How to Cut a Piece of Wood without a Saw – Full Guide

As a practicing carpenter, I can affirm that wood cutting a skill and an art.  Many people who are into the carpentry profession adore and hold this skill dear to their hearts. My mentor will time to time remind me that an art is perfected through constant practice. This way, you are able to execute your tasks with proficiency and high precision.

That notwithstanding, the art becomes unique, and no person can replicate that art even if they copy your method. For any carpenter, it is not just mere cutting of wood. This should be done with care as the wood is a very vital component in the work of the carpenter. Any wrong cutting will automatically lead to wastage of the material and this will be reflected in low output per unit by the carpenter.

Wood cutting is mainly done with a saw which has universally been branded as the carpenters cutting tool. However, one can still undertake this activity without the use of a saw and achieve the desired results. Saws exist in different forms but the main ones are the power saw and the hand saw. If you lack any of these and wish to get your wood cut into pieces, try out these other techniques.

Using a Sharp Knife

At times, you will visit the wood yard and get long pieces of wood that may exceed the needed lengths. The trouble comes when you have no saw but worry not. All you need to get things done is a well-sharpened knife. This is however limited to thin pieces of wood. Using your file, sharpen the knife properly.

woodcutting with a  sharp knife

One way to cut the wood is through the slanting technique whereby you hold the wood firmly and by use of the sharp knife, you cut the wood at a slanted angle. You then trim the edges appropriately. Another way is to use the sharp knife to cut small bits of the wood from the point of cutting all-round then using your hand to snap the wood. You then use the sharp knife to trim the cuts and there you have it ready for use.

Using a Drilling Machine and a Sharp Machete

There are certain types of wood that most carpenters use in the production of household furniture. Most of these woods are in three dimensions with the breadth being thin while the other measurements are relatively longer. In such cases, the carpenter can easily and quickly get the desired pieces of cuts even without relying on a saw. How? All you need is a drilling machine and a sharp machete to get you going.

cut wood with machetes

Using the drilling machine, make several perforations on a straight line on the wood. Repeat this until the perforations lead to weakening and finally break off the wood along the line of perforations. Use the sharp machete to trim the wood edges and again, there you have your pieces of wood cut ready for use.

Using a Sharp Machete

This technique mainly applies when the carpenter is in need of acquiring raw thin wood from the forests. Well, a saw is not a must for one to get a good cut of raw wood. A well-sharpened machete will do equally a good job. Begin by identifying the point at which you need to get the cut from. Mark the point by use of a clear line around the wood. You then use you sharp machete to cut small bits of the wood along the mark all-round the wood at a slanted position.

This should be repeated on both sides of the marked line. Repeat the entire procedure till the wood eventually breaks by itself. Use your sharp machete to trim the edges of the wood so as to have smooth edges. You may repeat this procedure to get as many cuts of wood as possible or as desired. So do not limit yourself to the use of the saw to get woodcuts.

Using a Sharp Axe

In an event that you require to get raw wood from the forest of much higher thickness and you have no saw at your dispensation, worry not! A perfectly sharpened axe will give you equally good cuts of wood though the process may be tiresome and time-consuming. You first commence by marking a clear line around the wood along the point where you intend to get your cut from. Once this is said and done, use you sharp axe to cut small bits of the wood few inches from the marked line.

cut wood with sharp axe

Do this continuous till you go round the wood. Now shift your focus to the other side of the marked line and do the same. Go on doing this over and over again till the wood is weak enough to break by itself. Once the wood is down, use your axe to trim the edges or you may use a machete for better precision. In case you need for woodcuts from the same wood, repeat the procedure above and you will have finely cut pieces of wood without the use of a saw.

Using a chisel


Cutting wood with Chisel

If you do not have a saw in your garage, you can cut a piece of wood using a chisel. How do you cut a price of wood using a chisel? The first thing you need to do is to get a chisel with sharp edges. Put the piece of wood on a firm surface and then hold the chisel with your hands. Put the bevel side up and the flat side against the surface of the wood at an angle of 16-20 degree. Using the dominant hand, hold your hammer and the chisel using the other hand and then put it on the piece of wood. Use the hammer to hit the chisel and then lever it up to get the chipped wood.

Using a router


Cutting wood with Router

If you find that you do not have a hand saw or a power saw, you can cut wood using a router. This is a versatile tool that can be used to perform different tasks.  Insert the router bits and adjust the gauge depending on the depth that you want to cut. Pull the trigger and then push it downward to engage the router with the wood. Then move the tool in the cutting path. When the cutting is done, release downwards pressure on the handle of the router. Use the other bits for cutting edges and remember to set the gauge. Just like you had done before, push downward and then pull the trigger. Then move the router from right to left and release the pressure on the handles.

Using a Plane

Woodcutting with Plane

Cutting wood without a saw seems like an impossible task for many people. A plane is another decent tool that you can use to cut wood. Ensure that the blade of the plane is sharp for effective lateral and depth alignment. Depending on the depth of wood you want to cut, make an adjustment to the depth wheel. The next thing that you should do is to plane your piece of wood through the whole length following the grain direction. If you do not follow the grain, you can end up destroying the surface of the wood. Plane the piece of wood from side to side and vice versa.

Using a Lathe


woodcutting with a Lathe

Find a quality lathe and then mark the center of the piece of wood then place it between the lathe centers. Turn the lathe at the slowest speed to cut chops from the piece of wood. Move the edge and make it parallel to the wood piece rotation. Next, push the lathe into the stock to get an equivalent amount of wood. You can then cut wood and with the angular corners, you can still make cylindrical shapes. Once the cutting is done, you can increase the speed of the machine to keep the surface smooth and then move it slowly along the length of the wood.

Final Words

We should always be innovative and creative in our day to day activities so as to counter any challenges that may come. The fact that you cannot secure a saw does not entirely mean you cannot get woodcuts from a large piece of wood. All you need to do is open your eyes wider to see other equipment within your reach and figure out how well you can utilize them to get the task at hand done.

 The methods described above are just but a sample of several ways we can get woodcuts without the help of any saw. Though some may be limited to specific types of wood, the cutting is finely done and no one may notice that you never used a saw until you notify them. As a matter of fact, the various tools and equipment in our store can serve several purposes besides the branded ones. 

Alvin V.Stone
 

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