What Is A Pad Saw? What Is A Keyhole Saw?

what is a pad saw
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A Pad Saw typically is a traditional small saw made up of a wooden handle fitted with a long, very narrow blade. The length of the blade can be adjusted by sliding the blade through the handle to a set length. The Pad Saw has also been made with a metal handle and then the most common of modern times being the plastic handle pad saw.

A Keyhole Saw typically is a traditional small saw made up of a wooden handle fitted with a fixed, long, very narrow blade. A keyhole saw also used to go by the name 'Compass Saw'. The Keyhole Saw went on to be made with a metal handle and then a plastic handle.

Pad Saws and Keyhole Saws both perform the same function with both names often being interchanged.

Pad Saws and Keyhole Saws are used for cutting curved lines in a piece of timber, in particular for cutting a curved line in a more central position away from an edge. To do this, a hole is first drilled to allow the pad saw / keyhole saw blade clearance to go through the wood to begin its cut.

Pad saws and Keyhole Saws have been around certainly since Victorian times (19th Century).

Old Pad Saws were made from some of the finest timbers of the time including being made with Rosewood handles, Ebony handles and Boxwood handles. The majority of old pad saws which appear have Beech handles.

Old Keyhole Saws nearly always had an open handle design with the handle made from Beech. The handle was usually attached to the blade with two brass nuts, usually split-nuts.

I am unaware of a maker who makes traditional Keyhole Saws. There are a few modern Keyhole Saws with plastic handles, there is also a saw which is very similar to the Keyhole Saw called a 'Jab Saw'.

Pad Saw & Keyhole Saw Manufacturers:

There have been a number of pad saw and keyhole saw makers in the past, with a few present makers. Below are a list of a few well known pad saw and keyhole saw manufacturers:

New Keyhole Saw Manufacturers:

  • Irwin
  • Shogun
  • Stanley

Old Keyhole Saw Manufacturers:

New Pad Saw Makers:

  • Faithfull
  • Joseph Marples

Old Pad Saw Makers:

  • Colonel
  • Disston
  • Eclipse
  • Footprint
  • Marples
  • Signal
  • Stanley
  • Tyzack


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(ii) The details here are given in good faith, the details are constantly growing and evolving, there is scope for error and shouldn't be fully relied upon, please confirm any details for yourself by performing additional research from reliable sources.

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