How to use a bow saw

Updated April 17, 2017

A bow saw is a type of saw that looks much like a hunting bow. The handle of the saw has a sort of C-shape. The blade of the bow saw is long and thin with teeth along one side. The blade is held taut in the opening of the handle. The bow saw is most often used to cut through circular pieces of wood, such as logs, that are too thick to be cut through with a hand axe.

Remove the mask that is over the blade of the bow saw. This is a long thin piece of plastic that slides over the blade of the saw to keep it and you protected when the saw is not in use.

Hold your piece of wood firmly, making sure that you keep your hand away from the part of the wood that you are going to cut.

Move the saw back and forth, while applying slight downward pressure, only a few inches in each direction. Do this until the saw has begun to dig into the piece of wood.

Move the saw back and forth, this time in longer strokes that use the full length of the blade, until you have sawn through the piece of wood.

Replace the mask over the blade of your saw once you are done cutting your wood.


A bow saw can also be used to cut pieces of wood, such as branches and small trees, that won't necessary lay flat on a surface. When cutting trees it may be useful to make a small cut in one side of the tree and then move around to the opposite side of the tree to proceed to cut through the tree. This small cut is called an undercut.

Things You'll Need

  • Bow saw
  • Wood
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About the Author

Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Ainsley Patterson has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her articles appear on various websites. She especially enjoys utilizing her more than 10 years of craft and sewing experience to write tutorials. Patterson is working on her bachelor's degree in liberal arts at the University of Michigan.