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Hand Hacksaw

What's good.. ..and what's not..

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DiogenesII25/02/2022 21:41:47
561 forum posts
221 photos

After a couple of decades of being properly tensioned and assiduously released, me poor ol' Facom 601 has finally taken a 'set' and won't tension properly any more..

..I have to say that although it's been a good saw, I still prefer the 'underlever' type of high tension frame (the 'Sandvik 255-style' ), an ancient copy of which is my 'go to' but is also getting long in the tooth.

The 255 is still being made by Bahco. Facom still produce reassuringly expensive frames, there are a couple of other brands that might be worth a look but I'll keep my thoughts to myself and see what people suggest..

Pretty much everything I cut gets done by hand, I want something that will pull a blade out hard on a weekly basis and still maintain it's shape.


Edited By DiogenesII on 25/02/2022 21:42:12

Edited By DiogenesII on 25/02/2022 21:42:36

John Haine25/02/2022 21:47:45
4673 forum posts
273 photos


MikeK25/02/2022 21:54:00
226 forum posts
17 photos

Do you *only* want the underlever style? I have the Starrett K153 hacksaw, which I like, but has the adjustment on top. ...After a little search it appears Starrett no longer makes this style, that's a shame...I would have bought one or two more as it was a reasonable cost at the time.

IanT25/02/2022 22:04:51
1993 forum posts
212 photos

Barco 225 Plus



Thor 🇳🇴26/02/2022 05:09:52
1628 forum posts
46 photos

If the Starret is no longer available, get one of Bacho's.


Speedy Builder526/02/2022 06:38:39
2613 forum posts
212 photos

How strange, my Eclipse hacksaw frame given to me at the start of my apprenticeship in 1963 has a die cast zinc based alloy handle. The other day, I noticed that the blade ran about 15 degrees out of true to the frame. I bent the handle back into shape, but at the same time treated myself to a new Stanley hacksaw - delivered for 7€90 and retired the old one to the garden shed - it had done me a sterling service and deserved a rest.


Pete.26/02/2022 06:57:41
801 forum posts
241 photos

I bought one of these high tension Eclipse saws, best hand saw I've ever used, reasonably priced too, with these high tension saws you release the tension when not in use, as they pull the blade extremely tight if you want.

I tried posting a link but it's not working, you can buy it directly from Amazon £17 something delivered. 

Edited By Pete. on 26/02/2022 06:59:27

not done it yet26/02/2022 07:47:01
6809 forum posts
20 photos

The one and only criticism of my Sandvik is that the spare blades inevitably come loose sooner or later! Apart from that it’s a super saw.

Phil H126/02/2022 11:41:53
459 forum posts
60 photos

I still have my dads Eclipse hacksaw. I remember first using it when I was about 7 years old. So that is getting on for 53 years old (at least).

DiogenesII26/02/2022 16:18:20
561 forum posts
221 photos

Thanks everyone who responded - the Starrett looks nicely made but sadly seems to have left these shores forever, I will be keeping an eye out for a NOS one..

I'll probably buy a Bahco - they are still pretty dependable quality-wise..

I too inherited an Eclipse from my dear old Dad, tho' it has the same problems as my others - the bow bends sideways under tension - I had a look at the new high tension one, I might have to go and see one in the flesh, I prefer a 'squarer' front to the frame, but it's hard to tell from a picture..

Sandvik - great saws, for metal and wood - odd as it may sound, the product I miss most are the bowsaw blades - unsurpassed and sadly missed..

Andrew Tinsley26/02/2022 17:52:15
1630 forum posts

Hello Diognes,

There seem to be a few new Sandvik bow saw blades on Ebay. So maybe all is not lost.


DiogenesII26/02/2022 18:54:40
561 forum posts
221 photos

So there are! ..Will certainly be having a few of those in stock for when Putin turns the gas off..

Thanks Andrew!

Edited By DiogenesII on 26/02/2022 18:59:37

John Purdy26/02/2022 19:07:55
349 forum posts
204 photos

I have a Starrett as in the picture, and it works very well. The blade is tensioned by turning the lever at the top right. As far as I know it is still available as it is still listed by the tool suppliers I use.



Robert Atkinson 226/02/2022 21:13:16
1208 forum posts
20 photos

BAHCO 225 Plus.
The other lever tensioned ones mentioned have issues IMHO

The Eclpise high tension has the tensioning knob below the cutting edge. This can get in the way.
The Starret is nice but the tension is in units of 1 turn because of the "knob" shape. This can result in either too loose or too tight. Caviat It's years since I used one, the design may have been improved.

Robert G8RPI.

Hopper27/02/2022 00:07:49
6393 forum posts
334 photos

I usually just put the (empty) hacksaw frame in the vice by the handle, put a piece of pipe over the leg at the front end of the frame and bend the frame back to its original shape to restore tension to the blade when tightened up . It usually takes not much effort at all to restore the frame to holding good tension. Sill using the same Eclipse hacksaw I was issued as an apprentice in 1974.

