Hand Saw Types, Lengths, Type Teeth, and TPI Information

Some hand saw names I found obvious regarding their meaning, others I found nebulous regarding their meaning, and some names I just found down right foreign. Therefore I put the following data together on shall we say six of the more common hand saw type names heard used today. “Some Observations” are included at the end of this post.

Ripping Saw:

  1. No back plate
  2. Approximately 26 to 30 inches in length
  3. Slightly tapered saw blade
  4. Rip teeth
  5. Approximately 4 TPI (Teeth Per Inch)
  6. Ripping saws are used for ripping parallel to the wood fibers

Panel Saw:

  1. No back plate
  2. Approximately 16m to 24 inch blade length
  3. Slightly tapered saw blade
  4. Available with rip or crosscut teeth
  5. Approximately 6 TPI
  6. A multi purpose saw, suitable for ripping, crosscutting, & cutting tenons

Tenon Saw:

  1. Back plate — Yes
  2. Approximately 12 to 19 inches in length
  3. Rectangular shaped saw blade
  4. Available with rip or crosscut teeth
  5. Approximately 8 to 10 TPI
  6. Used for cutting wood transverse to the wood fibers, e.g. the shoulders of tenons

Sash Saw:

  1. Back plate — Yes
  2. Approximately 11 to 16 inch blade length
  3. Rectangular shaped saw blade
  4. Available with rip or crosscut teeth
  5. Approximately 12 to 13 TPI
  6. Used for cutting the tenons of window sashes (the movable panels of a window). Anybody out there building wood windows, and by hand with a sash saw ?

Carcass Saw:

  1. Back plate — Yes
  2. Approximately 9 to 11 inch blade length
  3. Rectangular shaped saw blade
  4. Available with rip or crosscut teeth
  5. Approximately 10 to 15 TPI
  6. Considered a good saw for general purpose usage for typical joints used for making cabinets, and for cutting small tenons.

Dovetail Saw:

  1. Back plate — Yes
  2. Approximately 8 to 12 inch blade length
  3. Rectangular shaped saw blade
  4. Rip teeth (since dovetailing is a ripping type cut)
  5. Approximately 14 to 18 TPI
  6. Used for making dovetail joints (Imagine That).

Some Observations:

  1. Note that as the length of a saw blade decreases, that the number of TPI tends to increase. In other words, theres an inverse relationship between saw blade length and the number of TPI.
  2. Note that all of the saws listed above are available with rip type teeth.
  3. Four of the saws listed above are available with either rip teeth or crosscut type teeth.
  4. Fewer TPI = A faster cut & a coarser cut
  5. More TPI = A slower cut & a smoother cut
  6. Some people prefer rip type teeth for both ripping and crosscutting. I must say, it certainly simplifies saw sharpening.
  7. If you sharpen your own saws, then you can convert a saw from crosscut teeth to rip teeth, or vice versa.

Links to photos of hand saws discussed in this Post:
Photos of dovetail, carcass, tenon, & panel saws can be found at the following link:
Lie-Nielsen Toolworks USA | Saws

Photo of a rip saw at the following link:
Wenzloff & Sons Hand Saws at The Best Things

Photo of a sash saw at the following link:
The Gramercy Tools 14″ Sash Saw

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Until Next Time, Take Care
AL

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