The Evolution of Sawing Tools


Just like running which became a sport 2,700 years ago, saws also have a history.

When we hear the word “saws,” each of us might imagine different objects. Old schoolers might think of the good ol’ handsaw, while millennials might think about the jigsaw and other modern saws.

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Whatever it is that we first imagine, all of them are still the same—they’re all sawing tools for cutting.

But what’s the history behind these handyman tools anyway? Let’s find out.



It was around 3,100 to 2,686 B.C., in the Early Dynastic Period when saws were used. They were first used in Egypt and were serrated materials back then. They didn’t have fancy handles and features like what our saws are now. Before, saws referred to flint, obsidian, shark teeth, and seashells. The unframed or open saws were made of hardened copper.

Copper saws were popular tools around the 31st century B.C., which is why a lot of them were found in tombs. Their use, however, didn’t change. After all, they are still used to cut different materials even up to this very day. Horrifyingly, though, it was even utilized to kill humans. There was a thing called “death by sawing” before, and fortunately, we don’t have that now.

Various saws made its way to this era thanks to Egypt’s literature. Saws were famously drawn in tomb walls along with the carpenters that use them. They also had different types and sizes. Saws were used to cut both pull and push motions, and as they progressed, their teeth became raked and could only slash on the pull movement.

Not long after, iron and bronze replaced copper as the material used to build saws. Frame saws entered the picture in the Iron Age, and the saws began holding thin blades in tension.

In the 3rd century A.D., the first sawmill was built; it was the Roman Hierapolis Sawmill.

However, the history of saws doesn’t have only one version. Greeks below they were created by Talos, the nephew of Daedalus, as told by Ovid. The Chines, on the other hand, believe that Lu Ban was the inventor of the tool.



Regardless of the backstory, what’s important is that saws are still beneficial to humans up to now. Just like any other tool, they were also developed and tailored with new features to make cutting easier. Today, saws could still cut through plastic, wood, and metal. They’re profoundly used in hunting, forestry, demolition, construction, and medicine. They’re also significant in number, as there is a different type of saw for a specific job nowadays. For instance, pole saws are for trimming branches, vines, and shrubs. But then you turn to a jigsaw when you need to make a complicated curve or an odd shape out of wood. Band saws are perfect for cutting through tubes and pipes, and chainsaws are perfect for any tree-related task. Whatever the name is, though, it’s still used for cutting, and it’s still a useful tool for human beings.