How Do I Cut Wood Without a Saw? – The 9 Best Alternatives

Find yourself needing to cut some wood but don’t have a saw? Never fear! Below we’ve got 9 different ways to cut wood without a saw.

But before we get into it, let’s discuss a bit more about wood cutting in the first place.

How To Cut Wood Without A Saw – Introduction

Millwork is all about art. It is all about creating masterpieces from the wood. People who hone this art keep it close to their hearts.

And just like any other art form, woodworking too requires constant practice and patience. It needs a patient and keen observer to create a masterpiece.

With proper execution, patience and discipline any person can hone the art of woodworking.

Woodworking involves a lot of steps including cutting, sharpening, moulding and so on.

Every step is required to be done with extreme finesse in order to attain the work that is desired.

And so this artform is critical due to various obvious reasons as the outcome is dependent on many factors including the type of wood used, the type of devices being used and of course the skill of the woodworker.

All of these aspects together lead to a masterwork.

How to Cut wood Without Saw
How to Cut Without Saw

Why Is Wood Cutting So Important?

The initial step of woodworking involves cutting the wood to perfection and it is the primary concern of any woodworker.

Wood if not cut with accuracy it can cause undesirable outcomes.

So, every woodworker knows the drill behind cutting wood.

Many times the wood logs are cut uneven because of not incorporating a right device.

Usually, wood is cut with a saw, which is considered standard for cutting any type of wood.

With the advent of DIY and technology, different saws are available in the market today.

It becomes difficult for the users to decide on one when every other brand is providing with some unique features.

Secondly, affordability is another issue. As they say that everything comes with a cost and so not every person can afford using such high-end devices.

Beginners usually face the issue of purchasing the right saw in the right budget.

However, it is not advised for beginners to go for a high end saw in the first place when you can learn and practise by using the other handy devices.

Surprised? Yes, you can practice the art of woodcutting by incorporating some handy devices which are readily available near you.

Cutting wood with these tools will not help let you practice but also prepare you for working on the saw in the future.

Not only beginners but these tools can also be used by those woodworkers who are skilled in the art form yet cannot afford purchasing a saw or when a saw is not available for them.

There is no harm in knowing and learning alternate wood cutting techniques to get your work done.

So, if you are stuck with the chore of cutting wood without a saw and wondering what to do next then here we are to help you out.

How Can I Cut Wood Without a Saw?

Before answering the actual question you have to consider what an actual saw does.

Usually, a power saw or a handy saw is used in cutting the wood. Both of these saws cut the wood to a precision with the aid of its chiselled jaws.

Then comes how do you decide the precision?

The first step of cutting involves marking on the wood and then going towards the actual chore.

So, with or without a saw you just have to make sure to draw the marks perfectly on the wood and cut it with the help of an accurate device.

Saws are easy because they are meant for cutting. There are numerous of other tools which are also meant for cutting yet not used as often.

For example, knives, chisels and so on. Have you ever thought of incorporating these tools in your wood cutting?

No, then it is the right time to consider them a suitable option. Wondering how? Here’s what you have to do,

Other Tools You Can Use for Cutting Wood

As I said earlier you simply have to ensure the precision and carry the chore with the help of right tool.

So, here are some of the tools you can use to cut wood

  1. A sharp knife.
  2. A drilling machine.
  3. A sharp machete.
  4. A sharp axe.
  5. A chisel.
  6. A router.
  7. A lathe.
  8. A plane.

So, let’s begin with how you can use them in your cutting

Sharp Knife

using a sharp knife to cut wood

A knife is readily available in any household. It is one of the most primitive tools for cutting.

The problem with us is that we do not consider the other options we can incorporate for carrying out our job and stick to the ultimate solution when we can find many solutions to the problem.

A knife is one of the solutions to your cutting problems. All you have to do is use it in the right way.

Knife can generally be used when the pieces of your wood exceed a particular length. You can easily fix such wood pieces with the help of knife.

How To Cut Wood With A Knife

  1. First of all, you have to make your knife ready for the job. Not every household knife can cut through a wood but you can turn it into one. You just have to sharpen the knife particularly its edges. You can do it with the help of a file. Take a good quality file and begin with sharpening the knife properly. Half of your work will be done by making the knife sharp.
  2. Now comes the cutting part. As you are using a different tool for cutting so you have to use a different technique which suits the tool. You cannot just keep the wood log and start cutting it like you do with your saw.
  3. For knife, you have to ensure a slanting technique. For this, hold the wood firmly at a slanted angle and start cutting slowly. Make sure to maintain the proper angle. If you are unable to do it on your own then ask someone else to hold while you carry on with the cutting part.
  4. The wood is thus cut. Next step is to trim its edges. Trimming gives a finishing to the wood so make sure to trim its edges to perfection.
  5. Another way you can ensure cutting with a knife is by cutting small bits of wood from the point of cutting the knife. Then you can simply snap the wood using your hand and trim the cut with the help of knife.
  6. Choose the method which suits you the best.

