Guide to Choosing the Right Saw for the Job
You know the DIY project you want to do. But which tools will get your materials cut to the correct size, cleanly, safely and in no time at all?
Saws commonly cut wood, which is great if you are carrying out DIY such as transforming your garden patio, fitting wood flooring, or installing panelling. But you may also need a certain type of saw if you are cutting plasterboard or cutting away branches from a tree.
You know using a manual hand saw or chisel will be hard work, but you don’t want to hire anything that is unnecessary for the job. Not to worry – our guide below will tell you about all the different saws available, what they do, and which is needed for certain jobs.
Here at Speedy Hire, we have a range of saws available to hire. Whatever your plans, if you’re going to be doing some DIY, hiring a saw will be more practical than buying one. No storage, no maintenance and no need to sell it once the job is done.
- Before you use any power tools, always read the instructions which come with your hire. You also need to wear the correct PPE; depending on your job, this may include goggles, a dust mask, gloves and protective clothing.
What are the different types of saws?
There are three main types of saws: circular, reciprocating and jigsaw. However, specialty saws for materials such as plaster, or outdoor tasks, are also available.
1. Circular Saw
A circular saw uses a moving blade to make straight, accurate clean cuts. They are traditionally used to cut timber, and other building wood such as plywood. They can also cut kitchen worktops.
You can also alter the blade to adjust the cutting depth, whether you’re cutting thick timber sleepers or thinner planks of wood for a deck. Circular saws are commonly used for:
- Cutting timber for building projects
- Cutting plywood to size
Jigsaws have a very narrow blade compared to most other saw types. This makes them perfect for cutting shapes in wood or creating curved edges. They’re mostly used on softwood, but different blades are available for different requirements. This includes plastic, metal, tile, or plasterboard.
The thin blade has sharp teeth, measured in TPI (teeth per inches). The higher the TPI, the smoother cut the jigsaw will give. Because they can create precise cuts, curves, and shapes, they’re mainly used by woodworkers. However, you may need one for a few DIY projects around the home:
- Cutting laminate flooring to fit around sinks/toilets
- Cutting holes in countertops/kitchen units
- Trimming plasterboard
Some will also create bevels to 45° which can create a stronger joint if you’re fixing two pieces of wood together. The finish can be quite coarse, so if you are needing perfectly straight lines, a circular saw would be better. Also have a sander to hand if you need to neaten things up.
3. Reciprocating Saw
A reciprocating saw, or recip saw, is designed to cut wood, thin sheet metal, piping, and composite materials.
They are also known as sabre saws and are seen as a heavier duty version of a jigsaw. They are handheld, primarily used in demolition work, as they’re great for getting into cramped areas which no other saw will reach.
This can be to remove materials around doors, windows, joists, or plasterboard, with the use of a special blade. The blade moves in backwards and forwards strokes, ideal if you are replacing door or window frames.
The results can offer a bit of a rough cut, so they aren’t always the best if neatness is a priority.
But, while replacing an entire window or front door is probably a little too advanced for your DIY skills, you may be having a go at replacing internal door frames, in which case hiring a recip saw would come in handy. They are also great for cutting through piping or other delicate materials.
4. Masonry Cut Off Saw
It is probably no surprise that these saws are used to cut masonry. A masonry cut off saw can cut stone, concrete, bricks, roof tiles, blocks, and other hard materials such as metal.
In DIY home use, this could come in handy if you are laying your own garden path, building a wall or outbuilding, repairing your roof, or creating a base for an area such as a patio or decking. The cut off saw will cut blocks to size and will also allow you to shape them, such as if you need a rounded corner.
You can also hire a Masonry Table Saw. They do the same thing as a cut off saw, except they come with a freestanding bench. Your saw and workplace are all in one, so it gives better control and will likely be easier if you have a large amount of stone to cut through.
However, you do have to lift the stone up onto the bench, which may make a regular cut off saw better if you’re cutting bulky or heavy blocks.
5. Masonry Wall Saw
A masonry wall saw can cut mortar on an existing wall, without damaging the stonework. This may be needed because you need to cut out and remove a brick to replace it. You could also need to repair the mortar if it is weathered or cracked, or you may be taking on a bigger project and creating a doorway between two rooms.
They can also be used to cut back other adhesives such as grout on tiles, or plaster. This could come in handy for an electrician or plumber, who needs to install light switches, plug sockets or other controls.
6. Pole Saw
A pole saw is great for harder to reach branches without needing to build structural towers around the tree.
While they’re great for DIY tree maintenance, you should only use them on small branches. Garden hedges and smaller trees should be the focus, as opposed to huge old trees with heavy, thick branches. Not only would the branch be hard to remove with the pole saw in this case, but they can also be dangerous to remove if you’re stood below reaching up.
So, if you hire a pole saw, it should be for smaller trees, tall hedges and trimming away smaller branches or leaves. If you need a bigger job doing, always hire a professional who can use a chainsaw.
7. Floor Saw
A floor saw is probably not something you’d need for DIY around the house, as they’re primarily used to cut channels into asphalt or concrete. This is common if repairs are required, such as relaying the surface around a pothole.
You’ve probably seen potholes which have been filled in, and the shape will be more square or rectangular versus the old hole. A floor saw was probably used.
Despite them being more for trade use, you may have a driveway or large path that is looking past its best and just needs spot repairs rather than relaying the entire area. If you know what you’re doing and have the materials, a floor saw will allow you to make a cleaner area to fill.
Which saw do I need?
If you know what your task is, but don’t know how powerful your saw must be, the below guide should help you out:
- Cutting timber sleepers (for decking/raised beds) – circular saw
- Cutting and installing kitchen worktops – circular saw
- Laying and shaping a wooden floor – jigsaw and circular saw
- Cutting plastic piping – reciprocating saw
- Making fine cuts around existing material – reciprocating saw
- Building a wall – masonry cut off saw
- Repairing mortar or grout – masonry wall saw
- Pruning garden branches – pole saw
- Repairing driveway/tarmac – floor saw
So, if you’re wondering how to choose a saw for woodwork - which is the most common need for a DIY project - you’re probably going to need a circular saw, jigsaw or recip saw.
Can I hire a saw near me?
Yes. Here at Speedy, we have all the above saws available to hire as and when you need them. For quick jobs and long-term jobs, our nationwide delivery service will provide you with the tools for the job. Speedy has more than 200 service centres across the nation, hire counters in selected B&Qs and nationwide 4-hour delivery, saw hire has never been easier.
All saws come with different types of power, from petrol to cordless. This is great for adaptability as you can do your woodwork outdoors to minimize the sawdust in your home. Why not start planning your next DIY project and open a Speedy account today online and instore.
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