Homedit is supported by our readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

13 of the Best Types of Wood Cutting Tools

As remote working expands in households across the US, craft woodworking is emerging as a career path rather than a weekend hobby. Here will look at 13 of the best types of wood cutting tools that can help you improve your home decor craft-making skills or help with your next DIY wood project.

Wood Cutting Tools

With the advances made in wood cutting technology, you should know which woodcutters are available on the market and what they can do. 

Different saws specialize in specific tasks. With the right saw, you can save time and make your finished DIY wood project look great.

What Is A Wood Cutter?

A wood cutter can either be a tool that cuts wood or a person that cuts wood, otherwise known as a lumberjack. Wood cutting tools are as old and human civilization. A wood cutting tool exists for any and all types of jobs that require you to cut wood. From manual to battery-operated, if you have a job that requires you to cut wood, there’s a good chance a tool exists for that particular job. 

What Is The Difference Between A Wood Cutting Blade And Metal Cutting Blade?

The main difference between a wood cutting blade and one that cuts metal is their teeth per inch (TPI) number. A TPI number indicates how many teeth a blade has per inch.

Wood cutting blades have a TPI number between six and 20. For metal projects, the TPI number is a minimum of 14 and can go as high as 36.  

Must-Have Wood Cutting Tools For DIY Home Improvement Projects

Hand Saw Wood Working ToolView in gallery

Here are the go-to wood cutting tools homeowners and woodcraft hobbyists prefer:


1. Chainsaw

Wood Cutting ToolsView in gallery

What better place to start than with the chainsaw? Chainsaws might be the most notorious of all wood cutting tools, and for good reason. A chainsaw is a type of portable electric saw that uses a set of teeth that rotate on a chain.

A chainsaw is a wood cutting tool that cuts or trims trees. It’s also used to cut firewood. However, there are chainsaws for cutting ice or concrete. The 16-inch chainsaw is the easiest to use and most versatile.

Chainsaws have gained popularity thanks to their easy-to-use design and versatility. Many homeowners prefer to keep a chainsaw around to help with various do-it-yourself or creative projects.

Instead of buying a chainsaw, you can rent one. Unless you live in or next to a forest, then it’s doubtful you’ll need to own a chainsaw. 

Who Invented The Chainsaw?

The chainsaw was invented in the 1780s and was meant to assist with childbirth. The traditional chainsaw, like the one today that cuts trees, was the invention of a German doctor in 1830. Both versions early version were for medical use and not chopping timber.

In 1918, the first portable chainsaw was invented by James Shand, a Canadian millwright. In the 30s, chainsaws were first manufactured in Germany.

How To Sharpen A Chainsaw Blade?

When cutting wood with a chainsaw, if you notice black or burn marks on the wood you’re cutting, it’s because the blade is dull. If the longest part of the cutting tooth is under 4 mm, then it’s time to get a new chainsaw chain. The average chain will need replacing after you sharpen it ten times. 

There are three ways to sharpen a chainsaw blade. Whichever method you choose, make sure you have protective eyewear. 

  • File sharpener – using a hand file to sharpen a chainsaw blade is labor-intensive but it’s also the cheapest method. Sharpen the chainsaw teeth in one direction, then rotate the file so it matches the angle of the unsharpened cutters. 
  • Power Dremel – offers a fast way to sharpen the teeth. The tool spins the chainsaw teeth and sharpens each one within seconds.
  • Bench-top sharpener – is the fastest and easiest way to sharpen a chainsaw. The tool looks like a miter saw. After you get it set up, adjust the chainsaw and pull the trigger on the power tool. Lower the grinder until it touches the chain tooth. When sharpening, hit every fourth tooth for each chain rotation.  

How To Measure Chainsaw Bar?

Measuring a chainsaw bar is easy. First, measure the useable length of the bar otherwise known as the cutting length with measuring tape. All you do is measure from the front tip to the back of the cutter that’s closest to the saw’s body.

As a reminder, chainsaws are sold in even numbers, so you’ll need to round up when you measure odd numbers.


2. Hand Saw

Hand Saw Wood Working ToolView in gallery

A hand saw is a rip cut saw. This is the saw that comes to mind when you envision a saw. Chances are if you have done some kind of woodworking in the past, you have come across a hand saw, as they are found in garages or workspaces.

Though often used to cut wood, the hand saw is versatile and can help with a variety of DIY home repair projects. Their portability is an extra advantage for anyone with a need for a saw at more than one site.

A hand saw is mechanical and relies on human strength. There is also a technique involved when using it, though this can be learned and adopted. It’s also a cost-effective option for anyone who needs to cut wood.

How To Sharpen A Hand Saw?

To sharpen a hand saw you need a saw vise, a saw set, and a triangular file that matches the size of your saw blade.

