How to Rip Metal with a Hacksaw

Even though we woodwork at some point we will need to do some kind of metal work as in my case I’m making the irons for my moulding planes.

I thought this would be a great opportunity to give pointers.

Begin as you would when sawing wood. Place your thumb on the line and rest the saw plate against the thumb. Saw about an eighth of an inch into the metal. Then with your other hand mine being the left because I’m right-handed grasp the front handle with your thumb on top. The hacksaw I’m using has a horn, some hacksaws don’t. The index finger need not be extended, I do it because of habit.


When sawing take easy long strokes using the full length of the blade whilst always watching the line. Don’t force the saw by pressing down hard, you will guarantee  yourself to go off the line. Just press gently down on the push stroke.

stright down

My hacksaw’s throat clearance is only 4″ and I need to rip about 6″. Because I can’t continue sawing without hitting the top frame and to angle the saw to the left for clearance. This will cause your saw to veer offline to the right which is ok because we’re not sawing into the line, but away from it.



We can clean this up with a file to level it to the line. I would like to find a hacksaw with a larger throat, at least 8 – 10 inch depth. As long as you stay away from the line it doesn’t matter if your cuts a wavy.  All it means is that you will spend more time filing than you would otherwise.

You can save yourself the time and effort by purchasing laser cut blanks from Lie Nielsen.  They have a large range to cover the whole set of moulding planes.

From this


To this


Can you tell the difference between LN’s laser cut and mine?


Not that it matters, the top corner where it looks like an “L” is square at 90° right angle, whilst a laser-cut corner is slightly rounded. If you’ve seen which I’m sure you have seen CNC machined carvings. To my eyes they do not even compare to carvings produced by a talented carver like Mary May.  A machine isn’t better it just gets the job done faster and in some cases it can’t even do that.



4 thoughts on “How to Rip Metal with a Hacksaw

  1. Your hand is covering the front in that pic, but I’m pretty sure that model allows tilting the blade 45 degrees to allow the frame to clear on deep cuts. If you have trouble keeping a straight cut in that confguration, move it only when you are about to hit the frame.
    Keep it up! Enjoying this blog.


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