How to Use a Hacksaw

Learn how to make cuts using a hacksaw with our thorough tool guide. We'll show you how to prep for the job, install the blade, and saw with ease.

Go back to basics and discover our top tips for using a hacksaw.

A hacksaw is one of the easiest (and cheapest) saws to use. It requires manual power to operate and minimal upkeep after the job is done. Plus, it's a surprisingly versatile tool. Hacksaws can cut through a number of different materials, including pipe and wood. 

Before you begin, take the time to choose the right hacksaw blade for the material you're cutting. A suitable blade not only minimizes the risk of damage or injury, but also the amount of physical exertion needed to cut through the material. Learn our secrets to picking the right blade—and much more—in the following steps. 

Use a hacksaw to help create this gorgeous garden craft.

Step 1: Prep Item

Measure and mark the item you plan to saw. Make a small mark with a pencil or marker to designate where you should start the cut. Then secure the item. If you're cutting a pipe, place it in a vise. For flat items, use a clamp to secure your material to your work surface. 

How to use four different types of clamps.

Step 2: Choose Blade

Choose the appropriate blade for the material you're sawing. Keep in mind that blades for harder materials have smaller teeth, so use this type for metals. Blades with large teeth are better suited for softer materials, such as wood. 

Step 3: Install Blade

To install the blade, turn the adjuster on the frame until there is enough slack to fit the blade. Place the blade in the frame, making sure the teeth are pointing away from the handle. Tighten the adjuster.

Related: How to use a coping saw.

Step 4: Cut Material

Slowly begin to cut at the mark, using a short stroke. Once you have a groove going, continue cutting with strong, steady strokes directed away from you. Because hacksaw blades are fairly thin, they may break while sawing. If so, simply loosen the adjuster, replace the broken blade, and tighten the adjuster.

Editor's Tip: When working with metal or pipe, you may need to add a drop of oil to the material to reduce friction. The oil lubricates the cut and makes it easier for the saw's teeth to gain traction. A light oil, such as vegetable, is best as it won't stain your material.

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