Secure the hand saw in the vice with the blade facing up. The vice should hold the saw tight so it doesn’t vibrate when you sharpen it. The saw blade’s teeth have what is known as a set, which is the distance that the teeth are is bent from the blade. The size of the file depends on the points per inch (PPI) of the saw.

When you begin sharpening, start at the heel of the saw and push the file across the teeth’s cutting edge. 

Can You Cut Corian With A Hand Saw?

Corian is a hard material made with acrylic and aluminum ore, which means you shouldn’t use a hand saw to cut it. Countertops feature Corian and require a power saw or circular saw if you want to cut it. When you do cut it, make sure to wear protective eyewear and a face mask to safeguard against dust.  


3. Japanese Saw

Japanese SawView in gallery

The Japanese saw, known as the nokogiri in its native country, has more going for it than appearances. With sharp edges and a long, easy-to-use handle, the saw cuts wood when it’s pulled, unlike Western saws that use a back and forth motion, which is labor-intensive. For many woodworkers, a Japanese saw is ideal when cutting door jambs for new flooring.

When cutting wood with a pull saw, it’s easier to keep the blade straight. A thick saw blade bends when it’s pushed. A Japanese saw blade is 75 percent thinner than saw blades in Europe and North America, which allow for precision wood cutting.

A Japanese saw blade produces a thin kerf, which is the measurement used to describe the thickness of a cut. As Japanese saws remove less wood, this means less sawdust. The pull saws also don’t require the same physical strength to use as Western saws.

How To Sharpen A Japanese Saw?

The teeth of a Japanese saw are hard and can’t be sharpened with a steel file. You also can’t buy tiny sharpening stones to fit between the saw’s teeth. The best way to keep it sharp is not to let it get dull. When sharpening, you will need a vice, rotary tool, and polishing compound.

First, secure the saw in a vise grip with the saw teeth facing upward. Next, put some of the compound on the rotary wheel. Move the rotary wheel back and forth over the saw’s teeth until they’re clean. 

How To Use A Japanese Saw? 

A Japanese saw is a pull saw so you use your thumb to guide the saw while cutting wood. Hold the blade at an angle toward the stock. Whatever you do, do not hold the saw with the handle’s front, but position your grip further back on the saw.


4. Chisel

Chisel tools for woodworkingView in gallery

A chisel is a popular tool among woodworkers. They have a wide range of practical uses. A chisel is unique as it allows you to achieve precise cuts. The tool has a distinct sharp edge for cutting or carving. Larger chisels can cut heavier materials, like stone or metal.

The handle is made of metal or wood, and some chisel handles are made with rubber which makes it easier to grip. A chisel works by being forced into a targeted area. Types of chisels can include a bevel edge chisel, a paring chisel, and a carving chisel.

How To Chisel Door Latch?

Installing a new door latch is an easy DIY home project. First, pinpoint the latch on the door jamb so you can locate the string plate. Use a chisel to route your marked outline. You will need a drill to put holes in the door so you can attach a handle to it.

How To Chisel A Channel In Wood?

Cutting a channel is a task for experienced woodworkers as it can be challenging. In woodworking, a channel is a groove that is cut into the edge of your wood project. A channel allows you to guide trim or moldings, so they line up with your project.

When you use a chisel to cut a channel, it requires precision and skill. The benefit of using a chisel provides better accuracy because you can use the tool’s  gauge to mark where you want to cut.


5. Router

Profesional Wood Router Cutting Tool for precision cutsView in gallery

A router hollows out material and is often used for wood. The tool can be hand-powered or electrical, though the majority of routers are electric. An electric router is versatile due to its ability to make precise cuts.

Routers are portable or embedded in a workbench or table. A mounted router provides an inverted workflow that many find useful. It allows wood to be passed over the router, instead of passing the router being passed over the wood.

How To Notch Wood With A Router?

Notching wood is for when you want to make joints stronger. The goal is to provide extra support and stability to wooden structures. If you had a bookshelf, for example, and you wanted to make it stronger, then you would notch its wood.

A router is the best tool to use for notching wood. Other than a router, you will need a marking knife, sandpaper, measuring tape, clamps, a sharp chisel and a hammer. The first thing to do is set the depth of your notches with a marking knife. Next, go over the marks with the router. When you’ve finished notching, remove the extra wood pieces and sawdust. You can use a sharp chisel to remove everything and sand the area. You’ll need to make notches on every side of the frame. 

How To Bevel Wood With A Router?

When you bevel a wood structure, you soften or round its edges. A router is a cheap and easy way to bevel wood. After you secure the wood you’re working on, run the router over the surface you want to smooth. 


6. Band Saw

Band Saw wood tool for big woodworking shopsView in gallery

A band saw is a type of power saw that uses a sharp blade to cut material. It is unique for its positioning of the blade, which moves in a continuous motion between two or more wheels.

