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Cut Straight and Square with a Pull Saw


Cut Straight and Square with a Pull Saw

The art of sawing straight and square with a pull saw isn't as mysterious as you might think

By Garrett Glaser

When you saw, the goal is to split the layout line. Don't worry—it's easier than it sounds. Just make sure that the outside edge of the blade follows the center of the line, so half of the line remains on the workpiece and the other half become sawdust.

To make a through cut, you just follow two adjacent lines, one across the top of the workpiece and one continuing down the side that faces you. Focus first on the top line. Hold the blade nearly parallel to the surface, but with the heel (the end closest to the handle) raised up slightly, and saw lightly along the line from the far side to the near side until you've made a shallow groove across the top.


Keep the saw in the groove and switch your focus to the vertical line on the side. Using the heel of the blade, saw your way down the line until the teeth of your saw meet the ends of both lines. If you are cutting square stock, this puts your saw at a 45˚angle. 


Keep your saw at a 45˚ angle to complete the cut. The kerf you've created keeps the saw square and plum for the rest of the cut.

To make a stopped cut you need three lines—the line across the face and two stopped lines on either side. Begin the cut as you would a through cut, creating a groove across the top and then cutting with the heel to the bottom of the first adjacent line.


But instead of putting pressure on the heel to continue the cut, make the toe of the saw do all the work, slowly leveling out until the teeth connect the two points where the cut should stop.