What Is A Carcass Saw- Definition, Uses & Best One (With Video)

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Carcass Saw

What is a carcass saw? My first thought is it’s a saw that butchers use. For cutting up meat an so forth. But never the less, I looked it up and found out it’s not a saw that butchers use. Then I wondered how many other folks think the same as I did and wanted to know what it really is? So, I looked it up and made this blog post to write about a carcass saw.

If your looking to purchase a carcass saw, the best place is Amazon, here is a link to my favorite one, Tenon/Carcass saw

What Is A Carcass Saw

A carcass saw is one of a few types of back saw. It’s basically a hand saw with an open handle and a stiff spine (often made of brass)  along the back of it.  

Types Of Back Saws

There are many different types of backsaws, even some I never heard of, so I made a list of some examples.

  • Dovetail Saws
  • Dozuki (Japanese version of a backsaw)
  • Gents Saw
  • Mitre Saw
  • Razer Saw
  • Sash Saw
  • Tenon Saw

What Is A Carcass Saw Used For

Typically, a carcase saw is used to cut the sides of dados and rabbets across the grain in a glued upside of a piece of furniture (the “carcase”, hence the name), so it tends to be longish (between nine and fourteen inches) and filed like, crosscut teeth and fine set.  The carcass saw normally comes in one of two teeth configurations, the rip carcass saw and the crosscut carcass saw.  A rip carcass saw has teeth like chisels, with flat bottoms that chip away the wood fibers.  This saw is used when you are cutting with the wood grain.  A crosscut carcass saw has triangular teeth that score and then sheer the wood fibers, and would be used when you are cutting against the grain.

Carcass Saw vs Tenon Saw

There really is no difference except the name. The Tenon saw and carcass saw are both used for fine joinery because they have fine teeth and any tearing of the wood is minimal.

The tenon saw got its name because it was used to cut tenons for jointing back in the old days when woodworking was done by hand. All of which today commercially is done by tenoning machines which use double rotating circular blades to create the tenon in one motion.

Both saws are almost perfect for cutting thin plywood at home, better still is a bench mounted circular saw with an 80 tooth carbide blade especially for ply 12.5 mm and up. They are still an important part of a carpenter’s toolbox who wishes to make furniture the old-fashioned way.


How To Use A Carcass Saw

I figure watching someone using this saw would be better than me explaining it. So I found a helpful video of one of these saws in action.


The carcass saw should fit comfortably in your hand and be of good weight.  If your dabbling in woodworking the carcass saw is a must have to make smooth precise cuts.

So if you enjoy the old ways of woodworking a carcass saw is a must for your shop!

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