How to Properly and Safely Use a Hacksaw

A man uses a hacksaw.

A hacksaw is a versatile tool featured in most DIY toolkits. As with any tool, it’s always worth knowing how to use one safely.

General Hand Protection When Using a Hacksaw

Hacksaws feature a fine-toothed metal blade which is set into a rigid steel D shaped frame. Although the blade itself has a certain flexibility, it is held in its frame at a high tension rate. This fine-toothed blade is designed primarily to cut through both metal and plastic, so it will be unforgiving to your fingers if they are unprotected. Always wear protective gloves even for those five-minute jobs.

General Eye Protection When Using a Hacksaw

It’s not just the blade of the hacksaw that can be dangerous. Protect your eyes from metal swarf or shavings of plastic when using a hacksaw. Always use safety goggles, a visor, or face shield when you are working. It’s important that the protective eyewear that you choose offers you a clear line of vision.

Holding the Hacksaw Correctly

When using a hacksaw, always make sure your hand and wrist are held in a comfortable and natural position. Working while holding tools in an awkward manner can lead to accidents. Hold the hacksaw as you might an iron, with your hand on the upper part of the frame that holds the blade. Remember, you should be wearing gloves.

Safety With Materials

Ensure that the material you are going to cut doesn’t contain any obstructions like nails or screws. Hitting any overlooked nails or screws with the blade is perilous and can cause the blade to dislodge or buckle and, once again, could lead to an accident. In addition, make sure that the metal or plastic you are cutting is held securely in place. This will leave you free to concentrate on the cutting alone. Many accidents occur because a workman is distracted by shifting materials.

Cutting Effectively and Safely

Whenever you begin cutting, begin slowly to establish a groove in the material that the saw blade can take hold of. You can build up a little speed once the blade is securely in the groove and cutting along the designated line. Only apply pressure when the saw blade is on the downstroke. The way that the serrations on the blade are set actually prohibits upward cutting. If you try to apply pressure on the upstroke, the saw may judder and can lead to problems. The teeth of a hacksaw should point in a forward direction. When you are cutting with a hacksaw, make sure you use the blade’s entire length for each cutting action.

Safe Storage and Care of Hacksaws

Although it may not seem to make sense, blunt saw blades with ineffectual teeth are a safety hazard. Keep the teeth of your hacksaw sharpened and clean. You should also consider safety when the hacksaw is not in use so always use a sheath to cover blades that are in storage. Many a nasty nick has occurred before work has even begun because of careless storage of tools.