Hand saws put to the test

By Canadian Home Workshop

Photo by Juan Luna

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Sure, you have cordless power saws for all kinds of cuts. But sometimes, the old handsaw is quicker, cleaner and quieter. No batteries to charge or cords to run. Just pick it up and cut.

Stanley 15″ FaxMax handsaw

Tester: Deon Haupt, 
Carpenter

The test: Cut 2x4s, plywood strips and PVC piping.

Pros: The handle is comfortable and has a place for your index finger if you, like me, keep it out along the saw while cutting. The “blade armour” worked well to keep the strokes smooth, and there was no binding in any of my cuts.

Cons: The black coating started coming off the teeth after only a few cuts.

V
erdict: A hungry animal that will power through almost anything you feed it.

Details: 9 tpi; 15″ long; $22;  stanleytools.com

Mastercraft 14″ aggressive handsaw

Tester: Cheryl Caven
, Wood artist

The test: Cut several 2x4s to length.

Pros: The saw’s ability to cut on the push and pull strokes made for fast work. I appreciated the precise 90° angle between the top blade edge and the handle, which made marking efficient.

Cons: The double-edged teeth didn’t offer any improvement in starting cuts, which needed several pull strokes at the start.

Verdict: Great saw for the home-owner or handy person to have in the shop.

Details: 7 tpi; 14″ long; $13; canadiantire.ca

Irwin 15″ universal handsaw

Tester: Geoff Bell, 
Amateur woodworker

The test: Cutting various hardwood and softwood boards.

Pros: Cuts started easily with minimal chatter. The saw cut quickly in both hardwoods and softwoods. It didn’t bind, even when cutting through a 4″ x 5″ board. There was almost no tearout.

Cons: The saw doesn’t cut as efficiently on rip cuts as on cross cuts. Leaves rough surfaces on hardwoods.

Verdict: A fast-cutting, easy-to-use saw for general carpentry, especially cross cuts.

Details: 11 tpi; 15″ long; $18; irwin.com

Kobalt 15″ aggressive-tooth saw

Tester: Jana Bookholt, 
Carpenter

The test: Cut pallets into smaller sections.

Pros: The saw cut through a stack of pallets very quickly and with little effort. It’s light, and its rubber grip was quite comfortable. I like that the handle is conveniently designed so you can easily mark off 90° and 45° angles.

Cons: The tooth design means you’re going to get 
a rough cut.

Verdict: A good saw for rugged projects that might
damage your finer tools.

Details: 9 tpi, 15″ long; $14; lowes.ca


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