Understanding Your Saw
There are many types of saws in the market and often times, it can be hard to figure out which saw is best for you, your business, or the application. Sometimes, you might have the best saw to get the job done, but not the correct blade. The saw and blade need to be paired together correctly for different jobs or application to create the perfect marriage.
Let's start with some basic on saws. Saws are made in all types of styles, sizes, power, industry, application, and much more. We are going to go through common saws throughout the industries including: hand saws, walk behind saws, wire saws, wall saws, bandsaws, panel saws, rail saws, circular saws, chainsaws, reciprocating saws, wet saws, bridge saws, table saws, and more.
Many times, saw names are referred to differently by different fields making it even more challenging to understand.
Walk Behind Saw
This name is straight forward. It is a fairly large saw where the operator stands behind the saw and pushes the saw through the material. Typically used for cutting concrete and asphalt but can be used on stone as well. Blades for the saw will typically vary from 12-30 inches but can be slightly smaller or larger. Gas, Electric, and Propane are offered all with a variety of power, functionality, and blade size.
Hand saws can be a standard small saw that is not powered and used by the force of the operator or Hand Saws can also be referred to as a cut off saw. Cut off saws are still held in your hands, but is a larger powered tool used for cutting concrete and stone with the most common blade size being 14 inches. Other small hand saws are powered hand saws or grinders that take smaller size blades; most commonly 4-6 inches. Smaller power hand saws can be used to cut all types of stone, glass, concrete, metal, wood, and more. This is where choosing the right blade can really come into effect. Circular Saws would also fall under hand saws.
Reciprocating Saws can cut through materials including Wood, Metal, PVC, Plastic, and Aluminum. They can also be used for cutting stone if diamond saw blades are used. Reciprocating saws are also known as a jig saw or saw zall.
Yes, wet saws use water, but so do many saws. Wet Saws are typically used when referring to tile saws or table saws. Wet saws can be used for tile, masonry, glass, and stone. Table saws are also used for cutting wood, but those are used dry and not referred to as a wet saw.
To some professionals, they might consider this as a cutter and not a saw. We aren't here to answer that debate, but simply here to help with education on cutting options. Manual Tile Cutters are most common and use a scoring wheel, guide rail, and breaking mechanism. This is a non-powered hand application by the operator suitable for cutting or scoring ceramic, porcelain, and tile.
Chain Saws can fall under hand saws as well. Chain saws require a chain and sprocket to use properly. There are different chain saws made for cutting wood and trees vs cutting concrete. The saw and chain are different, and the same tool cannot typically used for both.
A Panel Saw is a large saw that gives straight and precise cuts in large panels or sheets of material, such as plywood or particleboard. They are on a track but would not be considered a rail saw.
Rail Saws run on some sort of rail or track system, where on the operator pushes a powered saw through the material. Some systems even just provide the rail, and the saw is an external hand power saw. Can be used for various types of stone and wood.
No- Bridge Saws are not designed for cutting bridges. It is a saw that runs on a beam or bridge that goes across the entire saw. Some masonry tables saws are referred to as bridge saw but so are larger saws that are cemented in a particular area and not portable. Designed for stone fabrication and can be used for cutting granite, marble, porcelain, quartz, and all other types of stone depending on the blade used.
Band saws consist of a continuous looped blade that runs around two wheels used for cutting metal, wood, plastics, and more. Band saws really vary in size, power, and price. Some saws can several materials and sometime the saw is designed for one application such as cutting metal. Band saws can be called abrasive saws or cold saws.
Wire and Wall Saws are different but both more on specialty side and designed to be used by professionals
Similar to a band saw, wire saws also run on a continuous loop and can be used for cutting stone used in quarries and processing plants. They are used for concrete cutting on structures, buildings, and bridges; or cutting metal for pipes, rods, and structures. Other materials for industries such as precast, foam, aerospace, and manufacturing. It uses diamond tooling but not a traditional diamond blades like other saws; it uses diamond wire or diamond beads.
Wall Saws use a track system but is not considered a rail saw. It is used for vertical and horizontal cutting on masonry applications. Wall Saws are used for specialty application including, creating openings in concrete walls for doors and windows, and cutting openings in floors, walls, and ceiling for structural modifications or staircases. Wall Saws and Wire saws are also used for demolition projects.
We covered most saws and a basis of their names and functions. In the future we will go over saws individually with more depth and go over choosing the right blade for your application.