Introduction: Cut Nails or Screws With a Woodworking Hand Saw

Imagine a situation:

You are working on your tree house. You need to cut a few nails shorter, but you realize that you forgot to take your metal saw.

You could go home to get the saw, but you don't feel like wasting time and money to go back home to get it.

You really want to cut those nails so you could move on to the next part of the house.

You do have a woodworking hand saw, but it would be stupid to use it to cut metal?!

Not at all.

In this Instructable, we look at a way to cut nails or screws with a woodworking saw and without damaging the teeth.

This Life Hack was taught to me by my dad. He saw it in 1960s when he was just a kid.

If you are Interested in the video version of this Instructable and the embedded video does not appear on your mobile device, here is an alternative link

Step 1: Take the Saw

Step 2: Find a Tool With a Sharp-ish Edge

Take a crowbar or a hammer (like a brick hammer or similar) or any other tool that could work.

It should not be too soft.

I used a file/rasp for demonstration purposes.

Step 3: Smack the Saw With a Tool of Your Choice

Smack the saw a few times from one end to another to create a tiny teeth.

Don't worry you will not damage the saw. The teeth will be so tiny, that you will hardly notice them.

Step 4: Use Other End of the Saw to Cut the Nail

Now you can cut the nail or a screw with a woodworking hand saw.

This saw will NOT replace your metal saw, but it will save you a trip back home in situations when you realize that you forgot to bring the metal saw to cut a few nails.

Comments

author
SherylinRM made it! (author)2016-11-21

I DEFINITELY like this one.

I have been woodworking since I was a child and never heard of this before :)

Thanks for this :)

author
NoynonMayta made it! (author)2016-02-02

wow

author
alaw6119 made it! (author)2015-12-29

very cool thanks for sharing

author
CraigF2 made it! (author)2015-12-09

here's one that's worked for me in a pinch before... if you're doing woodworking, there's a decent chance you have some sandpaper with you, wrap the sandpaper around the back edge of the saw (grit side out, obviously) Tape the sandpaper if you have any to hand, otherwise, just hold it in place with your offhand.

Use the sandpaper saw to cut thru the nail.

author
sWillyPs made it! (author)2015-12-06

Ok, but you still need to run back to the house because you've ruinied the use of the back of the saw as a straightedge.

author
ianheavy made it! (author)ianheavy2015-12-09

That's a good point, my saw even has the handle shaped for drawing 90 degrees and 45 degrees. So I am glad I read the comments as I might have been tempted to do this. Perhaps always keep a length of hacksaw blade with some tpae around it as a temporary handle in your toolbag. Hardly any space taken up.

author
kelvinwop made it! (author)kelvinwop2015-12-06

I'll consider that when I hit the side of my ruler with a file, oh wait, its a saw.

author
Skallywag707 made it! (author)Skallywag7072015-12-07

lol

author
jeanniel1 made it! (author)2015-12-08

Hahahahaha! Great HACK! Esp when you don't have the hack saw on hand!

author
cybercapri made it! (author)2015-12-07

Excellent....

author
ShakeTheFuture made it! (author)ShakeTheFuture2015-12-07

Cheers!

author
buteman made it! (author)2015-12-06

What about use the end of the saw blade instead of the back. It would be harder to saw with it but it wouldn't damage the straight edge.

author
ShakeTheFuture made it! (author)ShakeTheFuture2015-12-07

Yes, I guess you could do it.

author
Suraj Grewal made it! (author)2015-12-06

simply genius.

author
ShakeTheFuture made it! (author)ShakeTheFuture2015-12-07

Thank You!

author
davidj31 made it! (author)2015-12-06

the silly comments about ruining the saw are not necessary. if you don't want to do this then don't. everyone in the world knows it won't work for uses it wasn't designed for after altering it.
I like it and will use it if needed.

author
ShakeTheFuture made it! (author)ShakeTheFuture2015-12-07

Cheers!

author
voixhumain made it! (author)2015-12-06

that's a cool trick. im going to make it a bet at work. I don't think i'll have to buy lunch that day.

author
ShakeTheFuture made it! (author)ShakeTheFuture2015-12-07

Good luck :)

author
townsend1212 made it! (author)2015-12-06

Very nice.

author
ShakeTheFuture made it! (author)ShakeTheFuture2015-12-07

Cheers!

author
mlunney made it! (author)2015-12-06

That may come in handy!

author
headstack made it! (author)2015-12-06

Had to watch and see if I'd guessed correctly.