Drilling Machine

using a drilling machine to cut wood

Drilling machine cannot just be used for making through holes but it can also help you a big time in your cutting operations.

Carpenters generally prefer specific kind of woods for furniture with relatively thin breadth.

The other dimensions of the wood are much longer as compared to the breadth. In that case a carpenter can easily cut the wood without a saw by a drilling machine.

How To Cut Wood With A Drilling Machine

  1. A drilling machine is unlike a knife and it works by creating perforations rather than giving you a perfect cut.
  2. So, first of all draw an imaginary line on the wood you have to cut through.
  3. Secondly, make perforations along the line. The apertures on the wood should be in a line.
  4. Keep repeating the process until the wood gets weakened and breaks into two.
  5. Then trim the edges of the wood with the help of a sharpened knife.

Sharp Machete

sharp machete to cut wood

A sharp machete can be used when you are in need of acquiring raw thin wood from the forests.

You don’t need to rely on the saw for making thin cuts when a well-sharpened machete will do the work for you.

How To Cut Wood With A Machete

  1. First of all, identify the points from where you have to draw a cut. Mark the point correctly on the wood.
  2. Sharpen your machete with the help a file.
  3. Make small cuts along the marked line with the help of machete at a slanted angle.
  4. Repeat this on both of the sides of wood.
  5. Keep repeating it until the wood breaks into two.
  6. Trim the edges with machete.

You can carry on the process to get as many cuts as you desire without a saw.

Sharp Axe

using a sharp axe to cut wood

In the above alternatives we typically discussed about only the thin woods but what if you come across a thin log of wood which you need to cut?

You cannot use a drilling machine, knife or a machete but you can definitely rely on an axe.

A perfectly sharpened axe will give you the same results as a saw.

Cutting with an axe might be tedious due to obvious reasons but you can carry out the cutting without relying on a saw.

How To Cut Wood With An Axe

  1. First of all create an imaginary line along the wood. Mark the points correctly.
  2. Start cutting small bits of the wood few inches from the line.
  3. Keep on doing this continuously.
  4. When finished with one side. Flip the wood and start doing the same at the other side.
  5. Keep on cutting until the wood log breaks into two.
  6. After breaking use a sharp axe to trim the edges.

A Chiselhow to use a chisel to cut wood

If you do not have a saw then you can also make sure cutting with the help of a chisel.

How To Cut Wood With A Chisel

  1. First of all sharpen the edges of the chisel with the help of a file.
  2. Place the wood on a firm surface and hold the chisel with both of your hands.
  3. With bevel side up and flat side against the wood surface carve the wood at an angle of 16-20 degrees.
  4. Then hold a hammer with the dominant hand and chisel with other hand. Put it onto the wood.
  5. Hit the chisel with hammer and then lever it up to remove chipped wood.


how to use a router to cut wood

Have you ever wondered that an electric router can help you with cutting? This is a much versatile tool than you think and it can perform a number of tasks.

How To Cut Wood With A Router

  1. First of all install the router bit and adjust the gauge of the router according to the desired depth.
  2. Pull the trigger up for engaging it into the wood. Push the trigger downwards.
  3. Move the router in the direction of the cut.
  4. When you are done with cutting then release the pressure on the handle.
  5. Use other types of bits for cutting the edges and remember to set the gauge before the operation.


how to use a lathe to cut wood

If you want to create a functional furniture component then lathe is on the go option for you. You can do it quickly without needing a saw.

How To Cut Wood With A Lathe

  1. First of all, mark the center of the wood piece and place it between the lathe centers.
  2. Turn the lathe at the lowest possible speed. Carefully watch the size of chip cutting out from the wood.
  3. Move the edges so that it is parallel to the rotation of the wood.
  4. Push the lathe into the stock in order to remove an equal amount of wood. With this you can cut the wood in its angular corners and cylindrical shape.
  5. When finished with cutting increase the lathe speed to even out the surface.


using a plane to cut wood
cutting wood with a plane

A decent plane can help you with cutting much easier than a saw itself.

How To Cut Wood With A Plane

  1. For even cutting make sure that your plane has a sharp blade for proper alignment.
  2. Adjust the depth of the plane with the help of depth adjustment wheel. Set it to your desired depth.
  3. Now plane the wood through the entire length and follow the direction of the grain.
  4. Plane the wood from the cut side and repeat the process with the other side.

How To Cut Wood Without a Saw – Conclusion

As you can see, there are many different ways to cut wood without a saw!

You do not need to fret anymore for purchasing power saws when you can carry out the tasks with the help of alternative options.

All you have to do is learn the technique and get started.

We hope this article has helped you learn more about alternative wood cutting techniques.

Here are some more articles you may also enjoy reading:

Different Types of Chisels and Their Uses
Best Nail Guns for Crown Molding
Carpentry Tools and Their Uses