What is a Bow Saw Used for: A Learner’s Guide on How to Use

A bow saw is a popular wood-cutting tool with a long straight blade that is best for pruning projects and getting medium-sized firewood ready. You will find this tool commonly available in markets in traditional shapes. The shape of this saw is like an archer’s bow. It is a very popular tool for woodcutters for its portability and lightweight designs. Keep reading today you will learn what is a bow saw used for and its different features. 

What is a Bow Saw 

Historically, the bow saw is a very ancient tool used widely in China and the Hellenistic Period for its lightweight design and simplicity. The blade of the bowsaw is suspended in a frame. The name itself defines why it is called a bowsaw. The saw has a bow-shaped handle. 

Different saws are used for various purposes, but many of you need to learn which tool works most efficiently on which task. The bow saw is a metal-framed crosscut saw ideal for cutting rough wood grain. No tool is better than a bowsaw while working with firewood branches. The coarse wide blade of the bowsaw makes it an ideal choice for many woodcutting purposes. 

The long and curved blades of the bow saw are attached to a frame with a metal strap or rod. The handle of these tools is made of wood. Using this tool is safer and more accessible for cutting tree branches or logs and for other tasks like trimming branches or cutting curves in the wood. 

Recommended: Can You Cut Aluminum with a Miter Saw: 5 Steps and Effective Tips

Features of a Bow Saw 

A bow saw is a bow-shaped hollow metal frame that it can cut through large materials. Woodcutters use this metal for their everyday purposes, like cutting tree branches or sawing logs to size. Bows saws are very easy to work with due to being super lightweight. Consider using a bow saw when the tool’s speed is more important than a clean finish of the project. 


The blade of a bow saw is straight enough to be removed from the frame. This tool has a sharp blade that gives quicker cuts through the materials. Two blade types are seen in bow saws- 1) Peg tooth blades and 2) Peg and raker tooth blades. While pegging tooth blades are used to cut dry and hardwood, peg and raker blades are suitable for cutting wet wood. 

Cutting Stroke

The blade’s teeth of a bow saw do not angle in a single direction like other kinds of saws. In fact, A bow saw mainly makes for cutting on the push and pull stroke. The tooth blades usually have 6-8 teeth per inch. 


The handle of the bow saw is designed in such a way that it can give a faster and more aggressive cutting. This tool has a closed pistol grip handle type of handle found on saws with large long blades. The long blade of a bow saw supports its blade. So, the user feels so easy while cutting with the saw because the user’s hand is less likely to slip. Plus, a bow saw less injures the user. 


A bow saw can aggressively cut through the wood because of its large teeth with deep gullets. Bow saws have a few teeth per inch, but they all can cut and remove many materials per stroke. The finish a bow saw provides is usually rough. 

What is Bow Saws Used For

Feeling trees is the primary purpose of using a bow saw. Here you can understand how valuable this tool is to working with heavy and oversized wooden materials. You can use a bow saw for many purposes, but you must be careful with the branches’ width. The broader the branch is, the more effort you have to invest in your project. Check out some different usages of a bow saw as follows:

Making Firewood 

An essential use of a bow saw is making firewood. It doesn’t require heavy effort to make firewood with a bow saw. You will be able to cut the firewood into different small pieces without much stress and effort. 


You must be popular with the pruning tasks if you are a gardener. Pruning is the most common task we have to do in our gardens, which means cutting off the extra-grown branches and plants. A bow saw is ideal for pruning tasks because it doesn’t need a battery, power, or maximum effort. 

Making Logs

Another common use of a bow saw is making logs from fallen trees. The sharp teeth of bow saws help in making logs. However, the bow saw’s blade doesn’t give a smooth finish. So the edges are less likely to be rough. 

There are many other usages of a bow saw. Keep in mind, though people have used bow saws for several decades, a drawback of using these tools is their manual cutting feature. You have to put so much effort into using a bow saw to cut a large and heavy wood project. However, cutting manually can be beneficial, too, as you have complete control over the wood while cutting. Manual cutting tools are safe, simple, and easy to use. You don’t need to follow some specific ways to use these tools.

Tips: Why Does My Circular Saw Keep Stopping: 9 Major Reasons

How to Use a Bow Saw 

Step 1: Position the Blade 

First, you have to position the blade of the bow saw to the project’s surface you are going to cut. 

Step 2: Take Hold of the Project 

When one hand positions the saw’s blade, ultimately another hand takes hold of the wood. Place the saw’s teeth against your wood project.

Step 3: Move the Bow Saw Back and Forth

Now, you have to start raking the teeth of the saw back and forth across the wood surface. Using long and slow strokes is imperative, allowing the teeth to cut accurately. Moving the blade too fast will result in the saw’s blade becoming lodged in the surface. 


How is a bow saw different from a frame saw?

A frame saw is a frame that stands around the blade of the saw, and the saw blade is in tension. The two beams of a frame saw on the outside are in compression. On the contrary, a bow saw has a bow-shaped handle. The middle beam of this tool is in compression. A Bow saw consider a frame saw, but frame saws are not bow saws. 

In which cases are hand saws better than bow saws?

Though bow saws are easy and safe, hand saws work most effectively for smaller projects. The bow saws are suitable for cutting through more extensive projects. Additionally, hand saws are ideal while working with hardwood than bow saws. Hand saws are quicker to set up and extensively used in tighter spaces. 

How can I store my bow saw?

You can store your bow saw in a box or a large bag. It will be good if kept in an allocated place near your workstation. You must store the cutting tools in a safe place that doesn’t harm anyone. Keep them away from children.

What are the primary considerations when choosing between a bow and a hand saw?

Both hand saws and bow saws are easy and comfortable to use. However, you can’t pick a cutting tool randomly for any project because each saw possesses different characteristics and is ideal for various tasks. When choosing between these two saws, four have to consider four factors- size, type of the project, space, and time. 

Read: Why Is Festool So Expensive: Know the 10 Major Reasons

Final Thoughts

There are several helpful options when you use a saw for your projects. All cutting tools have different features and purposes. The function of a bow saw makes it different from others. We use bow saws for many purposes, like cutting timber, logs, wood branches, firewood, and resawing some materials. Hopefully, today you got the explanation thoroughly of what is a bow saw used for. You should consider buying this tool for the task it can be used for and have a safer experience than other power tools.

Hey, I'm George Fanton. I've over nine years of experience in the woodworking industry. I've cultivated a deep interest in practical wood and tasks. I enjoy sharing new information on woodworking technology to maintain my expertise in the current woodworking industries.

Leave a Comment