DiogenesII27/02/2022 08:07:24
561 forum posts
221 photos


..not sure why Starrett no longer seem to supply the 145 in the UK..

I think the '1 turn at a time' tensioning system is the same as the Facom, there's a stop-pin to prevent over tightening - your '+1' for the Bahco is duly noted, thank you.

I've had some success with frames that have just pulled the 'front leg' inwards at the bottom, less so with the kind of subtle lengthwise twisting and bowing that high-tension mechanisms seem to cause..

As a point of discussion, I must admit that on the principle that nearly all hand tooling had been brought to a state of perfection before the 1930's, maybe 'high-tension' is a red-herring / sales pitch - I can hardly believe that Thomas, Chaddock, Bradley at all wouldn't have invented it themselves if the benefits were there.. ..I bet all of these men used an Eclipse-type tubular or flat steel frame with a wingnut at the front..

Edited By DiogenesII on 27/02/2022 08:08:46

Hopper27/02/2022 09:12:05
6393 forum posts
334 photos
Posted by DiogenesII on 27/02/2022 08:07:24:

...As a point of discussion, I must admit that on the principle that nearly all hand tooling had been brought to a state of perfection before the 1930's, maybe 'high-tension' is a red-herring / sales pitch - I can hardly believe that Thomas, Chaddock, Bradley at all wouldn't have invented it themselves if the benefits were there.. ..I bet all of these men used an Eclipse-type tubular or flat steel frame with a wingnut at the front..

Edited By DiogenesII on 27/02/2022 08:08:46

Indeed. And those old boys used to do some serious hacksawing in the days before cheap Chinese horizontal bandsaws. I have to admit that my recently acquired such power saw is a whole new world. Projects being churned out at a rapid rate now I don;t have to get the old Eclipse out and spend the morning driving myself to exhaustion. So easy!

I have noticed over the years that my old Eclipse tubular frame and wingnut hacksaw holds the blade slightly crooked, by maybe five degrees or slightly more in the vertical plane. This means when cutting fine work along a scribed line, I can sight straight down the actual blade itself and be sure it is aligned straight with the scribed line and that I am cutting to the line. The frame is offset that five degrees or so to one side and so not obscuring vision.

I wonder if this is a design feature? Or just old? But it seems to me that a hacksaw holding the blade straight in line with the frame in the vertical plane would not let you sight where the blade was cutting,becuase the frame would be in the line of sight.. Sort of cutting blind it would be.

Clive Foster27/02/2022 09:39:50
3135 forum posts
109 photos

I bought three cheap Hilka branded high tension style hacksaw fames maybe 45 years ago when such frames first became common outside of the specialist market. Having three frames means I always have 18, 24 and 32 tpi blades ready to go so not tempted to use the wrong tpi to save changing hassle. Not perfect but quite satisfactory in use although the adjuster threads on two stripped out of the alloy nuts fairly recently. Easy fix.

Wing nut adjuster below the frame isn't terribly obtrusive in use. The projecting stud and nut on the front of a conventional folded steel Eclipse et al frame gets in the way much more. My old Eclipse has an abrafile in it. Down to my last 6 abra baldes!

Being three piece construction, square steel tube to bar with two die-cast ends, it was easy to modify them to take 10" blades as well ast the design 12".

I'm unconvinced by the line-up issues. Straight cutting is more technique than observation. Need to look from the side anyway to start but once cutting the blade is always hidden by the frame if you stand straight. Sideways observation needed to actually see the blade seems to me a good way to promote off axis cuts.


DiogenesII27/02/2022 10:24:38
561 forum posts
221 photos

I'm sure that sawing straight is pretty much a mixture of learned technique and practice - there's also something intuitive about it - I have no doubt that all three of us could cut to a very respectable line with our own saws, I think if we then all swapped, the results might be something less than impressive, certainly for the first cut. The same reason that no-one sharpens my knife, but me.

Since I wrote the last post, it occurs to me that blades were probably slightly better, in the better days of yore at least - having considered why I like to put tension on modern blades, it's probably because some of them are, well, less than perfect.

I have some 'own brand' all-hards from a major supplier, they're okay, but the cut is chattery and rippled unless stretched out to the max. I wonder whether the material is as hard, stiff, or more stretchy than old stock, and whether the teeth are as accurately ground or set..

Maybe I'll try an old stock Eclipse or Starrett blade in an 'old school' frame and compare..

ega27/02/2022 11:16:31
2539 forum posts
201 photos

As a convert to the Japanese-style pull saw for wood, I wonder whether there is any merit in reversing a hacksaw blade so as to cut on the pull stroke?

In theory, tensioning would not be essential and a pad saw handle could be used in this way.

Incidentally, I remember someone repeatedly breaking blades on a job only to discover that he was putting them in the wrong way round!

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