In an age when much of the furniture and cabinetry that goes into our homes is built by machines without vision or imagination, a hand-crafted item takes on special significance.This takes a fair amount of skill and the best hand saw for woodworking to get the job done.
The craft of woodworking is both an art and a skill requiring a keen eye and quality tools. One of the most important tools in wood crafting is the tenon saw.
Every woodworker reaches for this tool multiple times during the creation of a piece of quality furniture or cabinetry, but exactly what is a tenon saw, and what is a tenon saw used for?
What is a Tenon Saw?
Both tenon saws and dovetail saws are types of back saws, so named because of the metal or wooden strip running along the back of the saw that reinforces the blade to keep it rigid for precise cutting.
Tenon and mortise joints typically feature a square tenon tongue that is inserted into a mortise hole, each crafted to fit snugly so the joint stays secure.
As the name implies, tenon saws are most commonly used to cut the tenon tongues of the mortise and tenon joints that are traditional in handmade furniture, cabinets and other wood crafts.
A similar type of joint is the dovetail, which consists of precisely cut pins and tails of trapezoid shape that fit together and resist being pulled apart.
The most commonly recognised use of dovetail joints is in the making of cabinet drawers.
Creating tenons and dovetails is a very delicate process, as these joints are designed to work primarily without screws, bolts or other attachments and will only function properly if the cuts are very accurate.
Tenon saws and dovetail saws are designed specifically for the tasks that their names imply, although some models can be used interchangeably.
Heavier tenon saws are even more versatile, capable of being used for many tasks requiring a rigid blade that delivers precision cuts. They are often considered to be more of a general use saw vital to any woodworking toolbox.
If viewing from Canada, France or United Kingdom articles selected to view may be substituted for an equivalent model if the selected model is not available in your country.
Best Hand Saw for Woodworking
Quality work starts with quality tools. While there may be no single best hand saw for woodworking, following is a list of some of the better saws available.
This fine-cut finish saw features 17 teeth per inch (TPI) for fast and smooth cutting, leaving a finish that rarely needs sanding.
The pull-stroke saw cuts as you draw the blade toward you, allowing for greater accuracy with less fatigue. The teeth are diamond-ground for extreme sharpness, and this blade also features a raker tooth to clean the sawdust from the cut as you push forward.
The precision blade allows for a very thin kerf, making this saw ideal for finish work even in harder woods.
Some craftsmen consider it the best saw for dovetails, but it is equally capable of performing tenon saw uses.
It has a cushioned, open-grip handle and comes with a zippered storage pouch.
Stanley FatMax 17-202 14-Inch Back Saw
An affordable saw with a pistol-grip handle, this item features 13 TPI on a durable blade made for multiple uses. It is lightweight yet capable of performing heavy tasks.
The blade is not replaceable and its induction hardening means that is cannot be sharpened when it gets dull, but the teeth stay sharp for a long time and the quality of the cuts makes it a worthwhile addition to the toolbox.
It holds up for heavy jobs that lighter saws struggle to complete.
A quality saw for cutting more than just tenons, the 12 TPI blade carries a brass back for impressive heft, letting the saw do the work as you cut.
The set teeth are hand sharpened, and the pistol-grip handle is made of durable beech wood.
This is a solid saw appropriate for tenon saw uses as well as heavier jobs, making it a versatile, general-use addition to any woodworking shop.
Bahco 244-12-Ten Tenon Saw
Although positioned as a saw for fine to medium work, this 13 TPI blade is thick enough for tougher jobs.
It has a heavy steel back for rigidity and a plastic pistol-grip handle. Its hard point teeth stay impressively sharp through many projects.
It lacks the finesse of finer blades and may not be the best saw for dovetails, especially delicate ones, but it does provide durable and reliable cutting for a variety of applications.
Crown 195 12-Inch Tenon Saw with Full Handle
This heavy duty, brass-backed saw can tackle the harder jobs with ease. The 13 tpi blade is made of high carbon steel which can be resharpened as needed.
It has a pistol-grip handle of handsome stained beech wood. Made in Sheffield, England, with the professional in mind, it is designed to provide years of reliable service at an affordable price.
Best hand saw for woodworking review
Building something by hand can be a highly rewarding endeavor, especially when you have excellent tools to work with.
Whether you are a newcomer to the craft just learning to ask yourself what is a tenon saw used for or a seasoned professional seeking the best hand saw for woodworking, the quality of your output relies upon having the right tool for the job.