The Best Hand Saw for Cutting Plywood in 2024

hand saw

Cutting plywood with a handsaw wouldn’t be my first choice, but if it’s the only tool you have here’s how to do it. Choosing the right saw is crucial for clean, accurate cuts, which makes a significant difference in the final quality of your project. Clamp two guide boards a kerf width apart where the cut will be made. This will ensure that your saw does not meander off the cut line, providing a much more accurate cut.

Can I Use a Hand Saw?

Yes – handsaws are capable of cutting plywood. While I believe that using a CNC router or circular saw are better options – you may not have easy access to one of these or the budget to purchase your own. If you are just starting out and don’t wish to invest in heavy duty saws, a good quality handsaw can do the job.

How to CUT PLYWOOD With A Handsaw on a Budget

Why Choosing the Right Hand Saw Matters for Plywood

Precision: For me, accurate and clean cuts are essential in plywood to prevent splintering and rough edges. A good hand saw ensures the edges are smooth and clean.

Material Considerations: Plywood’s layered construction can be tricky to cut. Using the wrong tool can lead to uneven cuts and damaged layers. The right saw makes the job easier and the cuts cleaner. For example a Japanese pull saw is a great tool for making precise cuts in solid timber, but I would not recommend it for plywood as it’s is made up of cross laminated timbers.

Project Success: The quality of your saw directly impacts the quality of your project. With the right saw, you can achieve professional results and ensure your project is successful.

Key Features to Look for in a Hand Saw for Plywood

Tooth Count (TPI – Teeth Per Inch): I’ve learned that a higher TPI is crucial for smooth cuts in plywood. It minimizes splintering and gives you a finer finish.

Blade Length: A longer blade offers better stability and makes cutting easier. It helps maintain straight lines and reduces the effort needed for each stroke.

Tooth Design: Different tooth designs serve different purposes. Crosscut teeth are great for cutting across the grain, while rip teeth are for cutting along the grain. Combination teeth can handle both.

Ergonomics: A comfortable handle is important for extended use. It reduces hand fatigue and allows for better control over the saw.

Top Hand Saws for Cutting Plywood

Stanley FatMax Handsaw

Known for its high TPI and ergonomic handle, this saw is designed for precision. It’s durable and easy to use, making precise cuts with less effort, but it can be heavier than some other hand saws, which might be tiring over long periods.

Shark Corp 10-2312 Carpentry Saw

This saw has a fine-tooth blade and a compact design. It’s versatile, affordable, and makes smooth cuts, yet it may not be ideal for very thick plywood sheets.

Irwin Tools Universal Handsaw

Features a universal tooth design that works well for both crosscutting and ripping. It’s robust and versatile, suitable for various cuts. Cutting thicker plywood might require more effort.

Tips for Cutting Plywood with a Hand Saw

Secure the Plywood: Always clamp the plywood securely to prevent it from moving during the cut. This ensures accuracy and safety.

Marking the Cut Line: Use a pencil and a straightedge to mark a clear, straight cut line. This guide helps you stay on track.

Using a Guide: A straightedge or guide can help maintain a straight cut. I find it particularly useful for long cuts.

Cutting Technique: Start slowly, use smooth and even strokes, and let the saw do the work. Avoid forcing the saw, which can cause splintering.

Maintenance and Care for Hand Saws

Regular Cleaning: Keep the saw blade clean to ensure smooth cuts. Wipe it down after each use to remove sawdust and resin.

Sharpening the Teeth: Periodically sharpen the saw teeth to maintain optimal performance. A sharp saw makes cutting easier and more precise.

Storage Tips: Store your hand saw properly to prevent damage. Hanging it on a pegboard or storing it in a toolbox keeps it safe and ready for use.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Forcing the Saw: Applying too much pressure can lead to rough cuts and splintering. Let the saw do the work with smooth, steady strokes.

Ignoring TPI: Choosing the wrong TPI for the job can result in poor cuts. Always match the TPI to the type of cut you need.

Improper Support: Properly supporting the plywood is crucial to avoid binding and ensure a clean cut. Make sure the plywood is well-supported on both sides of the cut.

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