Using a Portable Pneumatic Hacksaw

DIY tinkerers and builders are familiar with portable hacksaws of the unpowered variety, which consist of a handle and a frame. which holds a fine-tooth blade under tension, similar to a coping saw but far sturdier. This is the version of hacksaw commonly sold at hardware and home improvement stores. Hacksaws are very useful when hand-cutting pipes or other metal objects, because they offer speed and control, and the blades are easy to replace or switch out depending on the material that needs to be cut.

Power hacksaws


While they are seldom used by average consumer at home, power hacksaws are also available for heavy-duty cutting. Most of them are driven by electricity, either using a built-in motor or by being connected to a stationary engine.

Most power hacksaws are stationary, because of their size and weight. These are the devices that metal and wood-working shops typically field – large metal boxes with cutting tables and a saw frame and blade that can be lowered vertically for cutting.

Portable pneumatic hacksaws


Portable power hacksaws are less common, because of the difficulty of packing so much power and performance into a small and light-weight package. Instead of electricity, which would require including a motor and making the tool heavy, the Widder portable power hacksaw uses compressed air fed through a hose.

The Model 10267 Portable Pneumatic Hacksaw from Widder can cut metal pipes from 1″ to 30″ in diameter; its light weight and small profile combined with exceptional cutting power make it invaluable for on-site industrial maintenance. It can be mounted directly on a pipe and used to cut out flawed or corroded sections for replacement.

Portable it may be, but this air saw cannot be used free-hand. For worker safety and a cleaner cut, it must be secured to the work with pipe-cutting chain clamps. Place the clamp on top of the pipe; loop the chains around the pipe, feed them back into the clamp and tighten the anchor, making sure the chains are secured tightly around the work and won’t shift during cutting. Next, mount the hacksaw on the clamp and secure it with the special spring-loaded pin. The saw will be mounted on an axle and be free to pivot perpendicular to the work, for a clean and straight cut. For this, we highly recommend the Model 20257 Large Pipe Clamp .

In addition, you can also use a blade guide – for power hacksaws, a guide is a roughly semi-circular metal piece that reaches around the work and stabilizes the saw blade at the far end, preventing vibration and whipping. You can attach the guide either before or after the saw is mounted on the clamp, though the latter is easier.

After securing the saw and attaching the guide, you can attach the saw blade to the saw. These blades can be a couple of feet long and rather thin, which is why the guide is very useful for keeping them from wobbling and snapping.

Next, attach the air power hose to the saw.

Now, you can start it using the safety switch; the saw allows you to adjust stroke speed from 0 to 300 SPM with a smooth speed control dial.

While sawing, you need to pay attention to the wear on the saw blade. When a blade gets dull, it can heat up and jam; this can lead to breakage or snapping, and can potentially cause injury to the operator.

When the cut is almost made, it’s a good safety practice to lower the air pressure and guide the saw through the last few inches of pipe by hand.

Stay smart and follow safety guidelines and equipment instructions for great cutting and a long-lasting blade every time!