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View Full Version : OK, next newb question - your hacksaw



tony ennis
01-07-2009, 05:00 PM
My gut tells me I should buy the cheapest hacksaw possible (preferably made of lead, and bent) since no one ever really uses them.

What type of hacksaw do you prefer if you can't get a bent one made of lead?

Davek0974
01-07-2009, 05:04 PM
If i cant fit it on the bandsaw then i reach for my trusty Bahco hacksaw with a good blade in it.

Its got a good stiff frame and a comfy handle. After i realised what difference a good saw made, i chucked all the cheap crap in the bin.

Mcgyver
01-07-2009, 05:09 PM
I use my hacksaws all the time. plural as i have 4 on the go, different pitches and one just for brass. Cheapest anything never seems like good value to me, but i don't think i ever bought one either. They just seem to accumulate.

SGW
01-07-2009, 05:31 PM
I've got a pretty decent hacksaw frame; it does seem to work a bit better than the cheap ones.

But mostly I use my 4x6 H/V bandsaw....

miker
01-07-2009, 07:17 PM
Tony, have a look at this thread. Hacksaws examined in detail.

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=27385&highlight=hacksaw

Rgds

kf2qd
01-07-2009, 07:46 PM
I would recommend the Lenox Hackmaster - if they are still available...

Get a good hacksaw frame - blades will last longer, will cut straighter and generally be a lot less of a pain to use. A good hacksaw frame like the Hackmaster has no flex, keeps the blade tight and rarely - if ever - sheds the blade. A fine tool, and that helps with doing fine work.

davidh
01-07-2009, 07:57 PM
oh crap, i just opened up the old link. . . . . sorry.

dp
01-07-2009, 08:22 PM
I have a Snap-On frame I bought new in 1964 and it still works great.

tony ennis
01-07-2009, 09:03 PM
I bought a Lenox of the style discussed here, some 18 and 24 tooth Starrett bi-metal blades, and an automatic center punch.

On the company's dime, Merry Christmas! :D

Teenage_Machinist
01-07-2009, 09:56 PM
If possible get one that can rotate the blade so you can cut wierd stuff or make deep cuts. I cannot afford and cannot find space for a bandsaw in my parent's shop, so I sometimes use the parting blade in the lathe to cut stuff most of the way and finish with the saw, or just saw it. Make sure it is easy to adjust- Mine isnt.

J Tiers
01-07-2009, 10:04 PM
Under the "afford it" part, I buy most tools, including the three decent hacksaws I have, at estate and garage sales.

It's cheaper, and you get very good tools if you are selective. I have no problem with paying $2 for a hacksaw that is a lever type tension hacksaw, like a Dreier or similar. The blade doesn't rotate, but I still have a POS somewhere that does, when and if I ever need that. Haven't needed it in years.

By contrast, I have a Starrett hacksaw, came in a box of something or another. It's a piece of junk, absolutely no better that what you buy at Target or Big Lots. It just has a red handle and not a black one.....

I have lots of stuff like that which I would sell on ebay, if ebay hadn't turned into such a prune.

Fasttrack
01-07-2009, 10:08 PM
My hacksaws (I own four) were my most used hand tools until I bought a bandsaw. Definitely worth owning a good one. All of mine are on the crappy side and I've been idly looking for a good, quality replacement. 'Course now that I have a 4X6 bandsaw, I don't use them as much.

rohart
01-07-2009, 10:42 PM
I used to dread hacksawing till I got a Facom saw. Since then I've never skinned my knuckles, and the whole process is smoother and quicker. It has rotating blade capability, and is rigid enough for you to feel in touch with what the blade is doing.

Oh, and a drop or two of cutting fluid in the slot if it's less than an inch deep, or else on both sides of the blade, say every 30 -50 strokes. Makes if smell more interesting, too.

I picked up a junior size rotating blade saw at the local DIY the other day. A job for the round file (round file = waste paper basket ?). I may remake the blade attachments to see if the frame is any good.

lunkenheimer
01-07-2009, 11:16 PM
So far it seems that the recommendations are: Bandsaw, Sawzall, good hacksaw frame. They all have their place (and I have at least one of each) but don't forget the other option: a heavy duty jigsaw with metal cutting blade. One advantage of these is price, used. A good used Dewalt or Bosch can be as cheap as $40 and will cut up to 1" rod/bar and 1/4" plate (my experience, with mild steel). Also, the cut doesn't have to be in a straight line, which is good if that is what you intend.

I have seen heavy truck frame rails routinely notched with just a bosch jigsaw and the right blade/cutting oil combo.

The key to this is that you can get deals on used jigsaws since they can be a yardsale item. Blades are not too bad either.