A band saw is useful in its ability to cut curves and shapes. Thanks to its design, it cus through thick lumber with ease. Due to the high amount of tension that is produced by a bandsaw, users of this saw type can count on a very exact cut.

Modern band saws are all electrical — a hand-powered version would be considered an antique.

How To Use A Portable Band Saw?

A portable band saw is easy to operate. All you do is hold down on the trigger and move slowly when cutting. If you force the speed, you will warp the saw and damage the material you’re cutting. 

What Is A Horizontal Band Saw Used For?

A horizontal band saw is known among woodworking professionals as one of the strongest saws on the market today. It can cut through anything and is used for heavy-duty wood cutting and hard metal projects.


7. Ax

Traditional Wood Ax cutting toolView in gallery

Despite cultural depictions, an ax is not just for lumberjacks. Though it may be basic, there is a reason why an ax is an icon of woodworking, and that is because it is very, very useful.

Axes are used to split logs destined for wood bundles. The tool is also used to cut wood for a variety of purposes aside from harvesting timber.

Although you may not be able to get as much versatility out of an ax than the other tools on this list, they are handy to have. Given how they also come at a low price, you can’t go wrong by having one in your tool shed.

What is the best ax to split wood?

It depends on the size of the wood. The axe head’s weight decides the momentum generated to chop wood. If the axe head is heavy, it will give you greater swing power. Most wood chopping axes weigh between three and six pounds. 

What is a tree splitting axe?

A tree splitter axe is also known as a splitting maul. The axe splits logs along their grain to break a tree’s fibers. A felling axe cuts logs against the grain.


8. Circular Saw

Circular Saw wood cutterView in gallery

In the world of wood crafts, the circular saw is the go-to tool among woodworking professionals and hobbyists. The saw is also a favorite among homeowners who like DIY home repair projects. A circular saw can work with high volumes. The saw is also good for cutting brick and metal. 

Another selling point is how circular saws are portable and easy to carry. The saw relies on a disc or blade that has precision and power. Ever since their inception in the 19th century, circular saws have played an important part in renovation or construction projects.

How To Use A Circular Saw Without A Table?

You don’t need a table or workbench to use a circular saw. You can cut large plywood sheets without the aid of a table. Most woodworkers can guide a circular saw by hand, which is the mark of a veteran or professional wood craftsman. If you use a circular saw without a table, make sure you measure your starting and endpoints. Draw a line between both points and follow it. 

How To Replace A Circular Saw Blade?

When replacing a circular saw blade the first thing to need do is unplug it or disconnect its battery. It cannot be a power source or you’ll risk injuring yourself. Unlock the blade by pressing the arbor-lock button and rotate until the mechanism engages.

Unscrew the nut in the same direction as the blade. Remove the upper blade guard and then the old blade. Slide the new blade in and make sure the saw teeth are pointed in the same direction as the rotation. Tighten the arbor nut until it’s fit, but don’t make it too tight, and you’re ready to go.


9. Tree Loppers

Tree LoppersView in gallery

Tree loppers, often known as loppers, are another example of a low-tech but functional wood cutting tool. They tool is like as a giant pair of scissors that can cut tree branches and twigs. 

Tree loppers require manual operation. They have long handles that reach tall tree branches and come in different sizes. The tool is easy to use, and would be cheap addition to your woodworking tool collection.

How Much Do Tree Loppers Earn?

With the right tools, you can become a licensed arborist and start a tree cleaning business. A tree lopper is an arborist. Their job is to maintain trees for public safety purposes.

In the US, annual salaries for tree loppers start at $54,000 at the federal level and $42,000 at the state level. 

How To Sharpen Tree Loppers?

When sharpening lopper blades, the first thing you need to do is clean them. The blades will often have dried tree sap and dirt on them.

To sharpen tree lopper blades, you will need a flat-file. While holding the file, stroke the cutting edge of the blade’s heel to the tip using long, single strokes.


10. Bow Saw

Bow SawView in gallery

A bow saw has a thin blade held in place by a metal frame and looks like a bow. It is for simple, curved or straight cuts. The tool is from China.

Small and portable, a bow saw is ideal for DIY home tasks like cutting tree branches. However, unlike other the high-tech options on this list, a bow saw does not offer a precise cut. The saw is good for rough jobs.


11. Pruning Saw

Pruning Saw for outdoor wood workingView in gallery

Speaking of tree branches, if you find that most of your jobs around the house revolve around your foliage, it may be worth your time to invest in a pruning saw. A pruning saw for tree branches that have gone awry and need trimming.

Pruning saws work by using manual labor, although they are not particularly difficult to use. Prune saws are an ideal choice for anyone new to power tools, as they can be less intimidating than something more robust like the chainsaw.

