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Bow Saw Vs Hand Saw: How Are They Different?

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Saws are a major DIY tool, and they’ve been in use for centuries, and they’ve evolved just like any other work tool. Today we’ve got a pool of different genres of saw with each optimized for particular tasks and use.

It’s almost hard to say if there’s any telling difference between the types of saws we have. Like is there a difference between bow saw vs hand saw?


Then, what are these differences and similarities?

Bow saws and hand saws differ in terms of their design and usage. For example, bow saws are suitable for pruning flowers and small plants, while hand saws are ideal for cutting far reach tree trunks and the trees due to their length and optimized open-end handle.

Below, we will look more deeply into how a bow saw is different from a hand saw, so you will always know which of them to choose for which work.

Why Should You Care About Their Differences?

I’m certain you’ve got an arsenal of tools that you call upon when you need to tighten a screw, cut a tree, or even make tacos. But have you ever used a hammer in place of a screwdriver?

That doesn’t sound right. Does it?

As much as you want to, you really can’t use any saw for any task you see fit because it would look like using a screwdriver instead of a hammer. Although it literally doesn’t seem weird because all saw should be able to cut.

Read Also: Pole Saw Vs Hedge Trimmer

I assure you that using that approach would be pushing your saw to the limit every time, which would make it worn out easily. You might also have to expend a lot more energy every time you do that.

It’s not so surprising that these saw types are often confused. After all, they are all saws designed to cut hard trees you wouldn’t want to use a knife for.

So, what makes a bow saw stand out from a hand saw?

Let’s find out!

What is a Bow Saw?

Bow saws are quaint tools. And they’ve been used by carpenters since forever. Don’t you think there’s a reason for that?

Bow saws are crosscut saws that come with sturdy ergonomic metal frames. They are the real deal for taking on woodworks and making any style of cuts, either straight or curved.

Unlike the handsaws, they have their broad blade plates attached to their bow-shaped handles that are quite dense with adjustable tension to fit the pressing need.

The blade plates of this saw are replaceable. However, they are not essentially common or easy to find, which is one of the similarities this saw shares with the hand saws.

Bow saws usually come with two different types of blades. One which is optimized for wet wood cutting and the other for deg wood cutting. Some blades are, however, designed to meet both of these needs.

The bow saw tool has sturdy frames that are accompanied by knuckle protectors that keep your knuckles safe from injuries when you use this saw.

This saw would seamlessly cut through almost any tree size or thickness. Offering a more precise and to-the-point woodcut than the hand saws.

Read Also: Bow Saw vs Pruning Saw

What is a Hand Saw?

Although “Hand saw” seems like an umbrella term for saws that do all kinds of religious cutting and are operated manually, it’s more definitive and narrows down to a particular type of saw, also known as the panel saw.

They are called panel saws because of the shape their blades take. Flat, wide, and long like the shape of an average panel. And they are massively engaged in wood cutting. Which is a purpose this saw intensely shares with bow saws, and both have been around for decades.

Arguably it’s an old design, and we have seen better saw, but the panel saw remains efficient because of the kind of task it does uniquely.

The evolution of these saws was affected by several factors. Firstly, by the grave importance of wood to the society, the introduction and development of steel and any other saw-making technologies you could think of.

Each of these factors was environmentally influenced by types of ores available, nearby trees, and wood types. Essentially, it was just necessary to have an easy woodcutter saw without the complexities.

Differences Between Bow Saw Vs Hand Saw

Bow Saw Vs Hand Saw

We could have jumped right into what the difference lies between both hand saws and the bow saw. But it’d have been a futile effort without first providing a ground knowledge of these saws.

But, since we led with our best foot forward, you’ve already painted a relative scenario of what each of these saws can and cannot do.

While that might be enough for some regular buying decision, here’s something to add to the mix of what differentiate either of these saws:

Different in Usage

They find rudimentary differences between two saws by checking for their purpose and intended use.

In this case, both of these saws are great woodcutters, but for far reach tree trunks, and for cutting down trees, the bow saw would be a waste of time and effort as the handsaw does it is best given its length and optimized open-end handle.

The bow saw works when you need to prune flowers and work some carved designs on your wood or anything else that’s too flashy for a stylish old hand saw.

Read Also: How to Sharpen a Pruning Saw

Different in Design

You can’t fake this! Each of these saws has unique designs! While they might have very similar purposes, their designs are inches apart. The handsaw has a unique one-hand design model, which makes it very plain and simple.

The bow saw, however, has a frame (usually metal) shaped like a bow and a wide coarse blade for easy and stylish wood cutting.

Although both saws seem abstract in comparison, they have similarities, like the fact that these saws are manually powered and make use of hand to find blades.

They also use similar safety precautions. Both of these saws have ergonomic designs that fit their term and purpose of use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are hand saws good for wood?

Yes! Hand saws have a unique design, most of which are dynamic for cutting different materials. But most essentially, handsaws are designed for wood.

What’s the difference between a handsaw and a bow saw?

As stated earlier, their difference lies in their designs and what they’re used for.

What’s the benefit of a bow saw over a coping saw?

Bow saws are in many ways practical. However, it ties back to what you need the saw for. As far as the bow saw is concerned, they come in handy for beautiful horticultural design and trimmings.

Can you sharpen a bow saw blade?

Yes, you can! Most wooden saw’s blade loses their sharpness after a long period of use. And the bow saw’s blade is not any different. But you do not have to buy a blade every time that happens. You could choose to sharpen the blades instead.

What’s the best saw for cutting trees?

Either the bow saw, or the handsaw works for cutting a tree. But you might have to consider the size of the tree you want to cut before choosing a saw.

Read Also: Best Pruning Blades For Reciprocating Saw