The bow saw was an integral part of any woodworking profession, especially the lumber industry, in years past. The chainsaw has largely supplanted the role of the bow saw, but this simple tool still has its uses in everyday life.
If you are doing simple cutting jobs, a bow saw may be all you need. A bow saw is a blade suspended on a metal C shaped frame that maintains cutting tension. The teeth on most bow saws will produce a fairly smooth cut, although differing blades may produce cuts of smoother or alternately rougher edges. If you are taking on a rather simple task, such as cutting firewood, a bow saw will be up to the task. Should you be taking on a larger project, consider investing in a powered tool.
A chainsaw will make much quicker work of large jobs than a bow saw can. Although bow saws were used for heavy jobs such as cutting down trees in the past, they took considerably longer and required far more effort. Many people use bow saws today for the nostalgia value, and also build these saws themselves as do it yourself projects.
When you are using a bow saw, safety goggles are not really necessary. You do, however, want to wear heavy work gloves to prevent any chance of an accidental cut. Begin the cut with slow, even strokes across the surface of the wood. As the bow saw sinks into the wood, you can pick up the pace and really dig into the work. Get full even strokes across the wood, pushing through with the length of the saw, and pulling back with its full length as well. Should the blade become dull, be sure to fit the saw with a new one as soon as possible. Working with a dull bow saw can be very tiring and time consuming. You can also file a dull blade’s teeth to make it sharp again.
Bow saws come very affordably, so if you’re looking to save some money, they can be the way to go. Northern Industrial makes a 21″ bow saw that runs for just $4.49. Other brands of bow saw include the Ames as well as Coleman, both priced similarly and with top quality products. Vendors such as Orchards Edge offer vintage style bow saws at higher prices.