What Is The Best Pruning Saw?

If you want something easy to carry and move, then a folding pruning saw is what you want. Folding pruning saws come in a variety of sizes and can handle any DIY tree pruning job.

How To Clean A Pruning Saw?

The best DIY cleaning method for a pruning saw is isopropyl rubbing alcohol. You can use the alcohol to clean the entire saw and not just the blade. After you apply the alcohol to the pruning saw blade, wait 20 seconds and then wipe it off with a clean towel. The alcohol kills bacteria and fungus, and while removing tree sap.


12. Jigsaw

Jigsaw wood cutting tool for faster jobsView in gallery

A jigsaw is an advanced tool that cuts straight or curved lines. With this saw, it’s all about precision woodwork. It might be the best saw for those serious about their woodcraft skills. The saws are good for DIY construction projects that require complicated lines or cutting various materials including laminate and metal.

You can change the jigsaw blade, depending on the cut you desire and material you are sawing. And if you’re a rookie craftsman looking for a few ideas that can earn you money, try making personalized wooden keyrings or wooden plant holders. 

How To Cut A Hole In Wood With A Jigsaw?

First, you need a workbench. Place the ends of the wood on two surfaces with the middle visible at the top and bottom. Outline the spot you want to cut and drill a starter hole. Align the shoe of your jigsaw and place the standing base of the saw on the outline.
The best way to make a hole is with the plunging method. Put the blade in the starter hole and cut toward outline’s borders. Repeat this process until you can’t see the outline. 

Is A Jigsaw The Same As A Reciprocating Saw?

A jigsaw looks like a reciprocating saw, but that’s where the similarities end. A reciprocating saw has a horizontal blade while a jigsaw blade is vertical. Jigsaws are not as powerful and are ideal for cutting thin wood, plastic, or metal. The saws are lighter and designed for intricate woodwork projects.


13. Plane

traditional wood cutting PlaneView in gallery

A plane is a tool that can shape wood according to your project. The tool is non-electrical and requires upper-body strength to operate.

Planes can smoothen or flatten wood. The tool can remove rough surfaces on wood or make wood pieces smaller. If you want to polish a wood surface, then you would use a plane. Wood planes require both hands and point away from the user across the top of the wood.

How To Plane Wood Without A Planer?

If you don’t have a wood planer and you need to smooth wood, you can use a router. You’ll need to make a jig so the wood passes the router in the right place. A jig is a wooden frame that holds the wood you’re working on. After you secure the wood, push the jig past the router so it cuts the face of the board. You’ll need to work in the direction of the grain.

Where  Can I Get Wood Planed Near Me?

Let’s say for example you want to build an arched screen door with vertical grain fir and you don’t have a planer. If you take your wood to a hardware store you will spend upward of $75 an hour to have your wood planed. Most retail chain hardware stores carry pre-planed lumber, but they don’t have a big selection. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What Is The Average Hourly Pay For A Self-Employed Woodworker?

The average hourly pay for a swoodworker in the US is $32. For DIY wood artisans, it depends on the skill set. Since the pandemic, a few wood hobbyists earn seven figures a year by selling their homemade crafts and designs online. The best thing about developing a craft skill is how you control your success. 

How To Use Drill Machine As Wood Cutter?

A drill machine is versatile. The tool has conversion capabilities that allow it to perform random tasks. For small DIY wood-cutting projects, you can use your drill.

Attach the circular saw blade with nuts, bolts, a washer to your drill. Fasten the saw the blade to the drill. And that’s all there is to it. Make sure you use protective eyewear to prevent sawdust or tiny wood chips from hurting your eyes.

What Is The Effect Of Cutting Speed On Tool Wear?

When you increase the cutting speed of a woodcutter, wear and tear value will decrease. However, the feed rate has the biggest impact on tool shelf life. Behind that in importance are spindle speed and cut depth.

Can A Plasma Cutter Cut Wood?

No, and don’t try this at home. The reason why you can’t cut wood with a plasma cutter is because wood is not a conduit for electricity.

What Is Best Tool to Cut Wood in Tight Spaces?

Of the wood cutting tools mentioned here, a jigsaw is the best saw to use when cutting wood in tight spaces. 

What Is Chatoyance In Wood?

Chatoyance is when a tree grows under stress and the grain curls back on itself. It gives the appearance of 3D waves in the wood. The wood’s appearance also changes when you look at it from different angles.

Best Types Of Wood Cutting Tools Conclusion

With these tools in your arsenal, there is no wood cutting project that will be outside of your scope. The DIY woodworking spirit is gaining momentum in the US as more people work at home. Learning how to work with wood and creating wood crafts is no longer a hobby, but a viable career.