What is a Cold Saw?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2019
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Cold saws are saws that make use of a circular saw blade to cut through various types of metal, including sheet metal. The name of the saw has to do with the action that takes place during the cutting process, which manages to keep both the metal and the blade from becoming too hot. A cold saw is powered with electricity and is usually a stationary type of saw machine rather than a portable type of saw.

The circular saw blades used with a cold saw are often constructed of high speed steel. Steel blades of this type are resistant to wear even under daily usage. The end result is that it is possible to complete a number of cutting projects before there is a need to replace the blade. High speed steel blades are especially useful when the saws are used for cutting through thicker sections of metal.

Along with the high speed steel blades, a cold saw may also be equipped with a blade that is tipped with tungsten carbide. This type of blade construction also helps to resist wear and tear. One major difference is that tungsten tipped blades can be re-sharpened from time to time, extending the life of the blade. This type of blade is a good fit for use with sheet metal and other metallic components that are relatively thin in design.


One of the advantages of using a cold saw is that the metal and the blade remain relatively cool during the cutting action. This is due to the way that the cutting takes place. The design of the blade allows the cutting to focus on the chips created during the action. The chips act as a buffer while not interfering with the cutting action. As a result, the chips tend to collect the heat generated by the cutting. This leaves both the blade and the metal at a lower temperature.

As part of the support for the cutting to the chips that is created with the configuration of the blade teeth, a cold saw is usually used in conjunction with some type of flood coolant system that allows liquid to run over the blade during use. This action helps to further cool the blade during use and also aids in minimizing dust and sparks during the cutting action.


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Discuss this Article

Post 3

@Feryll - The real danger with any kind of blade, from a knife to a cold saw, is greater when the blade is dull. Contrary to what many people think, more people who cut themselves with knives do so with dull knives than with sharp knives. The same thing is pretty much true with a saw blade.

When a blade is sharp as it is designed to be, a cutting tool is much safer. When the blade dulls you may start applying more pressure, and the blade won't cut as cleanly causing more hazards.

Post 2

@Feryll - I don't have experience with a cold saw, but I am told they are a lot like a Miter saw, with the main difference being that a Miter saw is used to cut wood instead of metal. This being the case, changing the blade should not be a particularly dangerous job. You just need to have a healthy amount of respect for the machine and the blades and take your time, and take all precautions.

I would recommend that you have a professional, or at least someone who has experience, help you the first time you change a blade. This way you are less likely to make some of the obvious mistakes that newbies make. Getting the blades installed improperly could lead to a dangerous situation because the blade might slip and cause an injury. It takes only a second to do some major damage with a powerful saw like this.

Post 1

I have never used a cold saw, but a friend and I are thinking about buying an established shop that cuts metal and stone with cold saws. The saws and blades can be expensive to replace. I like what this article says about the long lasting blades that are available for some saws.

However, even though you can buy blades that will last longer and allow you to complete more projects before replacing them, there will come a point when you have to change the blades. How difficult is changing the blade on a cold saw? And how dangerous is this job?

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