What is the Best Hack Saw?
If you are planning on starting a home workshop, do some DYI or at least buying the most essential elements for your toolbox, you probably came up with the idea of buying a hand saw. The problem is, there are so many different kinds of them, that it is really hard for an inexperienced person to come up with the most adequate tool for the use they want to give to it. A hack saw can make for the perfect choice if you know how it works and its applications, and in this article, we will tell you everything you need to learn.
What is a Hack Saw?
A hack saw is essentially a cutting tool designed to cut through wood, metals, bone and plastic.
Most hacksaws are hand saws with a C-shaped frame that holds a blade under tension. Such hacksaws have a handle, usually a pistol grip, with pins for attaching a narrow disposable blade. The frames may also be adjustable to accommodate blades of different sizes. A screw or other mechanism is used to put the thin blade under tension.
On hacksaws, as with most frame saws, the blade can be mounted with the teeth facing toward or away from the handle, resulting in cutting action on either the push or pull stroke. In normal use, cutting vertically downwards with work held in a bench vice, hacksaw blades are set to be facing forwards.
On most occasions, it has a fine-toothed sharp metallic blade, held both by its handle and the mounting frame. Saw blades, which are usually 12 inches long, come in different shapes and configurations; the number of teeth on them varies according to the material they are designed to cut, but they are mostly made of high-speed steel. This guarantees a long tooth life and good performance even without frequent sharpening, despite the fact that blades can be very brittle and should be handled with care.
Standard hacksaw blade lengths are 10 to 12 in (250 to 300 mm). Blades can be as small as 6 in (150 mm). Powered hacksaws may use large blades in a range of sizes, or small machines may use the same hand blades.
Types of Hack Saws
The majority of hack saw models are hand held saws, and they are designed for home use, but there are also electric hack saws for industrial applications. A power saw is usually powered by an electric motor, and it uses a steady flow of coolant to prevent overheating of the blades. This not only avoids damage to the teeth but also any other kind of safety risk to the saw operator. Electric hack saws (also known as radial hack saw) are slowly being replaced by other types of power tools designed for metalworking, like cold saws and bandsaws.
But the most common hack saws variants are eventually the following ones:
- Panel hacksaw has a frame made of a deep, thin sheet aligned behind the blade’s kerf, so that the saw could cut into panels of sheet metal without the length of cut being restricted by the frame. The frame follows the blade down the kerf into the panel.
- Junior hacksaws are a small version with a half-size blade. Like coping saws, the blade has pins that are held by notches in the frame. Although potentially a useful tool for a toolbox or in confined spaces, the quality of blades in the Junior size is restricted and they are only made in the simple low alloy steels, not HSS. This restricts their usefulness.
Note that hack saws should not be confused with rotary hacksaw which is a type of blade used with electric table saw.
Uses of a Hack Saw
As it was mentioned before, hack saws are mainly used to cut metals like steel, iron and copper, and also some kind of plastics and bone. So this is not the kind of saw Bear Grylls would take along for one of his survival experiences, but it is one that you would definitely need to have at home, either for the typical repairs you might have to do at your house or to build something in your garage workshop.
Even if this tool was conceived as a metal cutting hand saw, it can also be used to cut through softer materials, like wood. However, if you are looking for wood cutting tools, a carpenter saw or any other kind of wood saw is the way to go. Otherwise, you will damage your saw blades and frequent replacement or sharpening will be needed.
How to use it
Here are some additional tips about how to maintain a hacksaw:
- Safeguard your hands: Always wear gloves before cutting to provide your hands safe when engaging in your cutting task. All kinds of cutting require safeguarding your hands.
- Wear defensive glasses: If you are involved in the cutting of metals, then you should not only protect your hands from getting hurt but your eyes. All kinds of metal cutting require wearing defensive glasses to avoid small materials from cutting a metal come in contact with your eyes. Glass can be used as a defense to protect your eyes.
- Always keep your hacksaw in the right place after usage: When storing your hacksaw, store it in the right place. Keeping it in the wrong place can cause an injury to someone that comes in contact with it if not well kept. Also, clean the hacksaw on a regular basis to prevent it from rusting since the blades are metals.
Best Hack Saw to pick
45° or 90° Blade Angle used for standard and flush cuts
High Tension securely holds the blade up to 330lbs
Low Profile for cutting in tight spaces
There is a huge selection of good hack saws available in the market this year, and most of them can be bought either online or in specialized hardware stores. Still, finding the best hack saw is a complicated task if you do not know what to look for. Manufacturing quality should be a priority when buying a reliable and durable hack saw. It guarantees ease of handling and reduces additional costs, in the form of saw blades replacement or sharpening. Brands like DeWalt, Lenox (cheapest alternative) and Bahco make excellent products that are also a great value for the money; they last for years and come with a lifetime warranty, easily repaying the initial investment.
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