Razor Saws


Razor Saws

By Midge913

The razor saw is an incredibly useful tool for the hobbyist who is looking to do a lot of conversion work. A very small backsaw having very finely-pitched crosscut teeth, often with no set. The Razor saw is used by hobbyists, notably model aircraft, model boat, and model rail-road enthusiasts. Razor saws typically use disposable blades (or are occasionally designed to be completely disposable), since their teeth are so small as to be impractical to re-sharpen. Unlike most other types of backsaws, razor saws are also frequently used to cut plastics and soft metals.

Available in a range of tooth numbers, with more teeth indicating a finer saw blade. The finest are usually around fifty teeth per inch. Razor saws with their fine blades can cut wood, plastic or metal with a very small kerf (slot width created by the saw), keeping a neat edge on both sides of the cut. Those with more teeth are used for fine inlay work on instruments or inlaid dollhouse furniture. Most are pull saws, cutting only on the pull stroke. The very thin saw blades are useful for cutting small pieces close to flush with the surface in preparation for sanding.The strengthened back of the razor saw means the saw will cut straight lines useful for mitre cuts in wider pieces of wood or metal (up to four inches in most cases). These saws easily cut metal, plastic and wood, making them a very useful tool for cutting a wide variety of modelling materials, and they are great for every type of model, from plastic airplane kits, through dolls house furniture and railroad cars and tracks. Fine toothed blades cut very cleanly through metals and plastic. Wood can be cut with larger tooth count blades if you prefer.

On some materials (resin pewter, some rubbers) the blade may bind. If possible you can use a bit of wax on the edge of the blade to keep it from binding in these materials.

The saws are available with different tooth per inch counts (tpi) and with different height and width blades. The strengthened back is considerably wider than the saw blade. Miter boxes are generally chosen that will allow your blade to clear the box slot. If you will be using the saw mainly for cutting angled cuts in a miter box, buy your saw as a mitre set.

The saws are available with changeable blades, but these tend to move in the handle more than fixed handle saws. For precision work, fixed handle saws are preferable.

There are many pros and cons to working with a razor saw so lets examine some of them:

Pros

  • Very thin cutting blades are strengthed with a wrapped top
  • Available in a range of depths and tooth numbers
  • Most are pull saws (work on pull stroke)
  • Inexpensive and easy to maintain

Cons

  • Used mainly for straight cuts from top down, will not follow curves.
  • Must check fit with your preferred miter box to get correct blade depth
  • Store carefully so blades don’t warp

One can pick up a razor store from a variety of stores and online retailers, including Games Workshop, their product is pictured to the left, as well other producers such as X-Acto.  I picked my saw up at my local model train shop for about $5 US and it does what I need it to do.

As a hobby tool I have found that the Razor Saw is an essential piece in my tool box.  There is nothing like it to make straight precise cuts during a fiddly conversion.