What is a Tenon Saw Used For: Where and How to Use It?

Have you ever thought about why the tenon saw is also called a backsaw? Do you even know what is a tenon saw used for?

There are a lot of saws and backsaws. A brass liner covering the back of the blade makes a backsaw different from a usual one. This feature helps the metal stay away from bowing and also makes the back portion of the saw heavy.

Tenon Saw Used For

A Tenon saw has such characteristics. And that’s the reason that we know a Tenon saw as a backsaw. Before using a saw for the first time, you should always know every single detail about it. Before starting to use a saw, you should get an idea about everything. We can help you in this regard here. Let’s begin.

What is a Tenon Saw?

Basically, a tenon saw is one kind of backsaw primarily used for cutting furniture joinery pieces with accuracy. It has a classic Henry Disston model-based design. You can make deep straight cuts even faster with a tenon saw, and you don’t also need to bend it.

This saw can keep its blade stable when it’s cutting using its hard edges. Whether the wood is hard or soft, you can use a highly recommended tenon saw to make smooth cuts on both of them.

Tenon Saw Correctly Using

What are the Main Parts of a Tenon Saw?

A Tenon saw mainly has two essential parts; a blade and a handle. The length of its blade ranges from 250mm to 350mm. Most of the tenon saws have a non-removable blade. You can’t remove blades from the handle in such saws.

Typically, its blade contains 10 to 14 teeth per inch. They have comparatively more teeth density, and that’s the main reason behind their smoother finishing.

The handle of a Tenon saw has a unique name; a pistol grip handle. This grip is closed, making the user feel comfortable and protected while cutting.

Tenon Saw Uses: Where You can Use a Tenon Saw

You’ve already known what a tenon saw is and what its parts are. Now let’s go through some more details about its performance in different uses.

tenon saw used for what

For Cutting

While cutting wood, if you need to cut across its grain, it’s time to use a tenon saw. Tenon saw has a unique design for such cuts.

Its blade contains rip-filed teeth, making the saw cut parallel to the grain. Its blade is just amazingly ideal for precise straight cuts.

Tenon and Mortise Joints

For mortise and tenon joint cutting, a tenon saw is a specialist. It comes with an exclusive design for cutting mortise and tenon joints up to the mark.

Such joints are extraordinarily complicated and essential for making different furniture. And just a tenon saw makes them easy to cut.

Different Types of Furniture Joints

There are more furniture or housing joints, including sliding dovetails, tenon shoulders, miter box cuts, and so on. If you want, you can use a preferable table saw to make joining cuts, but the tenon saw works well, in my view.

The amusing part is that these complicated joints are very easy to cut with this saw. You can cut the desired piece into grooves or in different shapes like squares or circulars and more.

Different Cuts with Tenon Saw: How to Use One?

Let’s see how to go for the cross, and longitudinal cuts with a tenon saw. Pay more attention while cutting for the first time to avoid any accidents.

Longitudinal Cuts

Draw Lines

The best idea is to draw lines in the shape you want to cut to get a better and perfect cut. You can use a pencil or a square to draw it. The drawing line should be perpendicular to the wood end for better saw alignment. The wood should have upright support in a vice.

Set the Position

Set your saw at the end of the wood just over the drawn line to start cutting the wood. Score the wood with a single forward cut.


While cutting the first moves is the most crucial part. You have to keep balance and maintain the saw to cut straightly along the drawn line. Your saw won’t move straight if you even slightly angle it.

If somehow you managed to sink the saw into the wood about ½ inch, it’s going to be straight because of the kerf.

Cross Cuts

  • Use either a sharp pencil or a carpenter’s square to make lines on the cutting wood. 
  • While cutting, it’s better to hold the saw with both hands. That’s why you should use C-clamps to attach your chopping wood to the workbench.
  • To get the perfect grip on the saw, make sure your index finger is pointing forward during the cut. And use all other fingers to grab the saw tightly.
  • Set your saw just over the drawn line for the perfect alignment. Score it into the wood carefully.
  • Keep sawing through the score-line.
  • Make sure the blade is moving perpendicular and longitudinally to the wood surface.


Hopefully, now you know about a tenon saw, where and how to use it. Like other power tools, you should also take care of tenon saw safety issues. Don’t make a mistake just because of being busy. Such tools are dangerous. So, be careful.

1 thought on “What is a Tenon Saw Used For: Where and How to Use It?”

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