Tenon Saw Dangers

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A tenon saw is a common type of hand-operated back saw used in a wide variety of applications. In woodworking, tenon saws are used in to make mitre cuts, tenon joints and mitre joints. Approach a tenon saw assuming the same dangers as a power saw and follow proper safety precautions when using a tenon saw to ensure that you won't cause harm to yourself or your project.


A common accident caused by tenon saws is a flesh wound. Some cuts are mild as a cat scratch while others nearly sever fingers. Prevent lacerations by making sure the item being cut is well secured and that the hand you are using to grip the item is at a safe distance from the saw blade. Wear a cut-resistant safety glove if necessary. Do not cut with a dull or damaged blade as this can cause the saw to jump. Also do not use a saw with a loose handle.

Blade Damage

Improper technique can cause your saw blade to jam and become bent. Start your cut with a long, slow stroke and use the entire length of the blade on subsequent strokes. Also prevent the blade from becoming stuck by not using a blade with dull or missing teeth. Inspect the wood being cut for nails, staples or screws as these can also jam a blade and ruin the blade teeth. Blade damage is further avoidable by using the correct type of tenon saw for the cut. Use only a rip-cut tenon saw for cutting in the same direction as the wood grain and a cross-cut tenon saw for cutting across the grain.

Eye Injuries

You may think because you are not using a power saw that you don't have to worry about flying particles; however, bits of whatever you are cutting, whether it be wood, plastic or metal, can easily be flung into your eyes when hand sawing. The severity of an eye injury depends on the speed that the particle hits your eye and what the particle is, but permanent damage is possible. Protect your eyes when using a tenon saw by wearing safety glasses or goggles.

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