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Hacksaw buying guide

Guide written by:
Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff

Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff

118 guides
Now that your wood is cut down, split, or simply delivered, you still have to get it back into your fireplace or stove. In order to break it down easily and quickly to the right length, you'll need a log saw. Electric or thermal, we will help you choose the saw you need!

Important features

  • Thermal
  • Electric
  • Power
  • Diameter of the blade

Principle of operation of a log saw

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Because of their relatively simple design, all log saws work in more or less the same way. An electric motor or a thermal engine drives circular blades which vary in size - usually from 40 cm (15.7") to 70 cm (27.5"). The assembly, composed of the motor and the circular blade, is called the cutting unit. Whole logs and sections of timber are placed on an easel which is equipped with a stop that can be adjusted to the length of the desired cut.
 
Typically, the cutting unit is mounted on a manually tilted arm to cut the wood on the easel. For the most powerful thermal log saws, the easel tilts and the cutting unit is fixed due to the weight of the motor. The whole assembly is attached to a chassis for a greater stability which is equipped with wheels for easier handling and mobility of the saw.

Types of log saws

Since all log saws are substantially similar in appearance, we can’t really talk about the differences between types because they all operate in essentially the same way.

However, there are two major families and they differ according to their power source.
 

Electric Log Saws


Designed for small-scale or irregular work, electric log saws are primarily intended for personal use. Easy to operate, relatively light weight and low noise, they are ideal for preparing wood for the winter, for cutting logs to the right length, or for breaking down logs for easier removal. Commonly equipped with a 40 cm (15.7") to 50 cm (19.6")  diameter blade, the most powerful electric log saws can accommodate a blade of 60 cm (23.6") to 70 cm (27.5"). The power usage is between 2000 and 3000 W.
 



Thermal log saws


Geared more towards substantial or frequent work, thermal log saws are more advantageous for professionals. Just as easy to use, they are nevertheless heavier and obviously much noisier than electric log saws. On the other hand, thermal log saws are self-contained and can be used directly at the site or any other place without electricity. The majority of thermal models offer a blade of 60 cm (23.6") to 70 cm (27.5"). On the power side, a 45 cm3 (2.74") to 60 cm3 (3.66") motor (which corresponds to about 2.5 kW of output) is the minimum requirement. For large scale, continuous use, some saws are equipped with a motor of up to 125 cm3 (about 7 kW).


Characteristics of a log saw

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Cutting capacity

Cutting capacity is the main characteristic of a log saw. It translates the width of the piece of wood you can cut. One would think that a blade with a diameter of 50 cm (19.6"), for example, could cut a log of about 25 cm (9.8"). Well, the answer is no. It’s much less than that. Here is a short summary of cutting capacities according to the blade diameter to help direct you to the proper purchase:
 
  • Blade Diameter of 40 cm (15.7") = Maximum cutting capacity of 17 cm (6.6")
  • Blade Diameter of 50 cm (19.6") = Maximum cutting capacity of 19 cm (7.4")
  • Blade Diameter of 60 cm (23.6") = Maximum cutting capacity of 23 cm (9.0")
  • Blade Diameter of 70 cm (27.5") = Maximum cutting capacity of 27 cm (10.6")
 

Engine power


In general, the power of the motor, whether electric or thermal, determines to the maximum diameter of the blade that the saw. Whatever your cutting capacity needs, you will need a motor of at least 2000 W - about 50 cm3 (3.0") for a thermal engine. If you have particularly large pieces or a particularly large volume to cut, favour a high-power motor - greater than 3000 W / 75 cm 3 (4.5").

Safety


As you can imagine, a large blade with sharp teeth being launched at high speeds is dangerous. Be sure to select a log saw with both a safety guard and an easily accessible circuit breaker.

Final tip for choosing a log saw

Even with these safety precautions, the log saw is a handy but dangerous tool. When using your saw, be sure to equip yourself with safety shoes, gloves, protective goggles, and noise-canceling headphones.
 
If a log is resistant, do not hesitate to adjust its position on the easel and make several attempts to cut through it.
 
For maintenance, clean the easel, the stops, and the blade guard regularly. When cutting a large amount of wood, it’s a good idea to pause occasionally and remove sawdust and wood chips from your saw. Think of your workspace, as well. Clean the floor regularly to avoid slipping or tripping.
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Guide written by:

Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff 118 guides écrits

Jeremy, construction site supervisor, Cardiff

Electrician by trade, I first worked in industrial estates where I installed, wired and fixed a large number of electrical installations. After this, I managed a team of electricians for this type of work. 10 years or so ago, I turned to building and construction. From the modest family home, to gyms and theatres; I have been able to coordinate, audit and organise all sorts of construction sites.

for 4 years now, I am restaoring and bulding an extrension to a bungalow in the heart of the welsh countyside. My experience in manual work and my knowledge means I am proud to be of service. Terraces, interior design, roofing, plumbing, electricty, anything goes! We have, my wife, daughter and I, built almost everything we have from scratch! So to answer all of your questions, and to orientate and advise you on coosing your tools? Easy!

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