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Hacksaw Basics

When you're just getting started in the world of making things, many of the basic workshop tools can seem daunting. Even if you feel you know the basics often times there are plenty of minor tips that are hard to uncover unless you're working alongside people with experience in the area.

With that in mind I'm going to be making videos that aim to cover the basic tools that everyone should know how to use. The first one I've chosen to cover is the hacksaw. The hacksaw is an inexpensive and often overlooked metalworking tool.

There are two main parts to a hacksaw: the frame, and the blade.

When buying a frame you should look for one that is lightweight and yet sturdy. I prefer steel frames as I feel that they're more hard-wearing than aluminum frames. I generally prefer 10" frames to the longer 12" frames as I prefer the stiffer and shorter blades.

When selecting blades there are a few things to be aware of. First up: what is the blade made of? Most cheap blades are made of high-carbon steel, they're inexpensive but they don't last very long. The better blades are made from 'bi-metal', this means that they have high-speed-steel (HSS) teeth bonded to a back made from spring steel.

When buying blades you also need to consider the 'pitch' (number of teeth per inch) of the blade. The higher the number of teeth per inch, the thinner the material the blade can cut. When cutting really thick material you should get the coarsest blade (generally 18 teeth per inch or TPI), when cutting thin sheet stock or thin-walled tube you should get the finest blade possible (generally 32TPI).

The video below covers all the basics of selecting a hacksaw and also covers basic usage technique: