The beauty that a carpenter or woodworker brings to the products and items depends on his craftsmanship and skills, but a major role is also played by wood-cutting tools. Without proper tools, it is almost impossible to achieve perfection in wood shaping, cutting, engraving, and carving.
If you are a DIY lover or a new business owner, you need to know everything about the wood-cutting tools you need for crafts. In this article, we will explore all such hand tools as well as power tools to give you a broad and complete picture. We will compare all these tools and give complete criteria to help you select the best wood cutting tools according to your needs.
In This Article
- Hand Tools for Wood Cutting
- Power Wood Cutting Tools
- Precise Wood Cutting Tools: Wood Laser Cutters
- Criteria for Selecting the Best Wood Cutting Tools
- Maintenance and Safety Tips for Wood Cutting Tools
- Best Types of Wood Cutting Tools Conclusion
Hand Tools for Wood Cutting
Wood cutting tools are mainly and broadly divided into two categories: Hand Tools and Power Tools.
1. Hand Saws
Whenever we talk about cutting wood, the first thing that comes to mind is the saw. It is a traditional and age- old tool that is used for cutting wood. There is a wide range of hand saws available, and all of them serve different purposes. Some of the popular hand saws are: Crosscut Saw, Hacksaw, Fret Saw, Japanese Saw, Coping Saw, and Bow Saw.
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The design of these saws is according to the task they are meant to perform. Some are suitable for an intricate and small cut, while some are excellent for thick wood cutting. In some saws, you can also change the blades.
Chisels are designed for wood carving and cutting. These have a very fine and sharp metal edge that can do intricate carving and produce appealing designs. Woodworkers use them to shape wood according to their requirements.
These are like screwdrivers. There is a sharp metal piece attached to plastic or wood. The worker hammers the chisel with a wooden hammer called Mallet.
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Axes could be called the first tool for wood cutting, splitting, chopping, and piercing. It has been used by humans since about 1.5 million years ago. You can use an axe to cut wood plans and logs. It requires exceptional skills, technique, and force to cut wood with perfection.
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There are more than a dozen axe heads for different purposes. Their heads have different shapes and designs according to their usage. You can find a Felling Axe, Forest Axe, Hatchet, Carpenter’s Axe, Broad Axe, and Michigan Axe.
Hand planes are very useful for a woodworker because these are used to make the surface of any object plane. It contains a very sharp blade that slices off the surface of the wood and makes it smooth and even. These are available in different shapes, sizes, and designs. When you use it, it feels like removing the skin or a very thin surface of a material. It requires a lot of strength and power.
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An adze is another old tool that has been in use by humans since the stone age. It is quite similar to an ax, but it is not an ax. The cutting edge is perpendicular to the handle, which is quite useful in cutting and carving wood. The blade is often curved to offer better performance.
It is used for shaping the wood in the required design. It helps in creating smooth wooden surfaces.
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A spokeshave is another tool for shaping and smoothing the surface of the wood. It does a similar job to planes, but its width is minimal. It is used for shaping the edges and making them smooth and even.
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Power Wood Cutting Tools
1. Power Saws
Saws are also available in the electrical version. These make cutting a lot easier and quicker. Now, we have a wide variety of power saws, including Jig Saw, Band Saw, Table Saw, Circular Saw, and Scroll Saw. These are quite powerful and can do the job in no time. They are powered by home electricity or a rechargeable battery.
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A router is a power tool that is quite useful in cutting, smoothing edges, and creating appealing designs on wood. It can round off the edges of the wood and make joints. It is mostly used in creating wall art, duplicating any art piece, cutting a piece from wood, and creating slots.
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Using a router requires skills and perfection. It is not something that anyone can do because handling it is quite difficult. Woodworkers use them for making cabinets, wall art pieces, tables, etc.
A chainsaw does not need an introduction. You might have seen people using it. It is used for cutting trees and logs using a very sharp chain. These are extremely powerful and require complete attention and skills to operate. They are powered by a battery or fuel.
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4. Power Planes
Using hand planes is not easy; they require too much force to take off the skin of the wood. Therefore, power planes make everything easier. These do the same job but in no time. These are extremely useful for making the surface of the wood smooth and even.
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Precise Wood Cutting Tools: Wood Laser Cutters
A wood laser cutter is an advanced wood cutting machine that uses laser beams to cut wood in the desired shape. It offers exceptional precision and speed and does the job with utmost perfection. It is usually used to cut flat wooden pieces, such as plywood sheets and thin wood pieces.
People who make intricate designs, cut special patterns on wood, and make different products using plywood, choose a laser cutter to make their task easier and attain the best results in minimal time.
Laser cutters contain multiple powerful laser sources that emit laser beams. These beams are then directed in a specific direction using mirrors. All beams are converged at a point using a convex lens.
The laser beams are powerful enough, and they can increase the temperature of laser cutting materials in no time. When they come in contact with wood, they increase its temperature and burn it from the surface. The laser penetrates the wood and cuts it into pieces. During wood cutting, the powerful flow of air from an air assit is used to remove dust, debris, and smoke from the working area.
Laser is the best option for cutting plywood and flat wood pieces or any other shape of wood that has a suitable thickness. Normally, a laser can cut 10-12mm wood without any hassle. If it is powerful enough, it will take only one pass to cut wood, but it can take more passes, depending on the thickness as well as the hardness of the wood. Some powerful desktop lasers, such as the xTool 40W module, can even cut 20mm of wood in one pass, while industrial lasers can show better performance and cut thicker materials.
Laser cutting is undoubtedly amazing and powerful, and it can cut wood with perfection. It offers several benefits that other power and hand-cutting tools cannot.
The precision of laser cutting is incredible. It is because the laser beams are concentrated at a tiny spot measuring around 0.08 x 0.06mm to 0.15 x 0.15mm. This tiny spot ensures minimal Kerf width and wastage and offers high precision by converting the finest and tiniest details.
The laser cutting machines are stable enough due to the metal structure. Plus, they use powerful servo motors that drive the laser module with high accuracy and precision. The accuracy of movement can reach up to 0.0004 inches, which is impossible to achieve using power tools and hand tools.
Even the repositioning accuracy of the lasers can reach 0.0007 inches or even lesser, exactly replicating the positioning of the previous passes. This is the reason you can do multiple passes in laser machines.
For vector cutting and engraving, the best option is laser cutting machines. These can offer the best precision and accuracy and do the job without any hassle. The laser cutter software guides the laser cutter to do the job without errors. It does not matter how intricate the design or pattern is; the laser cutting machines can do the job. Thus, the waste of wood is reduced.
The speed of laser cutting machines is praiseworthy. They work at an exceptional speed, and some desktop machines can even work at 400mm/sec or even more. When laser beams penetrate the wood, and thin sheets are cut in no time.
Laser cutting machines are versatile. They can do cutting, engraving, and scoring on wood and other materials, such as acrylic, leather, ceramics, metal, rubber, glass, etc.
The engraving offered by laser machines is quite detailed, precise, and accurate. You can engrave your photos, intricate designs, characters, names, or anything you like. You can make a complete product through laser cutting and engraving.
A laser machine is a versatile cutting and engraving tool that can help you make a variety of items and products that sell on the market. For instance, you can make wall art pieces, toys, personalized items, wall clocks, dollhouses, puzzles, and tons of products. The best part is that you can cut and engrave materials other than wood, so the variety of products is enhanced.
Laser machines are automated. Just make the design and upload it to the software. Then, the software will do everything on its own. Once the machine is started, you only need to wait for the completion of the task.Shop Laser Cutting Machines
How to Cut Wood with a Laser Cutting Machine?
Preparing Your Design
First, you need to have a digital design ready. Your design can range from simple shapes to complex patterns or even text. You can prepare your design using vector graphics software like Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, or free alternatives like Inkscape.
Choosing the Right Wood
Laser cutting machine can cut solid wood, plywood and MDF. There are many wood types for you to choose from, such as birch, bamboo, basswood, oak, walnut, mahogany, maple, cherrywood,etc.
Setting Up the Laser Cutter
Once your design is ready and you've chosen your wood, it's time to prepare your laser cutting machine. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to set up the machine correctly. This process usually involves adjusting the focus of the laser, setting the speed and power settings based on the type and thickness of the wood, and import your design into the machine's software.
Once everything is set up, it's time to start cutting. Place your wood in the machine, ensuring it lies flat. Start the laser cutting process and monitor it closely. Remember, safety first. Always use protective eyewear and never leave the machine unattended while it's operating. After the laser cutter has finished its job, let the wood cool down before handling.
Criteria for Selecting the Best Wood Cutting Tools
Before choosing any wood cutting tool or wood cutting machine for your work, read the following criteria. It will make your selection a lot easier.
Purpose of the Project
If you want to cut plain wood, such as plywood and other sheets, the best option is to get a laser machine.
If you want to make tables or furniture, you must get a suitable power saw or hand saw, depending on the requirements. You will also need chisels and planes for a smooth appearance.
Before choosing the tool, you need to understand the project. A laser machine is a good option for DIY purposes, creating a small laser cutting and engraving business, making various laser-cut items that are difficult to make by using other wood cutting tools.
Type of Wood
Now, the type of wood you want to cut also matters a lot. For cutting trees and wood logs, you must get a power saw. For making fine edges, a router is a good option.
These machines can cut thick and raw wood pieces or even the whole tree, but a laser machine is only suitable for cutting plywood sheets and plain wood planks. Plus, you cannot cut thick materials. Most laser machines can only cut wood up to 10mm in one pass, but you can cut wood up to 20mm by using xTool’s 40W laser module for D1 Pro. It is the world’s first 40W laser diode module and is exceptionally powerful.
For cutting thicker materials, you need a power saw, and there is no other option. Plus, if you want to cut uneven and non-symmetrical wood, laser machines are not suitable.
Precision and Accuracy Needed
You also need to understand the requirement for precision and accuracy. If you need high precision and accuracy in making the final product, you must choose laser cutting machines. These are automated, and the precision is exceptional. You will get the best results without any hassle.
But if there is no need to worry about precision, you can use hand tools or power tools. However, you will need exceptional skills and control to operate them.
All these wood cutting tools require a different budget. Power tools are in the mid-range of $50-$400. But they are good for doing any task at a fast pace. Then, we have manual tools. They are only suitable for small tasks.
Laser machines serve a different purpose than power tools and hand tools can’t. If you want to cut plywood and make certain products/items, the only option is a laser machine. You can get a diode laser machine because it is an affordable option. The upfront cost is a bit high, but the running cost of these machines is minimal.
Maintenance and Safety Tips for Wood Cutting Tools
Importance of Sharpening and Maintaining Tools
All wood cutting machines have a sharp blade or edge. These require proper sharpening and maintenance. If you are using hand saws, you can change the blades in some variants. But in some cases, you need to get a new saw. An ax can be sharpened, and the same is the case with an adze.
Power tools require oiling, recharging, and cleaning to keep their performance up to the mark. You might also need to change the blade once it wears off.
Laser cutting machines require cleaning only. But it is not very frequent, so there is almost no maintenance. Plus, the life of a diode laser is about 25,000 to 50,000 hours, which is more than enough.
Safety Precautions When Using Wood Cutting Tools
While using the power and hand tools, you need to be very careful because you can injure yourself. Make sure you can handle the machine properly and do not divert your mind. Secondly, use proper PPE, such as glasses and masks, while cutting wood.
For operating a laser machine, you need to wear protective glasses. You also need to ensure proper ventilation to reduce the smell of wood and debris in the working area. Moreover, there should be a CO2 fire extinguisher to deal with fire.
Best Types of Wood Cutting Tools Conclusion
You might have a clear idea of wood cutting tools. Whether it is a hand tool, power tool, or laser machine, all of them serve different purposes. You need to choose the right tool according to your needs. If you want to start an engraving or cutting business and make craft items that can sell, there is nothing better than a laser cutting machine. It can cut and engrave wood and other materials. Plus, it is a much safer option for beginners. On the other hand, wood cutting hand tools and power tools are for professionals.