If you want to be familiar with tools, especially saws, then one of the most popular ones you need to be familiar with is the hacksaw. A hacksaw is a very versatile type of saw that can be used for many different purposes, and this is exactly what we’re here to talk about today.
What Is a Hacksaw?
This saw features a C or U-shaped frame in between which a very long and thin blade is affixed. This blade can take many different forms, especially in terms of how many teeth per inch it has, with the tooth per inch count determining exactly what the blade in question is ideal for.
10 Common Hacksaw Uses
Let’s take a look at all of the most common tasks that hacksaws are used for.
1. Cutting Galvanized and Steel Pipes
One of the most common uses of the hacksaw is for cutting galvanized pipes and steel pipes. In fact, this is the number one task that the hacksaw was originally designed for. Many people like using this handheld cutting tool because it has a quick setup and allows you to start cutting more or less right away.
You can actually use a hacksaw to cut through a few pipes before a machine could catch up to you. If you are working in a quiet area and need something that won’t make too much noise, a hacksaw is a great tool to use, not to mention that it is also extremely cost-effective.
2. Cutting Copper Tubes and Pipes
Another common application of the hacksaw is for cutting copper tubes and copper pipes. Now, copper tubes are usually cut using a pipe cutter, but a hacksaw will work just fine as well. In fact, if you are working in a very tight space, and you need to cut some copper pipes, a pipe cutter may actually be too large. A hacksaw is smaller and more maneuverable, and therefore easier to use in tight spaces. Copper is also very soft, and therefore very easy to cut using a saw such as this.
3. Cutting Plastic
Although hacksaws are mainly used for cutting metal, they can also be used to cut other materials such as plastic. Plastic is a very dense material and doesn’t have any of the natural fibers that wood does, therefore making the hacksaw an ideal cutting tool for this application.
All sorts of plastic bottles, pipes, rods, and more can be cut with a hacksaw, as long as you have the right type of blade. With a hacksaw, you want to use a blade that has around 18 teeth per inch for cutting plastic.
4. General Metalworking
Although we have already covered the fact that hacksaws are usually used to cut a variety of types of metal, we do want to hammer home the fact that hacksaws can be used to cut more than just steel and copper pipes.
For instance, when it comes to metalworking shops, hacksaws are often used to cut steel tubes, aluminum pipes, angle irons, bar stock, and much more. Of course, a handheld hacksaw is not going to match the power or efficiency of a power hacksaw or a horizontal bandsaw, but it is a very useful tool if you need to make a quick cut, and you don’t have too many cuts that you need to make.
There are also other, much softer metals that a hacksaw can cut, such as brass and bronze. Just make sure that if you are cutting something softer such as brass, you use a blade that has around 18 teeth per inch, whereas if you are cutting something like aluminum, you want to use a blade that has around 14 teeth per inch.
5. Cutting Electrical Conduits
Yet another task that a hacksaw is ideal for is electrical work, such as cutting electrical conduits down to size so that they can fit in a ceiling, wall, or any other location.
A hacksaw is a great tool to use for this job, as it can make very quick work out of most electrical conduits. Seeing as hacksaws are designed to cut through pipes and tubing, it makes it easy to clamp the material down and then cut it without having to use large and expensive power saws.
6. Plumbing Work
Although we have already covered the fact that hacksaws are often used to cut through a variety of plastic and metal pipes, we do want to clarify that this is one of the most commonly used tools when it comes to plumbing.
The reason for this is that the hacksaw is one of the very best tools to use to cut through PVC pipes, with PVC pipes now being the pipe material of choice for plumbing.
If you need to cut pipes that have already been installed in walls, then using a compact hacksaw is ideal, as it can fit into very tight spaces. Whether we are talking about plastic or metal plumbing, the hacksaw is a very commonly used tool here.
7. Cutting Dense Metals
Some of the densest metals out there, particularly wrought iron and cast iron, can be very difficult to cut, especially for most manual saws. However, a hacksaw is built sturdy and strong enough that you can apply enough pressure with it to get through cast iron with relative ease.
Of course, you might need to use a very specialized type of blade designed just for cast iron, but you can find these for hacksaws. Moreover, a hacksaw can actually make a relatively clean cut through this very strong and dense metal.
On that note, rebar is another very tough material that you can cut with a hacksaw. In fact, it doesn’t even take very much force or effort to cut through rebar using a hacksaw. Moreover, it might actually be easier and require less time, as well as less of a setup, to use a hacksaw to cut through rebar, than when using power tools.
8. Cutting Plexiglass
The funny thing about plexiglass is that it can actually be pretty fragile given the right circumstances. That being said, the hacksaw is actually an ideal tool to use to cut plexiglass, because the blade of the hacksaw is relatively thin and sharp, and therefore ideal for leaving a clean edge.
Now, to cut plexiglass, you will need to support it very well on both sides so that it doesn’t break or crack, although this is not that hard to do. The most important thing that you need to realize here is that you need to use a very fine tooth blade with at least 32 teeth per inch to cut through acrylic or plexiglass sheets.
9. Trimming Bolts and Screws
Yet another common application of the hacksaw is for trimming down or cutting screws and bolts that stick up out of the material that they are inserted into. As mentioned before, hacksaws have very thin and sharp blades, and therefore allow you to cut away bolts and screws so that they are flush with the material below.
Moreover, hacksaws are also very compact, therefore allowing you to get right down to the material that you need to cut the bolt or screw away from. This is also an ideal tool to use because you don’t have to worry about creating too many sparks.
Although hacksaws generally aren’t the first tool that you would use for cutting wood, there are some hacksaws that can be used for woodworking. With that being said, hacksaws are generally only ideal for making rough cuts, not fine cuts.
As you can see, the hacksaw is a very popular and useful tool, something that you definitely want to have in your toolbox.