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What is a Ripsaw?

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  • Written By: Shannon Kietzman
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 22 August 2016
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A ripsaw is a specialized type of handsaw designed to make rip cuts. A rip cut is a term used in woodworking to describe a cut that is made parallel to the grain of the wood. Cutting a tree trunk in half from its top to its bottom, for example, is considered a rip cut.

There are many tools that can be used to make a rip cut, such as a table saw, a radial alarm saw, a hand rip saw, and a band saw. A ripsaw, however, is the only saw that was created specifically for this purpose. The cutting edge of every tooth on the saw is made with a flat front edge. Unlike with many other types of saws, the tooth is not angled in a forward or backward direction.

The special tooth design of the ripsaw allows it to act like a chisel. Unlike the crosscut saw, which has teeth angled back with beveled edges, the design of the teeth prevents the saw from following along the grain lines. By acting in a way that is similar to a chisel, the ripsaw can easily cut across grain lines and achieve a straight cut by lifting off tiny splinters of wood. The American-designed saw is created to cut when it is being pushed through the wood, which is called the push stroke. A Japanese ripsaw, however, cuts on the pull stroke instead.

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A ripsaw is made with a metal blade and blade holder. The handle is usually made of wood, though it may be made of metal as well. Since the tool is made of metal, it should be stored in an area that is free from excessive moisture in order to prevent rusting. In addition, it is best to hang the saw on pegs on a wall in order to prevent moisture from accumulating on one area of it.

Occasionally, the ripsaw blade needs to be replaced because it dulls from use. In addition, the blade may break during use, particularly if too much pressure is applied while sawing. Replacement blades are available at hardware stores and home improvement stores. To replace the blade, the user simply has to remove the screws holding the old blade in place, slide in the new blade, and re-screw.

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anon213049
Post 2

"The ripsaw blade needs to be replaced because it dulls from use."

Um. Sometimes you sharpen it before you chuck it in the bin.

anon29187
Post 1

This doesn't mean it's the only saw designed to do make a rip cut. There are blades with rip tooth geometry for circular saws, bandsaws, etc. all specifically for making rip cuts. The front faces of the teeth typically do have an angle, just steeper than crosscut saw teeth.

By "American designed" I think you mean what people typically mean when they say "western" - that is, a push-cut saw. These saws have existed since long before America.

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