Here are a few quick tips for sawing the old fashioned way.
First you need a strong platform; you can use sawhorses, a workbench or even concrete blocks as long as there is enough clearance beneath the work piece to make a full cutting stroke.
After you mark where you want to cut, align your blade just slightly to the side of the wood that you won't be using (the waste side). This will allow for the width of the saw.
Then before you begin make three pull strokes. The teeth on most handsaws are angled forward to cut on the push stroke, so a few pull strokes will produce less resistance making it easier to get started.
When you are ready to start sawing make sure you use the full length of the blade. Be sure to keep your eye on the line you are cutting and the saw will follow. Don't put too much pressure on the saw itself, let the teeth and the weight of the saw do the work for you.
Finally as you are coming to the end of the board lighten up a little. Support the waste side with your free hand. This is a good way to prevent splintering as the waste piece falls away.
Sometimes the only power you need to make the cut is the power of your arm and a good old-fashioned hand saw.
Here are some more basic tips about saws:
A handsaw is also called a carpenter's saw. With a sharp blade it will do almost any woodcutting job you ask of it. The 12 tooth, 15 or 20 inch "shortcut" saw is a good all purpose saw for your workshop. A handsaw is the best answer where there isn't room for a circular saw or where access to electric power is inconvenient.
If you need to cut metal you will want to use a hack saw.
A keyhole saw can be used when you need to cut into a flat drywall surface for installing wires for example.
If you have a drill you will need a hole saw, it can be chucked into a drill and you can use it for cutting holes of different diameters in wood. The hole saw has a center mandrel or bot that serves as a pilot guide.
Finally, a jigsaw is used with a variety of specialty blades. It can replace a host of other sawing tools. Once it is fitted with a metal-cutting or hacksaw blade it will cut any metal: it can cut ceramic tile, glass or most metals, with grit blades. And if it has scrolling features you can replace a coping saw.
Handsaw or Power Saw?
For general cut-off work, such as cutting wall studs and plywood, use a circular saw. The advantage: its motor does the work. You just guide the blade along the waste side of your cutting line.
Remember sharp blades are safer than dull ones; they take less effort to push. Always make sure your blades are sharp.
The number of teeth per inch on a saw blade determines how fast and smooth the blade cuts. The fewer the teeth, the faster but rougher the cut. For crosscutting tasks, choose an 8- or 10- point saw; for ripping, use a ripsaw with 5 to 6 teeth per inch.
In addition to standard crosscut and ripsaws, you can buy a general-purpose handsaw that can handle both types of cutting. Though most handsaws cut on the push-stroke, some fast-cutting saws cut on the pull-stroke as well.
A circular saw with a "combination" blade is good for general cutting; a rip blade is better for ripping; a "plywood" blade with many fine teeth is best for smooth cutting and cutting panels.
Use an old saw for cutting painted wood--paint will quickly dull a sharp blade.
We hope these sawing tips will help you with your next home improvement project.