Small pieces may be sawn while held in the vise, but, as a rule, large work is placed across a couple of horses. It is generally the most convenient way. Grasp the saw in the right hand, and take the position shown in Fig. 21 (see link at bottom of article), with the left knee upon the work to hold it in place, and the left hand at the edge of the board.
The thumb should be pressed against the saw-blade to guide it until the cut has been well started, as shown in Fig. 22. Without the aid of the thumb the saw is liable to slip off the mark and make an ugly cut in the wood. First use a few short strokes until the saw has started to cut. Then use a long, steady stroke, putting all of the pressure upon the down stroke.
Be careful to keep the saw to the line and in a perpendicular position, so that the cut will be square on all sides. If it starts to run away from the line, a slight twist of the blade will return it.
When a board has been sawn nearly in two, remove the weight of your knee from it, and hold the board with the left hand to prevent it from splitting off. Fig. 23 (see link at end) shows the correct position for using The Back-saw, which is intended for more accurate work than the larger saw, such as can be be sawn on the bench-hook or in the mitre-box. It makes a finer cut, its teeth being smaller and more closely set.
The blades of the Compass- and Gig-saws are small and narrow, the former being used for circular cutting, as the name would imply, while the latter is employed in cutting very thin wood and in making delicate curves. The blades of these saws, especially the latter, are easily broken, and must be handled with care. The teeth are arranged so as to cut with and against the grain.
The slot made by removing the fiber of the wood in sawing is known as a Kerf. The term is used a good deal in carpenter work, so it is well to know its meaning.
Source by James W. Vincent