How To Cut Wood Without A Saw (4 Ways To Do It!)

How To Cut Wood Without A Saw

A saw is one of the most common tools you’ll see in a hardware store. Saws are so widely-recognized, even playsets meant for children have them. They’re the ultimate wood cutting tool, but the thing is, you won’t always have one around. If you live in an apartment, you’re not going to have a place to store your tools. What you might not know is that there are ways to cut wood without a saw.

There are several reliable ways to cut wood without the use of the saw. The most common methods include:

  • A drill
  • An axe
  • A sharp knife
  • A lathe

While a saw is still going to be the optimal choice for your home improvement choices, there are some alternatives that you can use. This guide will help you understand what you can do and how to do it.

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Should You Cut Wood Without A Saw?

Ideally, you will always use the tool that has been suggested for you if you have it on hand. If you have a saw, do not try to cut the wood using a drill or an axe. Saws offer a higher level of accuracy than other tools, which is why they are generally suggested. When we give you other options, it’s meant to be a backup.

There’s a reason why all our home improvement articles involve guides that tell you what to use. Now that we’ve gone over this, let’s get to the different cutting methods you can use for that next project.

The Best Ways To Cut Wood Without A Saw

Cutting wood is a must for almost any home improvement project. It’s just the way things are. If you don’t have a saw on hand, and aren’t going to go to a hardware store, you can use any of these tools/methods below.

A Drill Machine

It’s not surprising to anyone, right? Drills machines are meant to bore deep into wood, which means that they can cut into the wood if they drill deep enough. To use this method, mark off the line where you want to cut your wood. Then, make small perforations into the wood along the line. Eventually, this will weaken the wood until it breaks along the perforated lines.

An Axe

Axes are generally used to chop wood, but can also be a quick way to cut wood in a specific direction. There are two basic ways to use an axe to cut your wood. These are:

  1. The Traditional Route. Traditional cutting means that you’re going to chop away at a designated pattern you draw out. This is the faster way, but there’s a good chance you might get splinters.
  2. Using The Blade. If you’re patient, you can use the blade of the axe as a knife that can cut your wood. This gives more accuracy to your cutting, but can require you to do a fair amount of sharpening. You can either use it like a sharpened knife, or use the blade’s edges to create perforations until the wood breaks.

A Sharpened Knife

Knives existed for ages, and remain one of the most old-school cutting tool that money can buy. If you have a knife or a machete that’s properly prepped, there’s no reason why you can’t use it to cut through wood. It’s easy. Here’s how to prep your sharp, pointy things and use them:

  1. Select the right knife or machete. The first thing you want to do is to choose the right knife. You want a knife that is sharp, long, and sturdy. If you need to, use a file to sharpen the knife’s edges before you start cutting.
  2. Holding the wood at an angle, slowly “saw” at it. You may need to hold the wood down with a pair of clamps in order to do this properly.
  3. Trim any remaining edges of the wood and sand it down. This is more of an “on-need” basis, but it’s still good to know.

A Lathe

Lathes are cool tools, if you ask me. These are ultra-high powered shaping tools that are used to cut table legs and other things into shapes. Unsurprisingly, lathes are excellent tools for cutting wood. All you have to do is turn on the lathe and place the wood at both ends of the shaping tool.

As the lathe turns, gently push the wood into the shaping area and let the lathe’s shapers do the work for you. When you’re using the lathe, make sure to set it to the lowest speed, otherwise, you’re going to end up with parts of your wood flying all over the place. Finally, once you’re done cutting your wood, use a sander to even things out.

Can You Just Rent A Saw Instead?

With every method that we’ve discussed so far, you probably noticed that you are not going to be able to get a thoroughly even and smooth cut in most cases. Even in times where you might get the smoothness, there’s going to be indentations from a lathe or some extra effort that needs to be put in just to get the same quality cut.

If you are getting the feeling that you’d rather use a saw, you’re not alone. The good news is that there are ways to get a saw, even if you don’t have storage for it. There are several places where you can rent a saw for a nominal fee. The more common places to go include:

  • Home Depot
  • Lowe’s
  • Local Woodshops
  • Ace Hardware

Before you assume that you will be able to rent a saw without any problems, give one of those places above a call. After you’re 100 percent sure that you will be able to rent it, you should be good to go.

How Much Does Renting A Saw Cost?

Renting a saw is actually fairly cheap if you know where to go. For example, you can rent a saw from Home Depot for anywhere from $4 to $18 for a partial day’s rent. Home Depot does require a refundable deposit of $50 for the rental with most models. 

Most rentals go by the hour, or via four-hour blocks. If you need them for an extended period of time, you can do so depending on the store’s policies. With that said, most people agree that renting a saw or finding a place to cut the wood for you is a smart investment of your time and money.

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Related Questions

Can I use a Dremel to cut wood?

Dremels are an excellent tool to cut most types of craft wood, as well as major woodworking thicknesses. If you want to cut wood using your Dremel, use a 561 bit. This offers up a 1/4 inch steel shank that is designed to make cutting easy.

If you choose to use a Dremel to cut through your wood pieces, make sure that you go in slowly and test the edges first. Like with all other cutting methods, it’s important to wear protective eyewear and to secure the piece of wood in place. It’s just safety!

Can a hacksaw cut wood?

Though hacksaws were originally made in order to cut metal, there’s no reason why you can’t use them to cut wood. Hacksaws are excellent tools for cutting through difficult materials, including harder woods like teak. Along with metal and wood, you can use a hacksaw to cut through plastic, wire, metal tubing, brass, aluminum, and copper.

What type of saw should you use to cut plywood?

There are several types of saws you can use to cut plywood. The most commonly-used saw for the job is a circular saw, much like the ones you see for rent in stores like Home Depot. However, you can also use hacksaws, hand saws, as well as jigsaws without having to worry about damaging the wood or having flyaway parts.

Regardless of which saw you use, you should make sure to wear protective gear and to clamp your piece of wood down to a steady surface. Plywood, much like any other type of wood, can jerk and snag on the saw if cut improperly.

Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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