The preferred technique is to pull the nail and that one even had a clean head on it.

If they don't, bend em 90 deg and pull them with the claw of your hammer, or if the nail is rusted and a strike or two won't free it enough for this to work, clamp a Vise Grip around it and a hammer with a wrecking claw goes right under this.

The hand saws I have are not treated this way, but it did indeed work! :-)

author
DavidB64 made it! (author)2015-12-06

It's of interest if you want to scam someone in a bet situation but otherwise not really pertinent to any craft. If there's a nail in a board that you want to cut....

author
kirk thill made it! (author)2015-12-06

Interesting idea, however I like the back of my saw to be smooth and straight since I use it as a ruler and sometimes I run the top of the saw next to my bare finger to help guide the saw. Also the rough edges of the top of the saw could leave marks on the cut side of the wood and also it might cause the saw to bind easier. I guess you could grind the edge.

author
bmaverick made it! (author)2015-12-06

Thanks a bunch! You got my mind thinking. I'm heading out to the tool shed today to pierce a few holes onto the back side of my saw. Next I'm attaching a hack-saw blade onto it. I really like your idea of having two tools in one! Sort of like those multi-tools

author
Yonatan24 made it! (author)2015-12-03

It looks like you'll have to hit the saw pretty hart with that file, If I have a file, I't just use it to cut the nail...
If you used the file as an example, And you're stuck somewhere without a file, Then you could use a rock to hit the saw and that would make more sense... :)

author
ShakeTheFuture made it! (author)ShakeTheFuture2015-12-03

Yeah, the file was just an example :)

author
arpruss made it! (author)arpruss2015-12-06

It's all a great idea, but I wouldn't smack anything with a file. The steel on a file is hardened enough that I'd expect it to be brittle and you might destroy the file.

author
ShakeTheFuture made it! (author)ShakeTheFuture2015-12-06

File was just an example. I did not have anything better on hand :)

author
tagyerit made it! (author)2015-12-06

Great, There are space that a hack saw just won't get flush.

author
grapenut made it! (author)2015-12-05

loved it.

author
ShakeTheFuture made it! (author)ShakeTheFuture2015-12-06

Thanks!

author
Ultra-Indigo made it! (author)2015-12-02

good use of an otherwise under used part of a tool! Now what can you do with the flat tip so it could be a true multitool

author
J SquaredA made it! (author)J SquaredA2015-12-03

gigantic screw driver? XD

author
ShakeTheFuture made it! (author)ShakeTheFuture2015-12-03

Cheers!

author
ianstaley made it! (author)2015-12-03

That is very clever

author
ShakeTheFuture made it! (author)ShakeTheFuture2015-12-03

Thank You!

author
Michelle Irish made it! (author)2015-12-03

I wasn't expecting that! Great instructable!!!

author
ShakeTheFuture made it! (author)ShakeTheFuture2015-12-03

Thank You!

author
Kreat0r made it! (author)2015-12-03

very useful DIY, especially when dismantling pallets! Good one!

author
ShakeTheFuture made it! (author)ShakeTheFuture2015-12-03

Cheers!

author
SEKTHEBOSS made it! (author)2015-12-03

Awesome! Epic how it is so simple!

author
ShakeTheFuture made it! (author)ShakeTheFuture2015-12-03

Thanks!

author
marcello bianchi made it! (author)2015-12-03

New one for me.awesome

author
zappenfusen made it! (author)2015-12-03

Cool!

author
Machete Bushcraft Australia made it! (author)2015-12-02

Thumbs up mate! Such a simple tip!

author
ShakeTheFuture made it! (author)ShakeTheFuture2015-12-02

Cheers!

author
ClenseYourPallet made it! (author)2015-12-01

Awesome!! That is a great idea... Thanks for sharing

author
ShakeTheFuture made it! (author)ShakeTheFuture2015-12-02

Thank You!

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