Tools to cut shapes in wood

Hobby Knives image by Guitar75 from

Sharp tools will make cutting shapes into wood effective and economical. Working in a well-lit area while using the tools is vital. Knives are the most common type of woodworking tools to cut shapes into wood; however, certain hand saws and power saws, chisels and gouges are also useful. Some craftsman prefer classic hand-held tools while others favour power tools. You can purchase both types of tools at any hardware store and online.

Coping Saw

A coping saw is a small hand-held saw. It has a very thin metal blade to make cuts in wood. The handle helps turn the blade during cutting. Most coping saws have different size teeth per inch, so use the finer blades for the more intricate jobs.

Rip Saw & Cross Cut Saw

These handsaws lay the groundwork for cutting shapes out of wood. Use the rip saw for cutting with the grain; the cross cut saw is the better saw for cutting across the grain.

Panel Saw

Another common hand-held saw is the panel saw. Like the cross cut saw, this saw is best for cutting against the grain. The panel saw is excellent for cutting wood like plywood.


The jigsaw is a small and versatile power saw. The blades of the jigsaw come in different grades. The jigsaw can cut straight lines or bevels; it works well for cutting out circles and plunge cutting. A trammel bar helps guide the jigsaw blade while cutting a circle; make your trammel bar from scrap wood. The jigsaw is also useful for cutting squares and symmetrical shapes into wood.

Band Saw

You can make bevelled cuts and shallow grooves easily with a band saw. Use the band saw for cutting out large circles. The band saw is able to cut out difficult shapes; however, the jigsaw is better for cutting the inside of shapes and smaller circles.


A router is a power tool. A router has a high speed motor and uses a variety of cutters. Cutting curved shapes and mouldings is effortless with a router.


Chisels should be sharp; blunt chisels are prone to cause accidents. The most common chisel is the square-edged firmer chisel; use a wooden mallet to guide the chisel while carving.


The gouge is similar to the chisel, but it has a rounded blade. The V-gouge will cut across the grain of wood without tearing it. Craftsmen utilise the C-gouge for general cutting; it comes in various shapes and sizes.


Carpentry knives must be sharp. Knives the size and length of a pocket knife are effective for carving out small areas in the wood or creating elaborate designs. Knives are also good for whittling and chip carving.

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