What Is A Rip Saw? What Is A Rip Saw Used For?

what is a rip saw
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rip saw teeth

In the traditional sense, a Rip Saw is a hand saw which is used for cutting with the grain down a length of timber, used for instance ripping a board.

This is achieved by the Rip Saw blade having a special array of teeth which compliment the cutting along the grain.

The teeth setup on a Rip Saw are effectively a series of chisels. The teeth work by rapidly chipping out a series of grooves.

Due to the design of the teeth on a Rip Saw, a Rip Saw will not work well in attempts to cut across the grain.

The teeth angle on a Rip Saw are set at an angle between 60 - 90 degrees. Teeth with 90 degrees are said to have 'Hook'.

old rip saw

With larger teeth it is better to avoid teeth with 90 degrees as the 'Hook' can cause the teeth to bite rather than chisel the wood which when great force is being used can potentially cause damage to the saw or even the user.

Rip teeth can be found setup / can be setup on Hand Saws, Tenon Saws and Dovetail Saws. It should be noted the term 'Rip Saw' usually refers to a Hand Saw with Rip teeth setup.

There are also Japanese Rip Saws which work on the pull stroke.

Traditionally Rip Hand Saws were made with a blade length of 26" or 28" only and with somewhere between 3 - 7 teeth per inch (TPI).

With modern hand saws such as those made by Thomas Flinn (Sheffield), it is possible to buy a Rip Saw with any blade length 20" - 28".

rip saw teeth

With old Hand Rip Saws there can be more teeth per inch at the tip of the blade, the purpose being to facilitate making cutting the initial groove easier.

A traditional Western Rip Saw is used by initially using quick, short cuts to create the beginning groove and then gradually taking longer and longer strokes, cutting on the push stroke. A rip saw creates a rough cut.

Rip Saw Manufacturers:

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

New Rip Saw Makers:


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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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