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How to Use a Hacksaw

by Jenny Mae Talaver April 14, 2020

How to Use a Hacksaw

A hacksaw is one of the simplest and indispensable tool for any workman. You can use this to cut metals and other household materials. Its simple but efficient design makes it great for DIYers and homeowners.

With its long cutting surface, you can cut large pipes. And with its fine teeth, cut metals smoothly. It is considered as a classic plumber’s tool but anyone can take advantage of this saw to cut pipes and more.

The RockHardToolz team presents this beginner’s guide on the hacksaw. You can use this to learn how to use hacksaws for different cutting tasks around the home.

In this guide, we shall discuss the following areas of contention:

  1. What is a hacksaw?
  2. Types of Hacksaw Frames
  3. Types of Hacksaw Blades
  4. How To Use A Hacksaw
  5. How to Maintain A Hacksaw
  6. Conclusion

What is a hacksaw?

A hacksaw is a simple saw that can cut plastic and metal pipes and other small household materials. This metal-framed saw consists of an elongated shaped frame with a handle at one end, and a narrow, flexible blade that mounts on pegs and is stretched taut across the open side of the frame.

Types of Hacksaw Frames

Hacksaws come in either fixed or adjustable frames. The one with fixed frame accepts one blade length; while the adjustable typically handles 10- and 12-inch blades; some even blades ranging from 8 to 16 inches.

An adjustable framed hacksaw is more expensive than its fixed counterpart but it is also more versatile.

Types of Hacksaw Blades

You can find hacksaw blades with tooth counts ranging from 14 to 32 teeth per inch. Thin materials need finer teeth while thicker matters require fewer teeth per inch. The way teeth are positioned on a blade is called “set.” There are three typical tooth sets:

  • Regular: These work well on softer metals that have no iron. The teeth are lined up touching each other and alternating to the left and right.
  • Raker: Perfect for cutting into thick metals. The teeth are placed in sets of three.
  • Wavy: The right choice for hard, thin metals. The teeth are set in a wave pattern from left to right for a smooth, fine cut.

How To Use A Hacksaw

Using a hacksaw involves a lot of things in the process. First, preparing the material you will cut so it will stay secure against the saw. Next, choosing the appropriate hacksaw blade. Then installing said blade into the hacksaw. And lastly, cutting the material itself slowly and carefully.

You need to master each step to get precise results out of your cutting tasks. If not, you risk injuries and damaged goods.

Step 1: Material Prep

Measure and mark the item you plan to saw. You can use a ruler for small and short pieces and a laser measure for bigger and longer ones. Mark the position of your cut with a pencil or marker. Then secure the item with vises or clamps. 

Step 2: Choose Your Hacksaw Blade

Based on the material you plan to cut, choose the appropriate hacksaw blade (see above for the types of hacksaw blades and the respective materials they cut).

Step 3: Install (or Mount) the Hacksaw Blade

Mount the blade so it is taut with in the frame. Turn the adjuster on the handle or frame until there is slack and the holes at each end of the blade can be inserted into the spigots. Place the blade in the frame, making sure the teeth are pointing away from the handle. Tighten the adjuster. Add a drop of oil on the blade to help lubricate the cut, reduce friction and prevent overheating.

The key to success when using a hacksaw is to, and to cut using slow, steady strokes. Americans are accustomed to saws that cut on the push stroke, but reversing the blade to cut on the pull stroke—as is the case with fine Japanese woodworking saws—sometimes gives you a better result when using a hacksaw. Whatever the blade’s orientation, it’s essential that you A drop of oil on the blade helps reduce friction and keeps the temperature down. Overheated blades can quickly become dull.

Step 4: Cut The Material

Place the saw's central teeth on the line (of the material) to be cut.

Slowly begin to cut at the mark, using a short stroke. Cut slowly, no more than one stroke per second. Continue with strong, steady strokes directed away from you. Make sure that the end of the object being cut is held and will not crack due to the unsupported weight.

In case of broken blades, loosen the adjuster, replace the broken blade, then re-tighten the adjuster.

How To Maintain A Hacksaw

Aside from knowing how to use a hacksaw well, you need to learn how to use it safely to maintain its efficiency over a long time. Most importantly, you have to keep yourself and your tools safe while working. All this you need to get the best results in every task.

  • Choose the correct blade for the material being cut. Select ones that are appropriate for the material as indicated by the number of teeth per inch.
  • Secure the blade with the teeth pointing forward if you want to cut on the push stroke; backward if you want to cut on the pull stroke.
  • Keep the blade rigid and the frame properly aligned.
  • Cut using strong, slow, steady strokes.
  • Use the entire length of the blade in each cutting stroke.
  • Keep saw blades clean and use light machine oil on the blade to keep it from overheating and breaking.
  • Cut harder materials more slowly than soft materials.
  • Secure materials to cut with vises or clamps.


If you get a hacksaw, it can be a handy partner for many cutting tasks. With its simple design optimized for efficiency, this is a solid investment to add to your toolbox, garage, or workshop.

You can use it in plumbing and other home repair tasks. But to take advantage of it, you need to learn to use efficiently every time to ensure safety in the workplace.

To learn more about the hacksaw and other tools of the trade for professional tradesmen, go to Rockhard Toolz. We offer you everything from product reviews to how-to guides.  Rockhard Tools provides top quality masonry drill bits, jobber twist drill bits, anchors and fastening systems, hacksaw blades, jig saw blades and more.

Jenny Mae Talaver
Jenny Mae Talaver

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