The art of woodworking involves many steps including sharpening, cutting, shaping, and more. Each and every project will require attention to detail and finesse to achieve the desired results. The results of each project are often dependent on a variety of factors including the type of tools you use, the species of wood, and the general skills of the woodworker.
A woodworker’s tools are everything, but there will be times when you have to make do with what you have on hand. A saw is one tool that a woodworker will rely on often, but what if that saw breaks? Do you know how to cut wood without a saw? Did you know there are actually several alternatives to using a saw to cut your wood that can provide some pretty impressive results?
Learning how to cut wood without a saw can come in handy if, for some reason, you find yourself without your saw for the day, your saw blade snaps, or you’re new to woodworking and you don’t know how to use a heavy-duty table saw. Great saw alternative include:
- Drilling machine
Of course, some of these tools can be difficult to use for sawing, but if you’re short a saw and you need to get the job done, then these tools can help you achieve the desired results. However, because you’ll end up with a rough cut of sorts, you’ll also need to spend time smoothing out the rough edges where the lumber was cut.
A standard hand saw is one woodworking tool that you’ll rely on often, but if the blade snaps, is too dull, or you don’t have one on hand for whatever reason, learning how to saw through wood without one can allow you to keep making progress on your latest project.
One of the first steps of any woodworking project involves cutting and prepping the wood. The quality of the cut is a big concern for any woodworker. If the wood is not cut cleanly, that can lead to undesired results. Typically, wood is cut with the help of a saw which is basically the gold standard for cutting any type of wood. These days, there is no shortage of saw types available, such as the best portable table saw, the Makita 2705 10-Inch Contractor Table Saw, which is dominating the market thanks to its powerful design combined with a tough saw blade that can slice through pretty much anything. But as a beginner, you may not have all the right tools on hand or the type of budget that’s required to purchase only the best. If you don’t have the right type of saw there are some great alternatives available that will allow you to slice through wood not quite as easily, but with comparable results.
These tools can be used by woodworkers of all skill levels, and by those who don’t know how to operate a table saw, or can’t afford to purchase a new one. These alternative cutting techniques will come in handy at some point even if you do have a workshop equipped with all the right tools. If you’re a beginner and don’t know how to operate a saw, then these alternatives can help you achieve the same results, but the process will not be quite as fast.
Obviously, the saw was designed with cutting in mind, however, there are a number of tools available that can also cut but many will take more elbow grease to achieve comparable results. These tools will include:
- Drilling machine
Most households have a variety of knives readily available. The knife is considered one of the most primitive tools to use for cutting. It’s also a great solution to your sawing problem. If used the right way, knives can be used to cut a piece of wood to a specific length. It can also be used to fix lumber that is not squared.
Not all household knives can cut through wood, however, you can use a pocket knife, whittling knife, or a hunting knife, if it’s sharpened properly. This can be done with the help of a file. Make sure you use a high-quality file to get a nice edge.
Once you’re ready to cut make sure you use a slanting technique. To do, you must hold onto the wood firmly at a slanted angle and begin cutting. Maintaining the proper angle is crucial. The next step once the wood is cut is to trim the edges. Another way to avoid cutting off too much with a knife is by cutting only small pieces from the wood. Next, you can simply snap the wood off at the thinnest point, then work on smoothing out the edges.
Drilling machines are commonly used to make holes in lumber, however, it can also help you in terms of cutting. Unlike a knife, a drilling machine works by creating perforations. If you have a piece of wood you want to cut through, begin by drawing a line over the section of the wood that you want to have cut. Next, all you have to do is make the perforations along that line. You can keep repeating this process until the wood is weakened enough that it breaks in two. Then, take a knife and trim the edges.
You can use a very sharp machete to saw through raw lumber. However, it’s not going to give you the type of clean cuts that you would get from using a saw. To use, first draw a line on the wood so you can clearly see the sawing line. Next, you’ll make small cuts along the line using the machete at a slanted angle. This should be repeated on each side of the wood. Continue to repeat the process until the wood breaks into two. You can trim the rough edges using the machete or a knife.
You don’t have a sharp machete or a drilling machine on hand then you can also use a sharp ax. Again, you want to draw a line along the wood and mark the points clearly. Begin by cutting off small pieces of wood, two to three inches from the penciled line. Cricket this on both sides continue cutting until the lumber breaks into two.
Another option is using a chisel. First off, you’ll want to sharpen the edges of the chisel with the help of a file. The chisel should be placed on a firm, secure surface. You’re going to hold it with both of your hands. Using the bevel side up, place the flat side against the wood’s surface and carve the wood at a twenty-degree angle. Use your dominant hand to hammer and hold on to the chisel with your non-dominant hand. Use a hammer to hit the chisel a few times, then clear away the chipped wood to get a look at the final product. You may need to repeat this process a few times, especially if you’re working with thicker lumber.
An electric router can also help with cutting. To use, you’ll begin by installing a router bit and adjusting its gauge based on the desired depth. To engage the wood, pull the trigger. Next, you’ll move the router in the direction of the cut. Once you have finished cutting, you can release the pressure on the handle. You can use different types of bits for cutting the edges, just keep in mind, the gauge must be set before you begin trimming.
The lathe is another great option. To use, Begin by marking the center of the wood, then place it between the lathe’s center. Switch to the lowest setting possible and begin turning it. Keep an eye on the size of chips coming out from the wood. Next, you’ll want to move the edges so that they’re parallel to the rotation of the wood.
Now you can push the lathe into the lumber to remove an equal amount of wood. Using a lathe, you can cut wood giving its cylindrical shape or angular corners. Once you’re done cutting you can increase the speed of the lathe to even out the surface.
A good plane can also make cutting much easier. For an even cut, ensure that the plane is properly aligned and equipped with a sharp blade. Using the depth adjustment, adjust the depth of the plane. Begin cutting on one side only, then flip the wood over and repeat the process.
Now that you know how to cut wood without a saw, you can utilize the other tools in your workshop if for some reason you don’t have a saw readily available. Some of these alternatives can be much trickier than using a basic saw, while others can offer a comparable cut quality. The ability to use different tools to achieve a clean cut will give you more options that you can rely on when you’re without the right tools and in need of a quick and easy sawing solution.