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What is a Crosscut Saw?

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  • Written By: Shannon Kietzman
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 21 August 2016
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A crosscut saw is a specialized type of handsaw that is designed specifically for creating crosscuts. A crosscut is a type of cut that is made at nearly a right angle and goes in the direction of the wood grain. If cutting down a tree, a crosscut would be the type of cut made straight across the trunk of the tree.

Wood grain is the texture, alignment, and general appearance of a piece of wood. A wood grain may be straight, interlocked, or spiral. There are also a few unusual types of wood grains, such as those known as quilted, bird’s eye, curly, fiddleback, and tiger. The ability of the crosscut saw to cut with the grain is particularly beneficial when sawing through logs and branches. It is also helpful in woodworking when shaping the wood in a particular method requires following the natural grain of the wood.

A crosscut saw is made with teeth that are angled back. The teeth on the crosscut saw also have a beveled edge. This design allows the crosscut saw to act much like the edge of a knife. Therefore, the crosscut saw is able to slice through wood rather than ripping it like the rip saw.

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The rip saw is different from the crosscut saw in that it cuts in a direction that is parallel to the wood grain. The rip saw works more like a chisel in that it lifts off small splinters of wood in order to cut through the piece of wood. Despite the differences in how the rip saw and the crosscut saw work, both result in a clean cut and are capable of cutting in a straight line.

After many uses, the blade of the crosscut saw becomes dulled. The teeth on the crosscut saw blade may also break or chip, or the blade may snap completely if too much pressure is applied while sawing. When this occurs, it is necessary to replace the blade of the crosscut saw. This is accomplished by unscrewing the blade from the frame of the crosscut saw and replacing it with a new blade.

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