Power Saws

A power saw takes the hard work out of cutting wood to a desired size and shape. The Jigsaw is the ideal choice for general-purpose cutting, including curves and enclosed cut-outs, while a Circular saw is worth investing in if you do a lot of work with man-made boards or need to cut timber to specific cross-sectional sizes.

Basic Jigsaws

The jigsaw has a slim reciprocating blade that cuts on the upstroke as you feed it into the edge of the wood or board you're cutting. If you do little more than the occasional sawing jobs, a single-speed jigsaw with an input power of 350-400 Watts is ideal. Depending on the size of blade fitted, it will cut wood up to 50-55mm thick, and a model with an adjustable soleplate will allow you to make bevelled cuts at angles of up to 45° as well as straight ones. Pick one with a dust extraction facility if you want to keep dust levels down in your shed or workshop area.

Advanced Jigsaws

More money buys you a range of additional features, including more power and a faster, deeper cutting performance. You will get additional features such as variable speed control, pendulum action and an anti-splinter device for smoother chip-free cutting - this is essential if you're cutting faced boards and laminated worktops. Dust extraction is a standard feature, and the saw may come with a storage case and a selection of spare blades.

Scrolling Jigsaws

An ordinary Jigsaw will cut fairly tight curves, but if you plan to do a lot of work that involves cutting intricate shapes, it is well worth buying a Scrolling jigsaw. Instead of manoeuvring the whole saw to follow a curved cut, this tool has a handle on top of the machine that allows you to turn the blade while keeping the saw body steady, giving more precise control of the cutting action. The saw takes special slim-line cutting blades.

Circular Saws

This is the essential item for making professional-quality straight cuts in man-made boards and along the grain in timber. It can be used freehand, with a parallel guide fence to enable accurate cuts to be made at a fixed distance from the edge of the workpiece. Alternatively it can be mounted in a saw table with the blade projecting upwards through a guarded slot.

The cheapest models take blades around 150mm in diameter and have a maximum cutting depth of about 45mm, whilst the more powerful saws take larger 180mm blades and will cut deeper and faster. Other features include depth of cut adjustment, a mitre cutting facility and a vacuum cleaner attachment or dustbag to keep sawdust under control.

Sabre Saws

These are multi-purpose saws with a blade projecting forwards from the saw body instead of downwards, as in a Jigsaw. The saw can be fitted with a variety of different blades for coarse or fine cutting in wood and man-made boards, or for tackling metal, plastic, plasterboard and other materials.


This is a specialist woodworking saw and consists of a horizontal saw table and a vertically mounted saw blade that runs in a continuous loop inside the saw casing. It can make straight or curved cuts in wood much thicker than some other DIY power saws can handle. If you're planning to do a lot of woodwork involving non-standard cross-sections, bevels and curves then this is the saw for you.

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