What is a Hacksaw Used For? (A Quick Guide For Beginners)

When it comes down to manually powered saws, the hacksaw is one of the most popular tools around. Ultimately, the reason for this tool’s popularity comes down to its diverse functionality. If you’re wondering what a hacksaw is used for, you’re in the right place! 

A hacksaw is a manually powered saw that can be used to cut through almost anything. Primarily, hacksaws are used to cut through various metals. It can cut through aluminum, steel, copper, brass, iron, and more. However, a hacksaw can also be used to cut through plastic and wood. To do this, you’ll need the correct type of blade for your hacksaw and material. 

In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about this versatile tool. We’ll give you an overview of why a hacksaw is capable of cutting almost anything. Once we’ve done this, we’ll look at the materials it can cut and the blades that make this possible.


The Hacksaw Blade That Could (Cut Almost Anything) 

Essentially, a hack saw is a handheld saw that is manually powered. Before we take a look at what a hacksaw used for, let’s look at the design of this saw. One of the hallmarks of a handsaw is the bow-shaped frame. When operating a hacksaw, you’ll hold the U-shaped handle and push and pull the blade across the material. 

Perhaps the most commonly identifiable hacksaw features a grip known as a “pistol grip” and features an adjustable frame. This type of frame is capable of accepting blades of different lengths. This makes it a highly versatile hacksaw. However, it can be less rigid than the other type of common hacksaw. 

The other type of hacksaw features a fixed frame. This means that the hacksaw will only be able to accommodate a certain blade length. You will, of course, need to keep this in mind when buying blades for your hacksaw with a fixed frame. However, you’ll come to find that the fixed-frame hacksaw offers more rigid performance when you’re cutting through tough materials.

Typically, there are three class sizes of hacksaws. The first is a full-sized hacksaw, which is optimized for cutting through a variety of materials. The following size is known as a junior hacksaw. These will utilize half-size blades and are more compact than a full-sized hacksaw. 

Then there’s the mini hacksaw. This type of hacksaw features an ergonomic, compact design. This allows the saw to be used in confined spaces where another hacksaw might not work. This can be highly useful to those who need to get into the nitty-gritty of it all with their hacksaw!

Typically, hacksaws are used to cut materials that are stronger or harder than wood. We’ll take a look at the materials that can be cut by a hacksaw in more depth in the following part of this article – but suffice it to say that this manual saw can cut almost anything. 

cutting with a hacksaw

In terms of hacksaw blades, there are many different sizes available. These blades will also differ in tooth density – that is, how many teeth are on the blade. This is an important aspect, as you’ll want to ensure that the blade is adequately suited to the material you’re looking to cut. 

On average, a hacksaw will have a tooth density ranging between 3 to 32 teeth per inch of blade. What makes a hacksaw unique is that the blade is replaceable. This means that you’re able to purchase different blades, effectively expanding the number of materials you’re able to cut. 

Hacksaws utilize nuts that hold the blade in place. These nuts can be tightened or loosened as needed. Furthermore, if one blade gets damaged, you always have the option of replacing it! Let’s take a look at the materials a hacksaw can cut before we take a look at the relevant blade you’ll need to cut them!  

What Materials Can A Hacksaw Cut? 

As we mentioned in the first section of this article, a hacksaw can cut through almost anything. Regardless, let’s take a look at the specifics of what a hacksaw can do! Once we’ve gone through these materials, you’ll understand just how versatile this handheld, manually powered saw is! 

#1: Metals  

While you can, of course, use a hacksaw to cut a variety of materials, perhaps the biggest advantage of a hacksaw is that it can cut through various metals. From aluminum to steel, from copper to brass, your hacksaw is capable of cutting a variety of metal materials. When you need to cut metal pipe rods, the hacksaw is up for the task! 

#2: Plastics 

Plastic is another material that a hacksaw is suited to cutting. Of course, to do this, you will need to use a blade suited to cutting plastic. We looked at that in the previous section of this article. However, when you need to cut through hard plastic, the hacksaw is the perfect tool for the job!

#3: Wood 

Did you know that a hacksaw is a type of handsaw? Handsaws, of course, are commonly used to cut wood. However, your hacksaw can also cut wood, just like the other handheld saw that inspired it. Unfortunately, a handsaw will not be able to cut metal or plastic! 

#4: Electrical, Metal, And Plastic Tubing 

There’s a good reason handymen and plumbers keep hacksaws on hand. You guessed it: it’s because this versatile tool can cut through so many different materials. From electrical tubing to metal tubing and plastic tubing, one tool can cut through them all. When it comes down to your sawing needs, a hacksaw will always come in handy! 

The Different Types Of Hacksaw Blades 

Earlier in this article, we outlined the various materials a hacksaw is capable of cutting. However, to cut these materials, you’ll need to use the right type of blade. These are the main types of hacksaw blades and what they’re each designed to cut!

#1: Flexible Hacksaw Blade 

With this type of blade, only the teeth will be reinforced. The actual blade, however, will be more flexible than the other types discussed on this list. This type of blade is typically used to cut thin sheets of metal and plastic pipes and tubing. 

#2: Course Grade Hacksaw Blade 

Hacksaw blades rated as course grade can be used to cut aluminum, copper, brass, and mild steel. Generally, each inch of the blade will feature between 14 and 18 teeth. 

#3: Medium Grade Hacksaw Blade 

With a hacksaw blade that is rated medium grade, you’re looking at 20 to 24 teeth per inch of the blade. This type of blade is suited for cutting aluminum, brass, and cast iron. With this type of hacksaw blade, you’ll also be able to cut through stronger steel, such as high carbon steel. 

#4: Fine Grade Hacksaw Blade 

Like the flexible blade discussed above, a fine-grade hacksaw blade is used to cut thin sheets of metal, as well as tubes and pipes. Typically, these blades feature 24 to 30 teeth per inch of blade. 

#5: Superfine Grade Hacksaw Blade 

Finally, hacksaw blades that are rated as superfine utilize 30 to 32 teeth per inch of blade. While this blade will be able to cut thin sheets like some other types, it will also be able to cut through solid metals like a pro!


In this article, we looked at what a hacksaw is used for. Of course, this manually powered saw is capable of cutting through a variety of different materials, from metal to plastic. It can even cut wood! To do this, however, you’ll need to use the right type of blade for your type of hacksaw and the material you wish to cut! 

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

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