If you want to hack shapes out of plate, this could be the ideal choice.

Regarding hand hacksaws, high blade tension is always a good thing. My favorite hand hacksaw is a lever tension craftsman of unknown but maybe 1970s vintage. The kind that depend on a wing nut to tighten the blade are more or less crap in my experience.

J Tiers
01-07-2009, 11:53 PM
If you mention jigsaws, it is as well to mention that most of the larger die filers would also hold a section of hacksaw, or other saw blade.

The patent for the old Milwaukee is really as a saw...... it's a design patent, and shows the saw in the drawings. The Milwaukee I sold had the overarm for that, as well as a roller stop.

My Oliver has the overarm for the saw, or a file, just as you please.

BadDog
01-08-2009, 12:01 AM
I've got a Keller 1A Die Filer with the OEM second spring loaded over-arm. It is currently setup with metal cutting coping saw blades. The problem is holding the stock down. Pretty effective for aluminum, but the blade pitch is a bit much for steel and tends to want to grab. Gotta be careful with it because the up pull of the spring is not that (comparatively) strong, and if it grabs, things can get interesting. Over all it's a better die filer than a saw (so far), but it does allow work akin to what woodworkers do on a scroll saw.

keelan
01-08-2009, 12:34 AM
If i cant fit it on the bandsaw then i reach for my trusty Bahco hacksaw with a good blade in it.

I'll second the Bahco hacksaw. I messed around with cheap throw-away hack saws for a while. On an impulse I bought a Bahco, and it is well worth the extra money. Sturdy, comfortable to hold, easy to adjust.

Even more important than a good saw is good blades.

J Tiers
01-08-2009, 09:51 AM
I've got a Keller 1A Die Filer with the OEM second spring loaded over-arm. It is currently setup with metal cutting coping saw blades. The problem is holding the stock down. Pretty effective for aluminum, but the blade pitch is a bit much for steel and tends to want to grab.

Don't you have a "foot" for it?

Here is a pic of the saw overarm from the old Milwaukee. The newer Oliver is similar.

You can see the adjustable foot in the pic. Maybe you can add one.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0803/jstanley/MDF3sa.jpg

Frank Ford
01-08-2009, 11:17 AM
My gut tells me I should buy the cheapest hacksaw possible (preferably made of lead, and bent) since no one ever really uses them.

My gut tells me different things, I guess. Personally, I can't imagine a life where a hacksaw isn't an important tool. I've always used one in my shop, or wherever I've lived, including my dorm room at college some 46 years ago.

My hacksaw is hanging at the ready, just below the big bench vise, and it may be the only tool I have that gets put away every time I use it:


http://www.frets.com/HomeShopTech/ShopTips/112.jpg

The saw is one I've had for pretty much ever, and a good heavy old frame it is. Since I took the photo and after reading about the Lenox in this fine forum, I figured I'd have to try a tool called "Hackmaster" - that's what I (and maybe others, too) have called myself at times.

Now the Hackmaster hangs right on the same hook as the old guy, and I have two great hacksaws. I really like its blade tightening mechanism and overall balance.

tony ennis
01-08-2009, 11:18 AM
Doh I bought a 12" frame, a 10-pack of 12" bi-metals, and a 10-pack of 10" bi-metals. :mad:

Annoying. Probably better off getting a 10" frame than paying shipping to send those wrong blades back.

BadDog
01-08-2009, 12:42 PM
Yep, it's got a foot on it. It works well enough if the material is under it. But they way it is positioned (and sized) on the Keller, when first starting, you've got to go about 3/4" before the material reaches the foot. And if you start turning the cut, you can often clear the foot that way too. It may be that the foot on mine is incorrect for the spring over-arm, it looks just like the foot on the non-spring load over arm.

My plan is to make a longer forked foot that extends along both sides of the blade so that it is over the material before you start cutting and in any subsequent orientation. I think that will fix most of my problems with simple cuts, though with no mechanical return, getting the blade jammed will always be a potential problem.

BadDog
01-09-2009, 01:56 AM
For what it's worth, here is my die filer complete with blade and both "feet" mounted.

Click for larger:

http://img4.pictiger.com/14e/17645529_th.jpg (http://baddog.pictiger.com/images/17645529/)

Ed P
01-09-2009, 09:35 AM
I always had a cheap hacksaw and never could understand why
my cuts were never straight. Finally decided it was not me and
bought a top of the line Starrett, not one of their lesser ones, but
their best, and all of a sudden every cut came out straight.
Besides cutting straight it has 3 features I like. It has blade storage
in the tube that forms the frame, it allows mounting the blade at a
45 degree angle to get into those odd places, and it allows mounting
2 blades at the same time which allows me to cut notches.

Ed P