Is it a good idea to use a hack saw on a lathe?

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Forum topic by loiblb posted 03-26-2016 03:34 PM 1499 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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141 posts in 930 days

03-26-2016 03:34 PM

Is it dangerous to use a hack saw for cut off operations?

Yesterday I had my first accident on my lathe using a cheap cut off or parting tool of low quality for the last little
amount to complete the parting operation.

So I saw a hack saw being used for the last little bit to part the work while the lathe was running on YouTube.

I think the parting tool flexed and caught from the look of the wood. My pointer finger has a mashed up u shaped gouge out of it. Time for me to think about safety.

How long does a parting tool need to be? No more HF type quality tools.

14 replies so far

View lew's profile


11897 posts in 3630 days

#1 posted 03-26-2016 03:53 PM

I’d use the saw with the lathe turned off. I like my dozuki pull saw for the final cut off.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Ger21's profile


1074 posts in 3005 days

#2 posted 03-26-2016 04:00 PM

The problem with using a saw on a lathe is that it’s spinning toward you, so if it gets caught, it throws it in your face.

-- Gerry,

View Jimbo4's profile


1578 posts in 2637 days

#3 posted 03-26-2016 05:04 PM

Some of those numnuts on youtube are looking for a place to happen. Like Lew sezs, turn the lathe off and use a pull saw.

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected !

View MrUnix's profile


6197 posts in 2073 days

#4 posted 03-26-2016 05:18 PM

I’ve done it before… but only once, and only because I didn’t have a lot of material left and needed a very, very thin cut to part it off. I also didn’t take it all the way through… just enough to get it almost there, and then finished the cut on the bandsaw. Didn’t strike me as being particularly dangerous, but the blade does get really hot in the process.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View MalcolmLaurel's profile


279 posts in 1497 days

#5 posted 03-26-2016 05:27 PM

I’ve done it often, but I usually do it with one of those little plastic hacksaw blade holders and have the blade backwards so it’s pulling the blade away from me. But I don’t have a lathe, though I sometimes turn small things in my drill press or mill. On a real lathe I guess you’d want to be pulling it against the bottom of the workpiece.

-- Malcolm Laurel -

View waho6o9's profile


8070 posts in 2451 days

#6 posted 03-26-2016 05:33 PM

I use a hacksaw about 2/3 of the way then turn off the lathe

and use my pull saw.

View Wildwood's profile


2204 posts in 2009 days

#7 posted 03-26-2016 08:30 PM

I would never recommend using any kind hand saw with lathe running. Yes, people do it all the time. Have seen knives & saw blades made into parting tools but would not do that. You don’t need an expensive parting tool to get the job done!

You not say whether using the tool while turning between centers or parting off without tailstock support. In any event sounds like a dull parting tool or just got bound up.

When turning between centers often turn down to about ¼” to 3/8” than turn the lathe off and use a handsaw to cut rest of the way. Have two small saws one Japanese style & a Stanley 10”. Also have a bow saw break out once in awhile. With wood installed in a chuck, simply part off an item and catch with hand or waste that drops to the deck.

Have four parting tools, bedan, diamond, flat, & narrow. Diamond parting tool about the best but depends on what I grab or wanting to do.

-- Bill

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4823 posts in 3835 days

#8 posted 03-26-2016 09:06 PM

Speed can be your enemy when parting.
Just a thought.


View Rick_M's profile


10832 posts in 2254 days

#9 posted 03-27-2016 01:00 AM

Lathes move too fast, the saw teeth clog and wont cut well. Just learn to use your parting tool. Take some classes or find a mentor.


View oldnovice's profile


6479 posts in 3242 days

#10 posted 03-27-2016 05:20 AM

Who do you think you are, Hacksaw Reynolds

If you remember him, you might be called Hacksaw loiblb
It’s going to be hard to cut a lathe with a hacksaw!!!!

It’s a

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View bbasiaga's profile


1060 posts in 1869 days

#11 posted 03-27-2016 12:58 PM

Works pretty well on a metal lathe, but you can get that turning pretty slow.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View hairy's profile


2596 posts in 3407 days

#12 posted 03-27-2016 01:05 PM

Go as far as you can with a parting tool, shut off the lathe, saw by hand and turn the lathe by hand. I use a backsaw instead of a hacksaw. Use a saw made to cut wood, not metal. It helps to back off the tailstock a little or it will pinch.

It really depends on the shape, but sometimes I part off on a bandsaw. I have a sled for cutting rounds , don’t try it barehanded.

Get a parting tool in this style. Capn Eddie has a video on making it.

-- My reality check bounced...

View OSU55's profile


1468 posts in 1864 days

#13 posted 03-27-2016 01:53 PM

Most likely the accident was operator error, spinning too fast with a dull tool at the wrong angle with excessive pressure (any or all of these). Higher cost tools don’t fix those mistakes. My HF parting tool is still going strong – haven’t found any reason not to keep it.

And yes, I’ve used a hack saw on the lathe a few of times, both metal and wood. It works, but is not one of my normal methods. Using one with the lathe stopped to get the last little bit would be a good standard method.

View REO's profile


927 posts in 1948 days

#14 posted 03-27-2016 09:22 PM

reverse a long sawzall blade and cut from the bottom of the work. pull as it cuts to expose unclogged gullets . give the blade a tap on the ways to clear and repeat. hack saw will work to. if the lathe is big enough or put the blade in upside down and backwards and thread the frame over the end of the work. don’t use tail stock support if when you want to part off the piece

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