduit, and wire.


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