Design & DIY

Why you need a high-tension hacksaw in your tool box

hand holding a high-tension hacksaw cutting copper pipe on white Photo by Daniel Ehrenworth

If you’ve ever been frustrated by a hacksaw with a blade that wobbles, bends, or falls out of the frame while you’re cutting metal or hard plastic, you need to try a high-tension hacksaw. Made to reliably cut through many materials, these saws get their name from the much stronger pull applied to the disposable blade. Where standard hacksaws typically use nothing more than a wing nut (which often loosens as you saw) to tension the blade, high-tension saws usually have a powerful lever mechanism instead. This pulls harder on the blade, making it firmer, less likely to wobble, and more inclined to follow a straight cut line. 

As you shop for a high-tension hacksaw, make sure that you buy several high-quality blades. They will wear out quickly and can break. You will need a mix of fine- and coarse-toothed blades, depending on what you’re cutting. Remember to orient the blade’s teeth so they are angled forwards, toward the front of the saw. Hacksaws, high-tension or not, should always cut on the push stroke.

Blade and abet
Hacksaw blades typically range from 18–32 teeth per inch. The thicker the metal you’re cutting, the fewer teeth your blade should have.

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