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Glossary Index




Saws are classified by length, tooth pitch and type. Thus a 22 x 10 Panel is a 22in long, 10 points per inch panel saw.


The traditional bowsaw was designed to cut curves in timber for joining work, however the term bowsaw is now much more commonly associated with the tubular frame log saw, which is designed to cut logs, wet wood and for pruning.

Breasted Toothline

The toothline curves downwards in the middle of the saw. This makes the cut more effective where the greatest pressure occurs (i.e. the middle of the toothline) and the saw more wear resistant.

Compass Saws

Similar in design to a keyhole saw but used for cutting circles.

Coping Saws

Have short deep frames with very narrow fine tooth blades and are used to make curved cuts in wood or plastic.

Cross Cut Saws

These saws are for cutting across the grain.

Dovetail Saws

A smaller version of the tenon saw with 15 or more P.P.I. on an 8in even thinner blade. Particularly useful for cutting dovetail joints and for cutting timber less than 1/2 inch thick.

Fleam Tooth Or Cross Cut Saws

Fleam tooth saws are used for cutting across the grain, and cut on both the forward and the return stroke.

Flooring Saws

Have curved blades with teeth on the underside and an angled top front. For cutting floorboards in situ for inspection purposes.

Fret Saws

Similar in design to a coping saw but with a much deeper bow to the frame for working further from the edge.

All-Purpose Saws

A saw for wood and metal, with a blade capable of cutting through standard nails without damaging the blade. With adjustable blade position.

Gents Saws

A very small saw similar to a dovetail but with a straight chisel type handle. Tooth pitch 15 to 20 P.P.I.


This is the space between the teeth. Its function is to collect and carry away the sawdust from the cut made by the teeth.


A fixed frame hacksaw takes blades of only one size. An adjustable frame usually accommodates 10in or 12in blades.

Hacksaw Blades

Up to 12in blades are described as hand hacksaw blades. 14in and above are described as machine or power saw blades.

Hardpoint (H.P.)

If a saw is hardpoint its toothed edge will be blue/black from a special high frequency hardening process. It stays sharp longer than normal, but cannot be re-sharpened.


For cutting small circular holes (up to 6in diameter).


Width of groove or slit produced by the action of a saw; i.e. the slit itself.

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Similar to a padsaw but with a curved handle and narrow pointed blade for cutting keyholes after a pilot hole has been drilled.


Denotes the length along the cutting edge of the blade and is traditionally shown in inches.

Masonry Saws

Carbide tipped and used for cutting cellular blocks. The more professional type cut through brick, stone and cement.


A padsaw has no frame, the blade projecting from the end of the saw handle. Traditionally the blade is long and slim but the handle can also be used to hold broken hacksaw blades.

Panel Saws

'Panel Saw' usually refers to a smaller handsaw 20in or 22in with 10 P.P.I.

Piercing Saws

Constructed like a fretsaw but not as deep and wide, with an extremely fine blade for use on thin sheet metal. Jewellers use this to cut gold and silver sheet.

Rake Angle

The angle (to the vertical) of the forward edge of saw teeth.

Rip Saws

These saws are for cutting along the grain of wood quickly.


The teeth are set so that alternate teeth point slightly to the right and left. Thus, the width of the cut is greater than the blade so the blade can slide freely in the cut without jamming or clogging.

Sheet Saws

A sheet saw has a hacksaw blade fitted to a flat metal blade, which can pass through the material like a handsaw. Used for cutting corrugated iron and similar sheet materials.

Skewback Saws

This means that the back of the saw is shaped with a distinct dip to reduce weight and improve balance.

Taper Ground

This is when the blade has been ground thinner at the top edge than at the toothed edge so that the saw does not jam in the work.

Tenon Saws

Sometimes described as back saws. These saws have straight parallel blade with brass or steel along the back to provide rigidity for cutting tenons and smaller sections of timber to length.


The steel has been rolled or hammered to ensure a taut straight blade which although flexible in use should return to its straight position if not abused.

Tooth Pitch

Tooth pitch is the number of teeth per inch of the cutting edge. There is sometimes confusion between T.P.I. (teeth per inch) and P.P.I. (points per inch). T.P.I. are measured from the outside base of each tooth, whereas P.P.I. are measured from the tops of the teethpoints. As a general guide there is one more P.P.I. than T.P.I.

With the exception of the hardpoint, saws can be re-sharpened and re-set.

Universal Tooth

Saws with universal teeth can cut across or along the grain.